Lucia McCallum

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Lucia McCallum

Post Doctoral Research Fellow

Room 457, Maths & Physics, Sandy Bay Campus

03 6226 2446 (phone)

Dr Lucia McCallum is a Geodesist at the School of Physical Science, working in the group of radio astronomy. Her field of research is the Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) technique, using signals from far distant radio galaxies to measure the Earth. After finishing her PhD at the Technische Universität in Vienna (Austria), she joined UTAS as a post-doc in 2014.

Dr McCallum is involved in the AuScope VLBI project, working with the University's own radio telescopes at Mt. Pleasant, the Northern Territory and in Western Australia, in common measurements together with telescopes all over the world.


  • 2018 – 2020: DECRA Research Fellow at UTAS. Project: Achieving millimetre geodesy with space tie satellites. Funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC)
  • 2017: UTAS University Lecturer / AuScope VLBI Scientist
  • 2015  - 2017: UTAS University Associate; Erwin Schrödinger Fellow of the Austrian Science Fund, project Sibling Telescopes
  • 2014-2015: UTAS, Super Science Fellow in astronomical and Geodetic VLBI, School of Physical Sciences
  • 2012-2013: Project Assistant, Department of Geodesy and Geoinformation, Vienna University of Technology. Project: 'Ties between kinematic and dynamic reference frames (D-VLBI); within the Research Unit Space-Time Reference Systems for Monitoring Global Change and for Precise Navigation in Space'. Funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG)
  • 2008-2012: University Assistant, Institute of Geodesy and Geophysics, Vienna University of Technology

Career summary


DegreeThesis TitleUniversityCountryDate of Award 
Dr. techn.VLBI satellite tracking for the realization of frame tiesTechnische Universität WienAustria25/11/2013
Dipl.-Ing. (eq. MSc)Calculation of the Earth Rotation Vector with VLBI and Ringlaser measurementsTechnische Universität WienAustria 5/11/2008

Languages (other than English)

German, English


Professional practice

Associate member of the International VLBI Service for Geodesy and Astrometry (IVS)

Secretary of the AOV, the Asian Oceania VLBI Group for Geodesy and Astrometry


Modern Space Geodetic techniques

Teaching expertise

Modern Space Geodetic techniques (lecture), supervision of Honours, MSC, Bachelor theses in the field of VLBI.

View more on Dr Lucia McCallum in WARP


  • Geoscience
  • Geodesy and Surveying
  • Modern Space Geodetic Techniques (GPS, VLBI)

Research Themes

Dr McCallum's field of research is Geodesy, the science of measuring the Earth. Our System Earth is complex and we are far from understanding all its interacting processes. On the surface we are subject to constant changes, due to the influences of the Sun and the Moon, the Ocean, or the Atmosphere. In Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) we use signals from far distant radio galaxies to measure the Earth. In more detail, VLBI is used to measure the Earth's shape, the rotation of the Earth, polar motion, plate tectonics and the variation of these effects. At UTAS, Dr. McCallum uses the university's own radio telescopes at Mt. Pleasant, the Northern Territory and in Western Australia, in common measurements together with telescopes all over the world. The goals of the VLBI group at UTAS are to guarantee best possible performance of our telescopes in global observations and to develop new methods to implement the next generation VLBI global observing system (VGOS). VGOS will be able to measure global distances to the level of a few millimetres, a necessity for important scientific and societal questions in geosciences, as for example the prediction of sea level rise of a few mm per year.

VLBI is a key technique for measuring the Terrestrial Reference Frame (TRF), the Earth’s most precise coordinate system. Dr McCallum’s research focuses in the field of space ties, meaning that she tries to connect the geodetic techniques of the Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS, GPS), Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR) and VLBI directly via a single satellite platform. Essential for space ties is VLBI satellite tracking. VLBI observations to satellites is an exciting and new technique, and Dr McCallum has positioned herself as one of the world’s experts in it.


