University of Adelaide Spatial Scientists Receive Top Awards

Australia’s peak body representing surveying and spatial science professionals, has recently recognised the work of two University of Adelaide researchers.

The Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute (SSSI) recently awarded Dr. Ken Clarke and Dr. W. Boone Law with top honours at the regional (SA) Asia-Pacific Spatial Excellence Awards (APSEA) ceremony, held at the Adelaide Pavilion recently.

Dr. Ken Clarke accepted the “The Industry Award for Environment and Sustainability” for his work on the Condition Assessment and Risk Management System (CARMS), which was created through collaboration between Pastoral Unit in the Department of Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (PIRSA) and the Australian Institute for Machine Learning (AIML) and School of Biological Sciences within The University of Adelaide.

CARMS uses the best current science and operational data and tools to provide spatially comprehensive, frequent, objective and robust evidence about condition of the land across all SA pastoral leases. Using satellite remote sensing and geospatial data, Geographic Information Systems and advanced data analysis, annual reports on vegetation cover are prepared for all 323 pastoral leases, within the context of rainfall trends and vegetation cover over the past 20 years. These reports are used by PIRSA staff to support land condition assessments and compliance decision-making under the Act, and aid in planning on-ground assessments.

Recent PhD graduate, Dr. W. Boone Law, was presented with the “APSEA Postgraduate Student of the Year Award (South Australia Region)” for his doctoral research entitled Using Satellite Remote Sensing Technologies to Discriminate Patterns of Ancient Aboriginal Land Use in the Australian Arid Zone.

Boone commenced his PhD in spatial science and environmental remote sensing at the University of Adelaide in 2015, and over a short time, he has used his spatial science knowledge and skills to make innovative and well-received academic contributions to Australian archaeology. His PhD is amongst the first in Australia to promote and utilise advanced aerial and satellite remote sensing technologies to better understand the Aboriginal archaeological record. The judges said Boone had fantastic engagement examples and was an innovative thesis.

Image: (L-R) PhD Candidate Angus Retallack, Prof. Megan Lewis, Dr. Ken Clarke, and Dr. W. Boone Law with APSEA awards.

In addition to their families, Ken and Boone both thanked their university research group colleagues for the tremendous support they receive in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. In particular, Ken recognised those responsible for making the project happen, Bianca Lewis, Scot Ashby and Michelle Edge (PIRSA), and Paul Dalby (AIML); those who coordinated and executed the project, Gavin Baird (PRISA) and Grant Osborne, Karl Hornlund and Phil Roberts (AIML); and the other experts on arid ecology, Megan Lewis and Hannah Auricht (University of Adelaide).

As regional award recipients, both Dr Clarke and Dr Wallace are now in consideration for the national APSEA awards—to be announced later this month at the Locate21 Conference. We wish them all the very best!

Boone additionally praised his supervisors, Professor Megan Lewis, Associate Professor Bertram Ostendorf, and Professor Peter Hiscock (Australian Museum), for their guidance and mentorship throughout his research.

Image: (L-R) Prof. Megan Lewis and Dr. W. Boone Law at the Surveying and Spatial Science Institute APSEA Award Ceremony.

Image: APSEA Postgraduate Student Award.

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