Research expertise

Crowdsourcing of geographic information

We are developing methods to extract geographic information from social media, for purposes including river monitoring, assessment of perceptions of marine environments and disaster management, as well as actively crowdsourcing similar kinds of information.


Geographic information systems

Our expertise is in the storage and analysis of geographical data. We specialise in digital mapping, cartography and spatial analysis. Massey hosts one of the largest collections of digital spatial data in New Zealand. We undertake Digital Terrain Analysis using LiDAR and terrestrial LiDAR.


Geographic knowledge representation and reasoning

Our research is exploring the representation of human geographic knowledge in information systems, and developing methods to emulate human spatial reasoning. We are addressing the issue of uncertainty in this knowledge, using approaches including fuzzy logic, Bayesian belief networks and modelling of complex aspects of geographic knowledge.


Māori perspectives and geographic information science

We are developing methods to model and capture indigenous geographic knowledge (which may be qualitative and include representations such as oral histories) and incorporate it in existing environmental monitoring systems, considering Māori worldviews and perspectives of the environment.


Precision agriculture and livestock management

Our research in this area works to enhance the economic and environmental performance of land, including the application of new and emerging technology to improve agricultural systems.

Research focuses on GIS, precision agriculture and resource management. This includes investigations of fertiliser use, animal tracking, resource management, remote sensing and identifying nutrient content and delivering fertiliser by air.


Remote sensing and Earth observation

Our work focuses on capturing data and change detection by monitoring the Earth’s surface through satellite, aerial, proximal sensing and drone surveys. This includes ground and field validation of airborne and satellite imagery.


Spatial ecology

We are integrating science and data management solutions to effectively manage and conserve New Zealand’s natural resources, including studying the spatial distribution and movement of marine, fluvial and coastal environments and species, and modelling the effect of human actions on the environment.


Research projects

Short courses

Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems

This course is designed to meet CAA requirements for RPAS operators with little or no aviation experience who want to enter the industry or further develop their understanding of the use of RPAS in the aviation environment. The course is designed to bridge the gap between RPAS operators and aviators to enhance the safety of your operation. It delivers a syllabus centred around safe operating practices featuring hands-on scenarios and practical demonstrations by industry experts.

Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems


We have expertise in deploying radio-controlled, multi-rotor helicopters (unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs) carrying cameras and multispectral sensors to provide high-resolution data for new research initiatives.

    Fenix Hyperspectral Imaging System

    As part of the "Pioneering to Precision" PGP project with Ravensdown and the Ministry for Primary Industries, Massey University purchased a Fenix Hyperspectral Imaging System (Fenix). This is the only Fenix owned outside of the UK and Europe. Flown in a fixed-wing aircraft, the Fenix obtains images from over 450 wave bands including visible, near, short and infra-red. These form maps of nutrient content and concentration, pasture quality and areas of poor drainage, can identify species and cultivars and is used internationally to determine water quality and algae detection. The Fenix can cover large areas in short periods and enables surveys of previously-inaccessible areas.

    Contact Ian Yule


    Currently the New Zealand Centre for Precision Agriculture has a quadcopter and an octocopter in the fleet. They are equipped with GPS, altitude control, telemetry, position hold and waypoint flying. Both machines were purchased and assembled by Aerobot in Australia and they run the Mikrokopter flight systems, based in Germany. The quadcopter has a maximum payload of 1kg and the octocopter can technically lift 5kg, but for a decent flight time a maximum payload of 2.5-3 kg is more suitable. The quadcopter has a maximum flight range of 250m from the start point whereas the octocopter has the commercial licence GPS and can fly 1000m from the start point.

    Contact Matt Irwin


    The Trimble fixed-wing UX5 is launched via slingshot off a rail and flies on an automated flight path (set by the user). It takes visible or near-infrared photos which are knitted together to create a mosaic of the sampled area. When the flight is completed, the UX5 will land automatically once the cue from the pilot is given. The UX5 is most useful for obtaining clear, accurate images and contours of an area, and for generating 3D imagery. It also provides a very accurate Digital Terrain Model (DTM) of the area. The camera mounts inside the hull of the UX5 and take two photos per second.

    Contact Matt Irwin

    Research centres

      Geoinformatics Collaboratory

      The Geoinformatics Collaboratory is a virtual research centre. It brings together Massey University scientists across disciplines who work with geographic information and conduct research in geoinformatics. The Collaboratory hosts a virtual research environment as a resource for research, education and collaboration in Geoinformatics, providing data sets, virtual seminars and other resources to researchers and students.

      Massey Geoinformatics Collaboratory

      Massey AgriFood Technology Partnership

      The Partnership is focused on working with industry on research and development to provide relevant, leading-edge agricultural and horticultural technology. We have an active postgraduate student programme and provide site-specific consultancy.

      Contact Andrew East

      New Zealand Centre for Precision Agriculture

      New Zealand Centre for Precision Agriculture (NZCPA) creates practical land management solutions through the use of leading-edge precision technology tools. Whether you are an individual farmer or a large corporation or government agency, we offer relevant, leading research and site-specific consultancy to help enhance the economic and environmental performance of your land.




      Hyperceptions is a spin out company of Massey University and Massey Ventures Limited offering specialist hyperspectral imaging and remote sensing services to a variety of industry, government and professional groups. Work has been focused on-farm and in forestry using hyperspectral imaging to identify and quantify nutrients, quality attributes of pasture and crops and disease detection.