Lucia has close collaboration with other VLBI groups within the IVS worldwide, especially, with the Geo-Institute of the Technische Universität Wien, Austria. Her key topics include: development of VieVS, the Vienna VLBI software for the analysis of geodetic VLBI;  improved VLBI analysis; source structure effects in VLBI; and undertaking and planning observations.


  • Fem-Tech Expert of the Month May 2015 (
  • Best Presentation Award, Geodetic Week 2009, Karlsruhe (Germany)

Current projects

'Sibling Radio Telescopes for Geodesy – Optimising the use of co-located VLBI telescopes in the southern hemisphere' - Schrödinger Fellowship of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF).

The upcoming VLBI2010 Geodetic Observing System (VGOS) has the potential to improve the performance of geodetic Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) by about an order of magnitude. The concept includes co-located radio telescopes, either as two identical 'twin-telescope' dishes or as a 'sibling telescope', a combination of a large legacy telescope and a new small VGOS antenna.

Common observations at one site require new observing modes to be developed, but it also offers new analysis options for improved results. In addition, both telescopes need to be accurately connected to each other. The so-called local tie is essential to connect the present VLBI reference frame to the new VGOS frame, as well as to connect VLBI to the other space geodetic techniques making up the International Terrestrial Reference Frame (ITRF). 

In the project Sibling Telescopes, observations with the Australian AuScope VLBI array, a prototype of the future VGOS system, will be used to optimise observing with sibling telescopes. This comprises new scheduling strategies, improved analysis, and the generation of actual results for the Ho (26m) - Hb (12m) antenna pair in Hobart. Improved planning of the observations will be developed using thorough simulations, answering the question whether it is better to observe the same source or different sources with the sibling telescope. Applying the developed scheduling tool, observations will be planned for the AUSTRAL observing program, using telescopes in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. In the analysis of the collected data common parameters will be combined. These are the identical troposphere above the sibling telescope, the parameters of the atomic clock at the station providing the frequency standard to both telescopes, and large-scale antenna movements due to plate tectonics and geodynamical processes. Special attention will be given to the determination of the local tie between the two radio antennas and the comparison between the solution from the VLBI observations and the tie vector determined by local surveying. Precise intra-technique ties will help to improve the inter-technique ties to the other co-located geodetic space techniques, the backbone of the ITRF as a multi-technique solution.

The project Sibling Telescopes will be conducted at the University of Tasmania, operating the Australian AuScope VLBI array. The frequent AUSTRAL sessions offer the perfect test bed for the proposed research. During the return phase at the Vienna University of Technology, the findings will be extended to global networks. The developed tools and strategies will allow the optimal usage of the collected data as well as of the upcoming VGOS system, a global multi-million Euro research infrastructure project, targeted to fulfill future scientific and societal demands on Geosciences.

Fields of Research

  • Geodesy (090902)
  • Astronomical and Space Sciences (020199)
  • Geophysics (040499)
  • Cosmology and Extragalactic Astronomy (020103)
  • Software Engineering (080309)
  • Satellite, Space Vehicle and Missile Design and Testing (090108)

Research Objectives

  • Expanding Knowledge in the Physical Sciences (970102)
  • Expanding Knowledge in the Earth Sciences (970104)
  • Expanding Knowledge in Engineering (970109)
  • Climate and Climate Change (960399)
  • Ecological Economics (919902)


Total publications


Journal Article

(13 outputs)
2018Bohm K, Bohm S, Boisits J, Girdiuk A, Gruber J, et al., 'Vienna VLBI and satellite software (VieVS) for geodesy and astrometry', Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 130 Article 044503. ISSN 0004-6280 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1088/1538-3873/aaa22b [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 4Web of Science - 5

Co-authors: McCallum J


2018Iles EJ, McCallum L, Lovell JEJ, McCallum JN, 'Automated and dynamic scheduling for geodetic VLBI - a simulation study for AuScope and global networks', Advances in Space Research, 61, (3) pp. 962-973. ISSN 0273-1177 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.asr.2017.11.012 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Iles EJ; Lovell JEJ; McCallum JN


2018Sun J, Tang G, Shu F, Li X, Liu S, et al., 'VLBI observations to the APOD satellite', Advances in Space Research, 61, (3) pp. 823-829. ISSN 0273-1177 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.asr.2017.10.046 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 3Web of Science - 3

Co-authors: McCallum J; Lovell J


2018Titov O, Girdiuk A, Lambert SB, Lovell J, McCallum J, et al., 'Testing general relativity with geodetic VLBI. What a single, specially designed experiment can teach us', Astronomy and Astrophysics, 168, (A8) pp. 1-5. ISSN 1432-0746 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201833459 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 2Web of Science - 3

Co-authors: Lovell J; McCallum J; Shabala S


2018Hellerschmied A, McCallum L, McCallum J, Sun J, Bohm J, et al., 'Observing APOD with the AuScope VLBI array', Sensors, 18, (5) Article 1587. ISSN 1424-8220 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.3390/s18051587 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 3Web of Science - 4

Co-authors: McCallum J


2017McCallum L, Mayer D, Le Bail K, Schartner M, McCallum J, et al., 'Star scheduling mode - a new observing strategy for monitoring weak southern radio sources with the AuScope VLBI Array', Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia, 34 Article e063. ISSN 1448-6083 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1017/pasa.2017.58 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Web of Science - 16

Co-authors: McCallum J; Lovell J


2017Plank L, Hellerschmied A, McCallum J, Bohm J, Lovell J, 'VLBI observations of GNSS-satellites: from scheduling to analysis', Journal of Geodesy, 91, (7) pp. 867-880. ISSN 0949-7714 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1007/s00190-016-0992-8 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 9Web of Science - 7

Co-authors: McCallum J; Lovell J


2017Plank L, Lovell JEJ, McCallum JN, Mayer D, Reynolds C, et al., 'The AUSTRAL VLBI observing program', Journal of Geodesy, 91, (7) pp. 803-817. ISSN 0949-7714 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1007/s00190-016-0949-y [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 5Web of Science - 6

Co-authors: Lovell JEJ; McCallum JN; Shabala SS


2016Plank L, Shabala SS, McCallum JN, Krasna H, Petrachenko B, et al., 'On the estimation of a celestial reference frame in the presence of source structure', Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 455, (1) pp. 343-356. ISSN 0035-8711 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stv2080 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 3Web of Science - 3

Co-authors: Shabala SS; McCallum JN; Rastorgueva-Foi E; Lovell JEJ


2015Mayer D, Bohm J, Lovell J, Plank L, Sun J, et al., 'Scheduling Strategies for the AuScope VLBI network', Oesterreichische Zeitschrift fuer Vermessung und Geoinformation, 2-3 pp. 162-168. ISSN 1605-1653 (2015) [Non Refereed Article]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Lovell J

2015Plank L, Lovell JEJ, Shabala SS, Bohm J, Titov O, 'Challenges for geodetic VLBI in the southern hemisphere', Advances in Space Research, 56, (2) pp. 304-313. ISSN 0273-1177 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.asr.2015.04.022 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 4Web of Science - 7

Co-authors: Lovell JEJ; Shabala SS


2015Shabala SS, McCallum JN, Plank L, Bohm J, 'Simulating the eff ects of quasar structure on parameters from geodetic VLBI', Journal of Geodesy, 89, (9) pp. 873-886. ISSN 0949-7714 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1007/s00190-015-0820-6 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 7Web of Science - 6

Co-authors: Shabala SS; McCallum JN


2014Plank L, Bohm J, Schuh H, 'Precise station positions from VLBI observations to satellites: a simulation study', Journal of Geodesy, 88, (7) pp. 659-673. ISSN 0949-7714 (2014) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1007/s00190-014-0712-1 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 10Web of Science - 7


Conference Publication

(5 outputs)
2016Plank L, 'Changes and Impacts - Research into the nature and state of the Australian region', 10 Years of AuScope, 28 June 2016, Adelaide, Australia (2016) [Chair National Conference]

[eCite] [Details]

