Geography News and Events
Emerging Researcher Award
|The winner of the College of Science Emerging Researcher Award 2016 is Dr Malcolm Campbell of the Department of Geography. Malcolm is co-Director of the GeoHealth Lab and is also a PI in the Geospatial Research Institute Toi Hangarau. Malcolm is a geographer, also with a background in economics. The overall focus of his research is ‘how does place alter health?|
Making Cheese Toasties in Antarctica
|Paul Bealing shows how to maintain a balanced diet while doing science in Antarctica. There is also a more science focused extract featuring Marwan with background shots of Peyman and Kurt. Filmed as part of the upcoming National Geographic series Continent 7: Antarctica which launches on campus Wednesday 9th Nov in C2 at 6pm.|
UC Sustainability Awards
|Professors Eric Pawson and Simon Kingham won the Gold staff award for their trailblazing community service paper GEOG309, and George Moon won the Gold student award for his efforts in creating the Eco Club Network.
A full list of the winners, and more information about their projects, can be found here.
Congrats all round
Congratulations to Andrew Douglas-Clifford (current UC Geog student) and Dr Daniel Hogg (recently completed Geography PhD student) for their success in being named as finalists in the NZ Spatial Awards.
Also congratulations to former UC Geographer and now PVC Science Prof Wendy Lawson, and ex-UC Geography graduate Kurt Janssen for also making the finalist list. More details here.
Congratulations to staff Eric Pawson and Simon Kingham and student George Moon for winning Gold Awards at the University 2016 Sustainability Awards. More details here
Two New UAVs for Geography
|Dr Marwan Katurji shows off two new fixed wing UAVs in front of the Geography Department. The yellow "My Twin Dream" was built by Paul Bealing to go to Antarctica this coming season. Marwan will pilot the aircraft in the Dry Valleys and will be recording turbulence measurements with a custom made turbulence probe. The red "Albatross" has just arrived and will be configured to carry a number of larger sensors for long range atmospheric work (and anything else that comes along as this thing is big enough to carry just about anything).|
Read more. Also see the new video of boat in action. amazing gadgets for data collection.
Why Geography is the best subject to study at University... ever!
Recent articles that are worth a read if you are contemplating doing Geography.
- What makes psychology and geography grads the most employable?
- Why Geography Is The Best Subject To Study At University.. Ever
UAV team test new parachute system
Marwan and Paul took the new UAV out to Ilam fields for some parachute testing today. All went well and the plane landed perfectly. Managed to impress around 30 preschoolers into hopefully doing Geography one day as well. This UAV will be used in Antarctica for atmospheric turbulence measurements in 2017. Take a look at the video on our You Tube channel.
National Geographic Antarctic Series
A number of our geoTAG staff (Peyman, Marwan, Paul and Kurt) are to appear in the upcoming National Geographic series Continent 7: Antarctica. The trailer is out and as Kurt puts it - it looks extreme!
Dr Henry Connor
We note with sadness that Henry Connor died on Tuesday 26 July at Rannerdale Veterans Home in Christchurch. Henry made a huge contribution to botany in New Zealand. He was Director of the Botany Division of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (forerunner of Landcare Research) until his retirement in 1982. After that he took up an honorary position at UC in Geography and continued working actively.
Among the notable achievements of this later period are his comprehensive revision of species in the genus Chionochloa (snow tussocks) in the New Zealand Journal of Botany in 1991, and co- authorship with Elizabeth Edagar in 2000 of Volume 5 of the Flora of New Zealand, covering all native and exotic grasses. He was also the New Zealand expert on poisonous plants, publishing "Poisonous Plants in New Zealand" in 1951, revised in 1977, and in 2009 co-authoring "Plants that Poison: a New Zealand Guide" with John Fountain from the Otago National Poisons Centre.
In 2002 he was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in recognition of his services to botany.
Mental Health boost from Exposure to "Blue Space"
Geography Student launches new London Tube map
5/5/2016 Current Masters in GIS student Andrew Douglas-Clifford has recently released his London tube-style map of NZ's state highway network. See the NZ Herald article here.
New Geospatial Research Institute
27/4/16 New Geospatial Research Institute (GRI), (Directed by Geography's Prof. Simon Kingham) is expected to add significant value to New Zealand’s existing private and public investment in spatial data acquisition, application and research...more
Beneath NZ - starring Dr Heather Purdie
Geographies own snow and ice legend Dr Heather Purdie starred in the new 3 part documentary that begans 7th March called Beneath NZ . Heather (as well as technicians Nick and Paul) were filmed in her research areas at Fox and round Tasman Glacier where she tells part of a story of how NZ’s alpine environment reflects the powerful influence of tectonic and erosive forces
Anna Petrie Retires after 41 years!
23/12/15 Anna Petrie, who has been Geographies administrator for 41 years has retired in style with two parties in one day! Anna was thanked by many for the huge role she has played in the department in that time and for her ability to remain unflustered in times of stress.
Anna commented on the many moves she has made over her time with Geography, from the central city campus, and through the numerous decants Geography has undergone as part of the Earthquake remedial works. She loved this time of change and the challanges it brought to the job. SHe has enjoyed her time but was looking forward to retirement.
Her retirement was celebrated at both a morning tea and a beautiful lunch venue with people coming from around NZ to celebrate with her.The huge group of people that turned up to both these events is testimount to how highly Anna was regarded by her colleagues. She is pictured here with all but one of the HODs she has worked with over her time.
30kph for Christchurch CBD?
Opinion piece (by Simon Kingham) for the change announced by the council to reduce the speed limit to 30kph in Christchurch's CBD. There is a great Geography project waiting to be studied here to see how this idea plays out in the long term.
3/12/2015 No one activity or event can be singled out as his achievement….. Rather, it is the accumulated weight of a lifetime as an outstanding educator in the field of geography, a researcher into rural studies, and a promoter of indigenous studies and respect for the Treaty of Waitangi in university teaching and research programmes. With the Geography Department of the University of Canterbury, he has led research interests in Treaty claims, the work of the Waitangi Tribunal, the relationships between Treaty settlements and the Resource Management Act, and the interface between matauranga/Maori traditional ecological knowledge and modern science. He has acted as a consultant for the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization in the matter of the relationships between globalization and climate change in Asia, Latin America, and Africa. He has pursued extensive research into the impacts of lifestyle blocks and dairy conversions on the rural communities of Canterbury. He has published extensively in the fields of geography and the rights of indigenous peoples, his writing informed not only by his scientific knowledge but also by his faith as a Lay Minister of the Methodist Congregation. His priceless gift to his community, local, national and global, is that of a clearer understanding of the world.
27/11/2015 Maintaining the Department’s strong tradition of success over recent years, Daisuke Seto has won the prize for the best student presentation at the Meteorological Society of New Zealand’s annual conference (out of a field of about ten students). His presentation title was:Atmospheric Mixing Processes during Wildfires: Implication for Extreme Fire Behaviour.
In addition, Hamish Kingsbury won Undergraduate Student of the Year at the NZ Spatial Awards. Many of the other winners were UC Geog alumni.
Geography aids fire research
23/10/15 This week Marwan Katjuri, Daisuke Seto and Paul Bealing accompanied Scion researchers to the Lake Pukaki area to conduct fire related atmospheric research. Multiple datasets were captured during controlled burn offs using a variety of means including sodar, infra red imagery, video and UAV mounted sensors. (radio nz podcast)
Geography helps launch new drone rules
23/7/15 Geography Technicians Nicholas Key and Paul Bealing helped launch new CAA drone regulations by teaching the Minister for Transport, Simon Bridges, to fly our Quadcopter. This was covered by all major news agencies and can be seen here Stuff, Yahoo news, and TV3 on demand
NZGS Awards 2015
29/09/15 Both UC Geography staff and students were awarded this week at the prestigious NZ Geographical Society awards ceremony. Dr Heather Purdie won President’s Award for Teaching in Geography, Dr Malcolm Campbell took out President’s Award for Emerging Researcher in Geography, the GeoHealth Lab won President’s Award for Collaborative Research involving Geographers, Anna Petrie was awarded President’s Award for Exceptional Services , and Daniel Nutsford received the President’s Award for Best Master’s Thesis. For a complete list of awards.
Health and Safety Awards
5/09/15 The following staff were awarded H & S choccy awards at recent Departmental H & S meeting
- Paul Bealing for realising childhood dream of setting off fire alarm (when there was uncertainty – he did the right thing)
- Paul Beere – proactive on use of the Buddy checklist for new staff
- Deirdre & Kelly – support for postgraduate students
- Heather – Accepting nomination as new H&S rep
- Nick – stepping in to help out with first aid (Kathy & Justin tied up)
- John, ever reliable & always willing to engage
GIS students take out awards
21/5/15 Two UC Geographers (Hamish Kingsbury (right) and Jeremy Severinsen (left)) recently took out 1st and 2nd in the ESRI young scholar awards for 2015. Full details available here
Congratulations to Hannah Berger ( Geography MSc student) on winning the 215 NZCS masters scholarship.Hannah’s topic is: Characterising landscape and sea level dynamics to predict shoreline responses over the next 100+ years in a high-energy coastal setting, Kaikoura, New Zealand...more
In addition to the scholarship, she will be able to present at the Australasian Coast and Ports Conference in Auckland in September this year, the largest coastal science and engineering conference in this region.
Hannah joins a list of past Geography graduates who have won NZCS Masters, PhD and other awards over recent years, including Claire Kain in 2012, Arash Moghaddam in 2009. The NZCS website is here for a link for more info for other students that might like to apply in future: http://www.coastalsociety.org.nz/.
Update on Professor Ross Barnett
Adjunct Prof Ross Barnett (Room 506) is now a Senior International Consultant for the Center for Tobacco Control Research Zhejiang University School of Medicine in Shanghai. The Centre established in 2007, is the only tobacco control research organization in China.
Last year the first project was completed on "The The impact of regional economic reliance on the tobacco industry on current smoking in China" which has recently been published in the journal, Health and Place Vol. 33, 2105, 159-171.
Ross is currently working on the next project, which examines rising rates of smoking among Chinese women.
Introducing Dr Ioannis Delikostidis
Dr. Ioannis Delikostidis has recently joined UC as Lecturer in GIS at the Department of Geography.
Originally from Greece, he studied Electronic and Computer Systems Engineering and worked for the Greek government for several years.
He then moved to the Netherlands where he obtained his M.Sc. and Ph.D. Degrees in Geo-Information Science from the University of Twente. Working as a Post-doctoral Research Associate at ifgi, University of Muenster, in Germany afterwards, he got involved in various research and teaching activities there.
Ioannis’ research interests focus on finding the best solutions to problems of acquisition, processing, visualization and use of location-aware information. He has worked on research projects related to context-aware navigation systems, interaction technologies, immersive virtual environments, usability testing and situated displays. Expanding his field of expertise, he is currently interested on crowdsourced spatial data applications and sensor network platforms for air pollution data collection, analysis and environmental awareness.
University of Canterbury researchers use hi-tech jetboat to research Tasman Glacier
Dr Heather Purdie and colleagues have been doing extensive work in Lake Tasman. See news article for more...
UC Geography rated as one of the top 100 Geography departments in the world!
In the latest QS World University Rankings released recently, Canterbury is listed as the 242nd ranked university in the world. There are about 17,000 universities worldwide. The university was ranked 333rd in the world in 2006 and has begun growing again as it rapidly rebuilds its facilities. The University of Canterbury was New Zealand’s first university to achieve a QS five-star rating and this has been retained. The University features among the world’s elite (top 200) universities in 16 subjects in the latest QS world university rankings by subject. Out of 3000 universities, UC is rated in the top 100 in History, Geography, Law and Education, and Civil and Structural Engineering.
23/3/15 Over one hundred GEOG110 (Dynamic Places) students have been out on the streets of the eastern suburb of Burwood, Christchurch helping the local community understand more about their local area. The community wants to understand more about what it is like to live in Burwood at present. In particular, they are interested in the ‘assets’ within the neighbourhood, including the skills, knowledge and resources of local people and groups. A survey, designed in partnership with staff and students from the University of Canterbury’s Department of Geography, is exploring these issues.
It has being delivered and administered by students in the first year GEOG110 ‘Dynamic Places: Exploring Human Environments’ course, as part of the University’s commitment to working with local communities. The information from the survey will be used to inform decisions about Burwood, while an online map will be created that identifies the key assets of Burwood as identified by local residents. In addition students will analyse and interpret the data as part of a major assignment in the course.
Prof Simon Kingham of the Department of Geography at the University of Canterbury said “this is a great opportunity for the university to engage with the local community in a meaningful way and for students to learn in a real world setting.”
New technology teaching achieves top rating - GEOG313
9/3/15 Remote sensing from aircrafts and satellites for geospatial data analysis is taking off at UC Geography. Cutting edge infrastructure like unmanned aircrafts (UAVs), high precision GPS equipment, software and access to state of the art satellite data is the basis for a unique teaching program.
"Managing new technologies in a cutting edge program cannot be achieved without a highly specialised team of top technicians", senior lecturer and geog313 course coordinator Dr Wolfgang Rack from the Gateway Antarctica research centre says. "Geography invested in the future enabling students to achieve learning outcomes required in this boosting market".
One of the unique highlights of GEOG313 is the field course at the University's field station at Cass near Arthur's Pass. "The area around the Cass field station is ideal to operate UAVs without any air space restrictions", comment Nick Key and Paul Bealing, the certified UAV pilots in the Geography department. "Together with reference measurements on the ground by GPS we can train students to obtain geospatial data sets at 'google earth' precision".
The feedback of Geog313 students over the years was important for improving the course. "As a consequence it is substantially supported by the best technicians and a teaching assistant, and the high ranking and steadily increasing student numbers are encouraging, we are doing the right things", Dr Rack comments. The Geog313 course rating was 4.8 out of 5 in 2014, significantly higher than the mean of the faculty.
A vacancy exists for a postdoctoral research associate in InSAR (Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar) at the Western Australian School of Mines, Curtin University, Perth, Australia. The successful applicant will work on vertical land motion in the Perth Basin, a project jointly funded by the Australian Research Council, Landgate (the State’s geodetic agency), Western Australian Department of Water and Curtin University.
To be considered for this role, the applicant must have a PhD or equivalent in InSAR for geodetic and/or geophysical applications, theoretical and applied knowledge of InSAR data processing and analysis, computer programming experience in Matlab and at least one of Python, C orFORTRAN, and experience using and modifying InSAR research-standard software (e.g., Doris, StaMPS, roi_pac). Familiarity with LINUX/UNIX operating systems is essential. Your responsibilities will include the preparation of data, performance of computations, analysis of results and publication of papers in peer-reviewed journals.
The starting salary will be in the range AUD62,832 to AUD85,265 depending on experience, and includes a generous superannuation (pension) of an additional 17%. Full details are available here. Applicants should follow the submission instructions given on the above website. For additional details or questions about this position, please contact Professor Will Featherstone email@example.com
Canterbury students win spatial excellence award
1/12/14 University of Canterbury students Nick Brunsdon and Jayden MacRae are the winners of the inaugural New Zealand student spatial excellence awards...more
Geography UAV features on Discovery channel
The Discovery channel recently filmed our Geography UAV team (Nicolas Key and Paul Bealing) working alongside Aurocon engineers in the red zone. The team was filming residential houses marked for demolition. The footage they took from the departments Dragonfly quadcopter was used to help make decisions on how to demolish houses purched high on cliff tops on very unstable ground. The segment from Discovery Channels Daily Planet is available here.
Even though the weather tried to beat us, the Geog313 fieldtrip still managed to get all the data they needed during their annual trip to Cass Fieldstation. A number of UAV flights were conducted for collection of aerial imagery and the GNSS survey gear was also put to use to record ground truthing data for both UAV and satellite imagery. Food as always was amazing and a good time was had by all. The image shows the group with the 3 UAVs flown during the 2 day trip. Click the image for a larger view.
UC Researcher Seeking to Mitigate Flooding Damage to Tokyo
GEOG309 research project in the newsGEOG309 students find St Albans residents have a low level of attachement to their suburb... more
Canterbury students win spatial excellence award
University of Canterbury students Nick Brunsdon and Jayden MacRae are the winners of the inaugural New Zealand student spatial excellence awards...more
UC Civil Defence rescuers honoured
26 August 2014 Geographys own Graham Furniss received a Civil Defence Emergency Management Award for long service as a UC rescuer.Those who received the awards have individually given more than 10 years’ service and, as part of this, were deployed to the red zone following the 22 February 2011 earthquake.
