Who we are
The Geospatial Research Institute Toi Hangarau, is a broadly-conceived research institute at the University of Canterbury that conducts innovative research across the geospatial research spectrum.
Our mission is to provide a national centre of gravity for geospatial research, to provide the underpinning research that enables New Zealand to more fully realize the benefits of spatial information technology.
Professor Matthew Wilson
The Professorship in Spatial Information was created with funding provided by the Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information (CRC.SI), Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) and the University of Canterbury, based in the GRI. The role is intended to accelerate the spatial data infrastructure programme of the CRC.SI, as well as further strengthening the bridge between spatial research and computer science, and filling a critical capability gap identified in New Zealand.
Prof. Matthew Wilson commenced in this role in February 2017. 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.
Prof. Wilson came to New Zealand from the University of the West Indies in Trinidad & Tobago, where he helped to establish new programmes and a new Department of Geography, with a particular focus on the development of undergraduate and postgraduate education in geospatial science.
He says: “I’ve really enjoyed my first year at the GRI, where I have been able to develop multiple new and exciting avenues of research, ranging from helping to develop the first national database of river stopbank or levee infrastructure, in collaboration with the UC QuakeCentre, to putting together a prototype for systems which can allow real-time federation and analysis of spatial data for flood risk management across Australia and New Zealand, in collaboration with LINZ and Curtin University. I look forward to continuing to develop these and other projects in spatial information, in collaboration with colleagues across the spatial sector. New Zealand is a great place to be based for research – there is a small but vibrant research community, a good level of support, and numerous interesting research questions to be tackled, for which spatial data and spatial analysis can provide new insights.”