Christchurch perfectly placed to be cycle capital

5 June 2014 Christchurch is perfectly placed to be the cycling capital of New Zealand and a UC expert believes cycling in the city will continue to increase as new cycleways take shape. (read article)

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What is Geography all about?

What is Geography all about?

Information about Geography

‘Canterbury’s Gateway Antarctic research centre was a great pull for me to study at UC...’

Jodi Gustafson Exchange Student
Research Assistant, Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs (COMNAP)
(read profile)


Research Analyst (Spatial Analysis) at the GeoHealth Laboratory (based in Wellington)

The GeoHealth Laboratory, Department of Geography, University of Canterbury invites applications for a Research Analyst (Spatial Analysis). This is a fixed term position based in the Health and Disability Intelligence (“HDI”) Unit (part of the Ministry of Health) in Wellington and is available immediately. Read more...

UAV image used for major announcement

Aerial photos taken by technicians Nick Key and Paul Bealing with the Draganfly Quadcopter for a local firm and utilised by Architects where used in major project announcement for Christchurch's new convention centre.

Internship at Abley Transportation Consultants

Click here for details (posted 8th Aug)

New Job Vacancies at ECAN

There are a number of jobs suitable to Geography students going at Environment Canterbury at present. See here for further details. (posted Aug 6th)

Southern Alps have lost a third of their ice volume

Heather PurdieA recent media report highlighted that glaciers in the Southern Alps have lost a third of their ice volume since 1977.  This figure came as no surprise to Dr Heather Purdie, a glaciologist and lecturer in the Department of Geography, who is using remote surveying techniques to better understand rapid glaciological change at some of New Zealand’s most iconic glaciers.

At Fox Glacier, rapid thinning has exposed loose unstable slopes. Heather and colleague Dr Christopher Gomez are working closely with the local guiding company, Fox Glacier Guides, and Geography Department technicians, to generate 3-D models that will be used to determine interrelationships between the retreating glacier and the surrounding valley slopes. The Department of Geography’s ‘Draganfly’ is being used to photograph slopes that are too unstable to survey on foot, and it will also be used to map increases in surface debris on the glacier due to rapid melting and enhanced rockfall.

At Tasman Glacier, this rapid ice loss takes the form of an enlarging terminal lake. Here Heather and a team of technicians have been using the Geography Departments remote controlled jet boat to survey the depth of the lake up-close to the terminal face. This research was supported by local guiding company Glacier Explorers, who are keen to learn more about water depth in the terminus region. These data will be used to better estimate ice loss at Tasman Glacier and help us to learn more about calving processes.

Jeremy Severinsen

New Masters student creats crowdsourcing competition

Jeremy Severinsen is a UC masters student in Geographic Information Science, and an employee of Land Information New Zealand (LINZ). Jeremy's masters research seeks to establish a model for assessing trust in volunteered geographic information (or crowdsourced geographic information), to allow its integration into existing authoritative datasets, and for its reliable future reuse.

Jeremy has developed a crowdsourcing competition - "Building Our Footprints", which is a collaborative project between LINZ, Environment Canterbury, and UC that deploys Jeremy's trust model to enable high school students to voluntarily generate a building footprint dataset for the Canterbury region. The Competition runs from 28 July - 28 August 2014. For more information or to register and participate, visit.

Forty years for Anna in GeographyAnna

Anna Petrie, our Department Administrator, has been in the Geography Department for forty years: an achievement marked by the department at a morning tea in the Learning Space on July 4. A large number of staff and students joined Anna for the occasion, with scones, jam and cream made by Elizabeth and Garth Cant, and a chocolate cake arranged by Andy.

For his speech, the current Head of Department, Andy Sturman, had of course unearthed Anna’s letter of appointment. He declined to embarrass her with a reminder of her starting salary, but she certainly remembered: $3050. In reply Anna talked about how as a new secretary, she along with all the Geography staff and students moved [decanted] from the town site (now the Arts Centre) to Ilam, matched just this week by another decant into the Geography/Psychology lab block for earthquake repairs to the Geography Staff Block.

In those forty years, Anna – seated at the front of the photograph with Andy – has worked with seven Heads, starting with Barry Johnston (1966-90), who appointed her. Barry is on the left, next to Jane Soons (1990-93), then Bob Kirk (1993-98), Eric Pawson (1998-2005), Wendy Lawson (2005-11) and Simon Kingham (2011). 

Frontiers Abroad

Frontiers Abroad is an educational exchange program that gives students from US colleges and universities a remarkable learning adventure in New Zealand and the Pacific.
Students cross oceans and mountains, learning about climate, biology, geology  and environmental science in New Zealand and the Cook Islands.

A multidisciplinary group of UC academics from Geography, Geology, Biological Sciences teach into Frontiers Abroad, giving this program a strong intellectual basis.
Field studies on Banks Peninsula, the Kaikoura coast, the Cook Islands, the Southern Alps and NZ's wild west coast give students a broad perspective - and a close-up, hands-on learning experience. Check out our video on the program in the Geography videos section below.

Why Geography is the best subject to study at University... ever!

Recent articles that are worth a read if you are contemplating doing Geography.

Geography Videos