Geospatial Research Institute - University of Canterbury

News and Events

Professor Wendy Lawson wins NZSEA Professional of the Year award

16 November 2016, Simon KIngham and Wayne Tyson congratulate Wendy Lawson on receiving her award

Last week, Professor Wendy Lawson received the NZ Spatial Excellence Award for Professional of the Year. The Awards seek out and give recognition to the best, the high achievers, and the contributors who set the benchmarks that others will follow - becoming the role models for the next generation of the Geospatial profession.

"Professor Wendy Lawson has been one of the most influential people in the Geospatial Education and Research areas within New Zealand. A passionate advocate of the Geospatial Industry, she has championed the development of Geospatial Research within tertiary education as well as all levels of government and private industry, both national and international. Professor Lawson’s drive has led to the establishment of a range of innovations in Geospatial research, and has maintained that commitment throughout her roles at the University of Canterbury from Head of Department of Geography to Pro Vice Chancellor of Science. Some of these innovations include the establishment of the Masters in GIS program, membership and participation in the CRCSI, the establishment of the Geospatial Research Institute. She was also closely involved and has continued to support the growth of the GeoHealth Lab. Professor Lawson is also firmly committed to bi-cultural development of Geospatial Research and Education."


Daniel Hogg wins CRCSI best PhD award

26 October 2016, Cive Sabel and Simon KIngham congratulate Daniel Hogg on receiving his award

Last week, former PhD student Daniel Hogg was awarded the Best PhD research award at the CRCSI Annual Dinner in Sydney. Daniel is also a finalist in the New Zealand Spatial Excellence Awards to be announced later in November 2016. Daniel’s PhD used spatial and spatio-temporal analysis techniques to examine when and where higher and lower than expected mood and anxiety symptom treatments occurred in the severely affected Christchurch urban area after the 2010/11 Canterbury earthquakes. High-risk groups were identified and a possible relationship between exposure to the earthquakes and their physical impacts and mood and anxiety symptom treatments was assessed. The main research aim is to test the hypothesis that more severely affected Christchurch residents were more likely to show mood and anxiety symptoms when seeking treatment than less affected ones, in essence, testing for a dose-response relationship.


GRI involved in NZ's first autonomous e-vehicle trial

4 October 2016
The University of Canterbury’s hi-tech researchers are playing a vital part in trialling New Zealand’s first fully autonomous electric vehicle. Partnering with HMI Technologies and Christchurch International Airport, the University of Canterbury’s Human Interface Technology Laboratory New Zealand (HIT Lab NZ), Geospatial Research Institute (GRI), Wireless Research Centre (WRC) and Spatial Engineering Research Centre (SERC) will explore the possibilities of how these fully autonomous vehicles could operate in New Zealand.

Check out the full article here 


Professor of Spatial Information to commence in February 2017

Commencing in February 2017, Dr. Matthew Wilson will take up his role within the Geospatial Research Institute Toi Hangarau as Professor of Spatial Information. Matt will be based within the GRI with his primary role to be “provide academic leadership, vision and direction the development and application of innovative solutions in the spatial information industry”. For the first 3 years, this position is largely funded by the CRCSI and LINZ.
Matt comes to New Zealand from the University of the West Indies where his main research interests are in climate-driven natural hazards, particularly flood inundation, and the impacts of climate change. He is particularly interested in the use of computational modelling and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to assess flood risk, the use of remote sensing data to drive and validate computational models, and the assessment of the effect of uncertainty on model predictions.
More information about Matt can be found at


Vacancy - Postdoctoral Fellow – Large-scale control of invasive predators

Geospatial Research Institute
• Full-time (37.5 hours per week)
• 3 year fixed-term position
The Geospatial Research Institute, in partnership with Te Punaha Matatini, seeks a postdoctoral research fellow to work on socio-ecological models of large-scale predator control. The New Zealand government recently announced the ambitious goal of completely eradicating exotic predators by 2050. To achieve this goal will require a massive coordinated effort across the country’s publicly and privately owned land areas. Key stakeholders in this effort include the Department of Conservation, regional councils, NGOs and private landowners. The current ‘Cape-to-City’ (C2C) predator control programme in Hawkes Bay and its potential extension across four regions in the lower North Island are the first steps towards predator-free New Zealand.


GRI Seminar Series 2016 (GRISS)

The Geospatial Research Institute run a monthly Geospatial Research and Innovation Seminar Series as well as half-day symposia and conferences. To receive updates and invitations to these events, please join our LinkedIn group, GRISS.

We are very pleased to invite you to attend the next meeting in the Geospatial Research and Innovation Seminar Series for 2016. This month, Ann De Schutter from the Department of Conservation, will be talking about her work on the Antipodes Island Million Dollar Mouse eradication project.

The Antipodes Islands Mouse Eradication is completed. Lots of planning and an experienced team on the island for 10 weeks spreading 65.5 tons of Brodifacoum will hopefully get rid of the estimated 200,000 mice once and for all. We now have to wait two breeding seasons to find out if we were successful. This presentation will cover the details of the operation with an emphasis on the GIS component as well as what life on the island was like.

Coffee, tea, a light snack and networking will be served from 12.30 and the seminar will start at 1pm. Please circulate and share this information with others who you think may be interested: all are welcome. Please register on Eventbrite by 28th September if you are planning on attending so that we can adequately cater.

If you have any questions, please contact Wayne Tyson on :


The NZ Geospatial Research Conference 2016 will be held at the University of Canterbury on the 2nd December 2016.
Following the success of last year’s inaugural NZ Geospatial Research Conference, the Geospatial Research Institute Toi Hangarau is planning to run a one day conference this December. The theme will be around Smart Cities with the aim to have a day of presentations and workshops. We are open to anyone interested in attending or presenting at this Conference. We would particularly like to see practical applications of tools used in Smart Cities as well as collaboration between research, government and private industry.

CRCSI Annual Conference 2016
Themed Innovation to Transformation, the CRCSI Annual Conference 2016 is held at the Sydney Masonic Centre from Wednesday 26 October to Thursday 27 October 2016. International speakers from Google will be a highlight of the opening session along with Telstra Business Woman of the Year, 2015 Catherine Ball, a global expert on the power of drones, applications and finding new markets with “big data”.

Other Events

The New Zealand Spatial Excellence Awards is confirmed for Wednesday 16 November 2016, to be held at Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington. Applications have now closed for awards and Judging is underway. Finalists will be announced on Friday 23 September 2016. The Awards seek out and give recognition to the best, the high achievers, and the contributors who set the benchmarks that others will follow - becoming the role models for the next generation of our profession.

See the awards website for more details: