Who we are?


Dr Malcolm Campbell

Deputy Director of the GeoHealth Laboratory; Senior Lecturer (Above the Bar), School of Earth and Environment


Malcolm is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Geography and Deputy Director of the GeoHealth Laboratory. Some current examples of his research include: Smart Cities, Spatial Microsimulation of health and socioeconomic variables; Analysing various inequalities between population groups and geographical areas and Regional Economic Development. He also has a strong focus on Urban Geography, with previous projects on Value Uplift in New Zealand Cities. Dr Campbell leads the research theme on Smart cities, utilising close to real time information on peoples movements and the environment (air quality) around them from embedded sensor networks and smartphones in New Zealand and Sweden. He is involved in the NSC11 project, Crowd-sourced and urban sensor data insights for better cities, towns & homes.

Dr Rita Dionísio

Senior Lecturer, School of Earth and Environment


Spatial Planning

Rita’s research is focused on collaborative planning, urban regeneration, and community resilience. Her research experience has been developed through projects focused on the social and environmental sustainability of neighborhoods and cities, through engaged research. In Japan, she developed research supporting communities, affected by the 2011 Tsunami, in envisioning regeneration and recovery scenarios. This work explored community responsive urban design and environmentally appropriate planning at local and regional levels.

Dr Jesse Wiki

Postdoctoral Fellow and Research Manager, GeoHealth Laboratory


Geospatial Analysis

Jesse is a postdoctoral fellow at the GeoHealth Laboratory. Her research interests are focused on health geography, spatial epidemiology and spatial statistics. In her doctoral thesis, Jesse investigated relationships between the built environment and population health outcomes of diabetes and childhood weight status in urban New Zealand.

Dr Lukáš Marek

Postdoctoral Fellow, Geospatial Research Institute


Geospatial Analysis

Lukáš received his PhD in 2015 from the Department of Geoinformatics at Palacky University in the Czech Republic. In his thesis, he conducted a research study on spatial and spatiotemporal analysis of Campylobac-teriosis in the Czech Republic. His main research interest is currently focused on geovisualisation and spatial analyses of health data using spatial and spatiotemporal modelling, and spatial statistics.

Dr Maria Vega Corredor

Researcher, Geospatial Research Institute


Geospatial Analysis

Maria is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine with an MSc in Tropical Ecology. Over the last several years, she has been working in research in the spatial epidemiology of zoonotic diseases, with a particular focus on their geographical variations and associated risk factors including ecological, environmental and climatic.

Dr Dean Walker

Postdoctoral Fellow, Geospatial Research Institute


Geospatial Analysis

Dean’s research interests include collaborations with Māori communities for the development of culturally-based frameworks and geospatial tools. His current research involves the development of map-based tools for community and Māori-led bicultural spatial planning, with iwi partners in Waimakariri and Rotorua. He has previously worked with iwi on projects in the Nelson region in the co-creation of tools for environmental monitoring.

Dr Rose Pearson

Postdoctoral Fellow, NIWA
Visiting researcher, GRI


Geospatial Analysis

Rose received her PhD in 2018 from the Department of Information engineering at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at NIWA and a visiting researcher at the Geospatial research institute. Her postdoctoral research focuses on combining geospatial data, primarily LiDAR point clouds, to produce hydrologically conditioned DEMs and roughness maps for use in river flood modelling. Her research interests centre on surface generation and attribute mapping from a wide array of spatial and geospatial datasets.

Dr. Merel Keijsers

Research Assistant


Geospatial Analysis

Merel completed her PhD in social robotics at UC’s Human Interface Technology Lab and holds a double masters degree in social psychology and methodology&statistics from the university of Utrecht. For her doctoral research she looked into what makes people behave aggressively towards robots. She is currently working on the VESPHA project, which uses virtual reality to study vapers’ and smokers’ craving responses to vaping related cues.