Southern Alps have lost a third of their ice volume
A 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.
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 Geography
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 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.
Melbourne Geography Conference July 2014
The 2014 joint conference of the Institute of Australian Geographers and the New Zealand Geographical Society took place at the University of Melbourne between July 29 and July 2. About four hundred geographers from around Australia and New Zealand attended, including a small group of staff and students from Canterbury.
It was a busy and well run affair, with up to ten concurrent sessions. The opening keynote from Jamie Peck (UBC) was followed by two others each day, including the Journal of Geography in Higher Education Annual Lecture on the Tuesday delivered by Eric Pawson. His theme was ‘Classrooms without borders: new spaces and places of learning’, and he explored and questioned various forms of ‘post-disaster pedagogies’ developed at Canterbury since the earthquakes. There is a link to the lecture here.
The University of Melbourne is close to Lygon Street and its array of restaurants. On the last night, a memorable conference dinner was held at the State Library: grand setting and great food.
Dr Malcom Campbell comments on latest deprivation findings in Canterbury
Find full article here
Esri Young Scholar Award for UC Geog Student
Stuart Reynolds Master’s Thesis on Resilience to Food Insecurity: Measuring Access to Food in the Urban Environment has gained him the 2014 ESRI Yong Scholar award. The award means Staurt will be wingin his way to San Diego for the Esri Education GIS and International User Conference. View his poster.
Dramatic change in Canterbury's demographics
Dr Malcolm Campbell and Dr John McCarthy comment on the change in Canterbury's demographics as revealed in the 2013 census. For the full story.
Dr Deirdre Hart talks about the major flood in Christchurch
Drs Deirdre Hart (Geography) and Sonia Giovinazzi (Engineering), and Geography Masters student Su Young Ko talk about their international research project on the effects of earthquakes on urban lifelines systems and flooding hazards: -Earthquake - Flooding Multi-hazards.
In relation to this project, Dr Deirdre Hart talks on Radio NZ’s Checkpoint about the major flood event in Christchurch, 5th March, 2014 and what the Engineering-Geography research team are discovering about changes to hazard risks in our city post-quake. To listen to the interview.
For a copy of her What if Wednesday talk "What if Christcurch's sea-levels rose higher" (pdf)
UC quadcopter helping in the Christchurch rebuild
The state of the art Geography operated quadcopter is helping provide video footage of earthquake damaged homes along clifftop edges in the Port Hills. Pilot Nic Key and Paul Bealing have made a number of flights focusing on the damaged houses in Red zones where it was too dangerous for people to inspect from the ground...more
UC Geographer on the Cover of NZ Geographic
Dr Malcolm Campbell from the Department of Geography and a Director of the GeoHealth Laboratory was recently interviewed for a special feature on population in the New Zealand Geographic Magazine. He was commenting on the geographic inequalities revealed by the recent Census data as well as on his research on Spatial Microsimulation modelling."
Why the Census Matters to Everyone
On March 5, 2013, Christchurch City had a population of 341,469 people. This was more than in 2001, but less than in 2006. Nationally, we now know there are 4,242,048 people in New Zealand. So what? Who cares? Dr Malcolm Cambell does and he explains why in this article on stuff.co.nz
Microclimate modelling in Anatarctica -Fieldwork 2014
Marwan and Peyman have returned from a successful trip to the Dry Valleys in Antarctica where they have been carting 700kgs of gadgets around measuring wind interactions with topography, turbulance, meterological readings etc. For more information on their research see their research page on the Dry Valleys of Antarctica.
Former PhD student Dr Jeff Wilson has moved into a Dumpster on campus at Huston-Tillotson University for 1 year in order to show students that it is possible to live with less.
Work conducted by the Department of Geography UAS team (Nick Key and Paul Bealing) featured recently on TV3 news. The work was carried out using the Departments Draganfly Quadcopter. Nick Key is one of only 12 CAA approved UAS operators in the country and has conducted flights around NZ and in Antarctica. The Draganfly is also being used in teaching and ongoing research in 2014 including projects looking at river terracing, faultline detection, and riparian management.