Surveying and Geospatial Engineering

The Surveying and Geospatial Engineering (SAGE) Research Group has been conducting world class research in the subdisciplines of geodesy, photogrammetry, positioning measurement and remote sensing since the 1960s.

Research themes

Surveying and Geospatial EngineeringSAGE research focuses on:

Multi-GNSS studies

Global Satellite Navigation Systems (GNSSs) such as the USA’s GPS, Russia’s GLONASS, Europe’s Galileo and China’s BeiDou have wide applicability and are spawning a rich field of research topics on receiver instrumentation, infrastructure, operational procedures, measurement processing algorithms, and professional and mass market applications. See research topics.

Satellite navigation receiver design and signal processing algorithms

Receiver design is a challenge as the number of GNSS constellations launched into orbit expand and new navigation signals are broadcast. SAGE research is conducted in a new research laboratory for satellite navigation technology in conjunction with the UNSW School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications and takes advantage of the unique SAGE-developed GNSS receiver.

Multisensor integration systems, algorithms and applications

The combination of GNSS with an Inertial Navigation System provides user positioning and orientation in all environments. SAGE is investigating the use of such systems for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and terrestrial platforms, extended to include vision/image sensors and terrestrial positioning technologies.

Personal and indoor positioning/navigation

Applications include support for emergency service personnel inside buildings and for the blind and visually impaired, using a range of sensor/positioning technologies (WiFi-based, RFID, vision and inertial sensors and mobilephone-based systems). SAGE has helped develop the Locata technology – a new high accuracy positioning technology that can be used on its own or in combination with GNSS.

Precise GNSS positioning technology and applications

These include a wide range of precise positioning applications such as surveying, geodesy, structural monitoring, geo-referencing of moving platforms, robotics and machine guidance, and cooperative positioning in support of advanced vehicle control applications. See research topics.

Geodetic infrastructure and analysis

Geodesy defines and maintains critical reference frames such as the International Terrestrial Reference Frame (ITRF). Geodetic GNSS is critical to the definition of ITRF, as well as providing the means of connecting to it using special GNSS techniques. See research topics.

Precise surveys for deformation and construction

Surveying instrumentation such as Total Stations (TS – high accuracy angle and distance measuring devices), digital levels, digital photogrammetry and Terrestrial Laser Scanners (TLS) have many uses in construction, mapping and surveying. See research topics.

Earth Observation science

Earth Observation (EO) is amongst the fastest growing geospatial technology fields, utilising a variety of imaging sensors (radar, optical, multi- and hyper-spectral) and remote measurement systems (laser scanning, radar altimetry, etc.) installed on satellites, aircraft or road vehicles to remotely sense many aspects of the natural and built environment. See research topics.

Remote sensing technologies and applications

Radar remote sensing is a satellite EO technique for monitoring vegetation and land use, biomass and soil moisture, water surfaces and flooding, pollution at sea, ship detection, terrain mapping and ground deformation measurement. SAGE works closely with the UNSW School of Mining Engineering in the Laboratory for Imaging in the Mining Environment (LIME) joint initiative.

Lidar, mapping and geoinformation management systems

Light Detection and Ranging (Lidar) is a geospatial technology that generates massive volumes of ‘point cloud’ data – 3D coordinates of points together with information on the ground reflected laser signals. The combination of digital imaging and Lidar is revolutionising the way data is acquired for rapid mapping of transport corridors, the urban landscape and inside buildings. See research topics.

See research topics.

Research staff

Surveying and Geospatial Engineering research students

You can view list of Surveying and Geospatial Engineering PhD candidate here.

Information on becoming a SAGE research (Masters or PhD) student is available here.

Research excellence

SAGE hosts one of the world’s top satellite and wireless positioning research groups, and one of Australia's premier Earth observation research teams.The quality of the research environment and impact of the research is indicated by our outstanding numbers of publications, PhD and Masters theses completed, technological achievements, prizes won by graduate students and the national and international visibility of SAGE staff.

In all respects SAGE academics and graduate students are Australia's most productive, innovative and influential researchers in the fields of navigation, precise positioning and remote sensing.

SAGE research has been funded primarily by the Australian Research Council and the CRC for Spatial Information, with some industry consultancies.

Research facilities

Through close links to state and federal government agencies, and private companies, we have access to state-of-the art surveying, mapping and geodesy instruments and analysis systems.

Free Surveying Textbook

Our SAGE academic have contributed to many textbooks. Here are a few free books you can download.