Dr Sharmila Savarimuthu

Computer/Information Science


Software Development

Sharmila holds a PhD in Information Science (Otago) and a master’s degree in Computer Science. In her career spanning several years in two countries (New Zealand and India), she has undertaken several roles – lab tutor, researcher and software developer. Previously she worked as a software engineer at QuakeCORE. She joined GRI as a software developer. She develops full stack web applications.

Luke Parkinson

Geospatial Software Developer


Software Development

Luke joined the GRI as a software developer after completing his BE(Hons) Software Engineering degree. Luke has a strong interest in web and application development with a growing specialisation in geospatial technologies, with previous work at Seequent introducing him to contributing to geospatial modelling applications in industry. Luke develops open-source web frameworks for geospatial applications for the GRI and provides software advice to researchers.

Previous GRI researchers

Inês Falcão

Geomatics Engineer


Software Development

Ines is a certified geomatics engineer. She obtained her MSc certificate from the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon in 2012. Ines has been involved in information technology projects as a researcher and developer. Ines has a particular interest in programming and web mapping activities and her most recent work experiences were related with IT consulting and INSPIRE directive implementation. Presently, Ines is working as a programmer in the Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities National Science Challenge – SRA2: Next Generation Information for Better Outcomes, being involved in the development of a web-based geospatial application to aid better urban decision making.


Dr Matt Hobbs

Postdoctoral Fellowship, Geospatial Research Institute


GeoHealth Analysis

Matt is a postdoctoral researcher in the GeoHealth Laboratory interested in how we can modify the food and physical activity environment to promote health. As an early career researcher, he recently completed his PhD for which he received a scholarship. His thesis explored the association between the physical food and physical activity environment and obesity. Most recently, he has been invited as part of the international advisory panel for Perspectives in Public Health a flagship journal of the Royal Society for Public Health (MRSPH). Matthew became a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA & PGCHE), has studied and worked in Australia, at Loughborough University within the UK, and has also worked as a health, physical activity and obesity consultant.

Dr Sonia Giovinazzi

Postdoctoral Fellowship, Geospatial Research Institute


Geospatial Analysis

Fields of Research include: Natural and man-induced hazard risk analysis; GIS-based territorial scale damage scenario analysis; Structure and infrastructure vulnerability analysis; Risk reduction strategies including mitigation strategies, emergency management and resilience enhancement strategies; Extreme events decision making; and Seismic vulnerability assessment of unreinforced masonry and heritage/monumental buildings.

David Garcia

PhD Student, GRI


Geospatial Analysis

David is a mapmaker. He is a PhD student focusing on crowdsourcing geographic information for community development and humanitarian action. He used to work as a geographer and urban planner for the United Nations and other organisations in places hit by disaster (Super Typhoon Haiyan) or conflict (Marawi siege) in the Philippines. Broadly, his academic, professional, civic work has been for and with cities and communities at the crossings of crises and conflict in his country. In the fields about cartography, spatial planning and geographic information, he tries to combine a computational, critical, and creative approach. His hobby is to make good maps, which he shares for free (www.mapmakerdavid.com). David is also a volunteer of OpenStreetMap (OSM), which is about sharing and making “free geographic data for the world” (www.wiki.openstreetmap.org).

Kelly Lu PhD StudentGRI

Kelly Lu

PhD Student since 2020


Geospatial Analysis

Kelly’s PhD research focuses on the analysis of spatio-temporal trends in New Zealand Traffic in 1998-2018 and implications for benchmarking and implementation of autonomous self-driving vehicles.


Kelly is the first recipient of the GRI-PhD scholarship established in 2019.


Prof. Elena Moltchanova

Dr Christoph Bartneck 

Dr Mehdi Ekbatani

Prof Simon Kingham


Martin Nguyen

PhD Student, GRI


Geospatial Analysis

Martin completed a Master’s degree in Applied Data Science at UC, during which he developed a specific interest in the versatility of Artificial Intelligence. He is pursuing a PhD in the area of data science methods for flood risk assessment. Specifically, his research will focus on advancing methods for uncertainty estimation in flood inundation modelling, using machine learning approaches.

