Massey researcher spearheads Aotearoa New Zealand's first-ever remote sensing conference

Wednesday 24 April 2024

The country’s first-ever remote sensing/earth observation conference took place in Wellington recently, with a Massey researcher at the helm.

MIGARS co-chairs from left: Associate Professor Gabor Kereszturi, Professor Alejandro Frery and Professor Matthew Wilson. Photo by Mark Tantrum.

Remote sensing is an area of exponential growth worldwide, with hundreds of new airborne, satellite and ground-based sensors deployed each year to capture new data. It’s a field with applications across many disciplines and can be used for activities such as volcano mapping, monitoring landslides, post-disaster recovery and the detection of erosion.

However, according to Associate Professor Gabor Kereszturi from the School of Agriculture and Environment, earth observation capability and analytics in New Zealand has not reached its full potential.

So, when Tourism New Zealand put out the call for champions to bring a conference focused on remote sensing to the country, Dr Kereszturi jumped at the opportunity.

He linked up with Professor Alejandro Frery from Victoria University of Wellington and Matthew Wilson from the University of Canterbury to bring the International Conference on Machine Intelligence for Geoanalytics and Remote Sensing (MIGARS) to Wellington, in collaboration with Conferences & Events Ltd.

Conference attendees. Photo by Mark Tantrum.

The three-day conference brought practitioners, industry and academia together to build momentum for harvesting space-based technologies in New Zealand. It also provided networking opportunities for early career researchers.

“Earth Observation and associated analytics is a new emerging tool that crosscuts multiple applications. MIGARS has been a successful stepping-stone for a more connected Earth Observation community in New Zealand,” Dr Kereszturi says.

Around 170 people attended the event from countries such as Germany, Spain, Japan, India, Indonesia, China, the United Kingdom, the United States and Norway.

Professor Frery and Dr Kereszturi are hopeful that the success of MIGARS will enable them to host the International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium when it returns to the Asia-Pacific region in 2028. That event would bring around 2500 people to Auckland.

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