Faculty of Science, Engineering & Technology

Geography & Spatial Science


Researchers in the discipline of Geography and Spatial Science work in three fields of study: conservation ecology, nature-culture relationships, and spatial science. We have expertise in biogeography, geomorphology and climatology; environmental planning and management; cultural and political geography; and spatial science, including geographical information systems, remote sensing, geodesy and photogrammetry.

A range of difficult, long-term environmental issues (including – but not limited to – coastal development, water allocation, forestry and loss of biodiversity) pose particular challenges for development of environmental planning and management. Our work in these two domains adopts an interdisciplinary approach, and includes investigations on the environmental, social geopolitical and economic forces that threaten the integrity of place, and people's attachment to place, built environment, community, and natural areas. Some of us specialise in considering the social, institutional and governance dimensions of natural resource management, climate change adaptation and life on islands.

Mapping and monitoring of Tasmania's marine and coastal environments is another active and developing field of research using benthic videography, aerial and satellite remote sensing, GPS, acoustic surveys including single beam, multi-beam and side scan sonar. Spatial science methods are being applied and developed including spatial metrics, interpolation, error estimation and modeling.

The application of space geodetic techniques to a range of studies focused on the Antarctic and Australian regions concerns a number of staff investigating geodetic applications in the areas of oceanography, marine geodesy and glaciology, with an emphasis on global climate change issues. Climate change of the global oceans and Antarctic ice sheets is also being examined over a broad range of time and space scales using a combination of satellite remotely sensed data and in-situ data.

Many research projects aim to improve the conservation of native ecosystems and species. Some of these focus upon geoconservation in protected area management, geoheritage, geotourism and sustainable development, the geomorphology of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, tropical geomorphology, Antarctic studies, and sub-polar island geomorphology. Others are concerned with the interrelationships among invertebrates and/or vertebrates and ecosystems, and particularly with change to these at the landscape scale; with mechanisms to integrate biodiversity with sustainable grazing systems; or sustain special timbers for community forestry management.

The School of Geography and Environmental Studies is thus a research-led operation. All academic staff are active in scholarship and research training; committed to knowledge exchange and the research-teaching nexus; and possess strong track records in nationally competitive pure basic research and extensive expertise in local, national and international strategic and applied research consultancies.