Martin says that he feels so honoured to be working as part of the MBIE Endeavour research programme, “Reducing flood inundation hazard and risk across Aotearoa/New Zealand”, supervised by Prof. Matt Wilson and Dr. Emily Lane (NIWA). This programme not only offers him many opportunities to improve his data handling competencies and to explore practical geospatial data with advanced geospatial techniques, it also gives him a chance to employ what he studies to contribute to the safety of the public


Prof. Matthew Wilson

Dr. Emily Lane


Colin MacDonald (chair person)

Chair, Network for Learning (N4L), formerly the Chief Executive, Department of Internal Affairs

Professor Wendy Lawson

Pro Vice Chancellor Science, University of Canterbury

Dr Richard Gordon

Chief Executive Officer, Landcare Research.

Mark Nichols

General Manager, Trimble Navigation New Zealand

Jan Pierce

Deputy Chief Executive Location Information, Land Information New Zealand
Matt Wilson, Spatial Science, Geography, 25.9.17

Professor Matthew Wilson

Director, Geospatial Research Institute

Professor Matthew Wilson

Professor of Spatial Information, Geospatial Research Institute


Addressing key research questions around Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDI), as well as associated management and governance topics related to spatial data management, spatial data integration and sharing, interoperability and standards, data models, governance, and legal issues associated with open data and data privacy


Professor Richard Green

Sourcing and Delivery Theme Leader at the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering, Theme Leader of Geospatial Research Institute


Incorporating a range of topics related to spatial data sourcing and delivery, including research work in UAVs, sensors, WiFi networks, environmental telemetry, positioning, mobile technology, communications, crowdsourcing, and representation of indigenous knowledge.

Professor Rob Lindeman

Research Leader of the HIT Lab NZ


Incorporating big spatial data analytics and rapid spatial data analytics, complex system modelling, geo-visualisation and interpretation, and GIS interfaces with other systems such as BIM. It also includes human aspects of data representation.


Dr Graeme Woodward

Wireless Research Centre


The applied use of geospatial for smart cities and infrastructure development and management, including smart cities, intelligent transport systems, business intelligence, situational awareness, built environment planning, monitoring and management, emergency services, post-quake city geoscience, and smarter as-set/utilities/infrastructure management.

Professor Matthew Wilson

Professor of Spatial Information
Director, Geospatial Research Institute


Addressing key research questions around Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDI), as well as associated management and governance topics related to spatial data management, spatial data integration and sharing, interoperability and standards, data models, governance, and legal issues associated with open data and data privacy

Professor Simon Kingham

Deputy Director, Geospatial Research Institute and Director, Geohealth Laboratory
Chief Science Adviser for Ministry of Transport


Research interests include three areas, broadly linked by relationships between transport and health. These are:
1. Air pollution exposure – This addresses the question of how we quantify the amount of pollution humans actually breathe in. This is important to know if we want to relate pollution to human health.
2. Transport – This research area is interested in how we can make transport more sustainable and looks at people’s perceptions and attitudes to transport, focusing specifically on school and work travel.
3. Health geography – This focuses on links between spatial patterns of illness and air pollution.

Professor Jennifer Brown

Deputy Director, Geospatial Research Institute


Head of School for School of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand, Jennifer is an Associate Director of the Biomathematics Research Centre and researcher in the NZ Health Ageing Research Group. She has an undergraduate degree in Forestry from Canterbury University.

Dr. Melanie Tomintz

Manager, Geospatial Research Institute


Melanie has a PhD in quantitative geography from the University of Leeds in the UK and graduated as certified engineer in the field of geoinformation science from the Carinthia University of Applied Sciences in Austria. She is passionate about merging the fields of geoinformation and health science and especially enjoys the collaborative work with the NZ Ministry of Health. Melanie was previously the Research Manager of the Geohealth Laboratory and continues to oversee the lab within her expanded remit.

David Humm

Business Development Manager, Research & Innovation.


David is responsible for engaging with external customers for research, consulting and commercialisation activity with a specialisation in the ICT sector.