2015Plank L, Bohm J, Schuh H, 'Simulated VLBI Satellite Tracking of the GNSS Constellation: Observing Strategies', Proceedings of the IAG Scientific Assembly in Postdam, Germany, 2013, 2-6 September 2013, Potsdam, Germany, pp. 85-90. ISBN 9783319246031 (2015) [Refereed Conference Paper]

DOI: 10.1007/1345_2015_87 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 4Web of Science - 1


2015Plank L, Lovell JEJ, McCallum J, Rastorgueva-Foi E, Shabala SS, et al., 'Results from the regional AUSTRAL VLBI sessions for Southern Hemisphere reference frames', Proceedings of REFAG 2014, International Association of Geodesy Symposia, 13-17 October 2014, Luxembourg, pp. 129-134. ISSN 0939-9585 (2015) [Refereed Conference Paper]

DOI: 10.1007/1345_2015_132 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 1

Co-authors: Lovell JEJ; McCallum J; Rastorgueva-Foi E; Shabala SS


2013Plank L, Spicakova H, Bohm J, Nilsson T, Pany A, et al., 'Systematic errors of a VLBI determined TRF investigated by simulations', International Association of Geodesy Symposia Volume 138, 4-8 October 2010, Chania, Crete, pp. 197-202. ISBN 978-3-642-32997-5 (2013) [Refereed Conference Paper]

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-32998-2_29 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 1Web of Science - 1


2012Bohm J, Bohm S, Nilsson T, Pany A, Plank L, et al., 'The new Vienna VLBI Software VieVS', International Association of Geodesy Symposia Volume 136, 31 August - 4 September, Buenos Aires, Argentina, pp. 1007-1011. ISBN 978-3-642-20337-4 (2012) [Refereed Conference Paper]

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-20338-1_126 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 66Web of Science - 63



(1 outputs)
2013Plank L, 'VLBI satellite tracking for the realization of frame ties' (2013) [PhD]

[eCite] [Details]


Grants & Funding

Funding Summary

Number of grants


Total funding



Very Long Baseline Interferometry Research Collaboration (2019 - 2023)$4,250,000
This project will support the operation of the AuScope geodetic very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) array, as part of a global network. The 4 radio telescopes of the array are all owned by UTAS, located in Hobart, Katherine and Yarragadee. VLBI operations are highly specialised and need constant research and troubleshooting from skilled scientist. Having reliable and accurate observations as their main aim, Geoscience Australia funds this project including dedicated research towards improved operations and better results. This project is also the basis for maintaining our unique telescope facilities across the continent.
Geoscience Australia ($4,250,000)
Contract Research
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
McCallum J; McCallum L; Ellingsen SP
2019 - 2023
Achieving millimetre geodesy with space tie satellites (2018 - 2020)$386,500
Understanding Earths changing shape requires measurements with a stability of 0.1 mm per year. Todaygeodetic Earth observations are used to realise reference points with a precision of five to ten times larger. Thisproject aims to implement the completely new concept of observing artificial satellites with radio telescopes,realising a so-called space tie. Using the unique Australian ground infrastructure, current observational andoperational problems shall be overcome. The intended outcome is to improve the coordinate system of the Earth,which is the basis for a better understanding of our planet Earth serving to fulfil scientific as well as societaldemands.
Australian Research Council ($386,500)
Fellowship-Discovery Early Career Researcher Award
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
McCallum L
2018 - 2020
Grant Reference
Sibling Radio Telescopes for Geodesy (2015 - 2017)$250,000
Austrian Science Fund (FWF) ($250,000)
J 3699 Schroedinger Fellowship
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
McCallum L
2015 - 2017

Research Supervision

Lucia has been the primary supervisor and co-supervisor of several theses (Bacc, Master, Honours).






PhDQuantifying the Effects of Quasar Structure in Next-Generation Geodetic VLBI Observations2017
PhDImproving the Efficiency of VLBI Observations Through Dynamic Observing2018
PhDThe Next Generation AuScope VLBI Network - from Centimeter to Millimetre Precision2018


MastersScheduling for Next Era Operations of Geodetic VLBI: Simulations with the AuScope Array
Candidate: Elizabeth Jayne Latrobe Iles