Chris Rizos

Sch-Civil & Environmental Eng
Contact details:
(+61 2) 9385 4205
(+61 2) 9385 6139

Civil Engineering Building (H20)
Level 4, Room CE415
Kensington Campus

Professor of Geodesy and Navigation in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Research interests

Level 1: Investigate how geospatial technology such as GPS and digital mapping is used for science, and by society in general.

Level 2: Investigate the technology and applications of satellite-, wireless- and inertial-based sensors for high accuracy positioning.

Level 3: Interested in positioning technologies, especially GNSS, and their applications across the whole spectrum of uses from Navigation to Geodesy.

Interest in engineering

Why did you get into engineering?

My fascination in old maps and the role of explorers in opening up Australia led me to Surveying, however my research interest in the geosciences, mathematics and satellite technology drew me to Geodesy.

What are your research goals?

To “spatially enable” all aspects of life, through the further development of technologies and systems that provide continuous, seamless, high accuracy positioning of objects, people and every feature on the surface of the Earth.

What do people not understand about what you do?

The challenge for my whole adult life has been that people do not understand the rich and myriad ways in which Surveying and Geospatial Engineering affects our daily lives, underpins the wealth of our nation, or helps us better understand our dynamic Earth.

Advice for prospective Surveying and Geospatial engineers

Surveying is a profession that provides engineering services for a wide range of human activities, utilising an amazing array of hi-tech geospatial technologies for mapping, measuring, navigation and environmental monitoring. Many opportunities in traditional Surveying, as well as the new geospatial information disciplines.

Lectures/Courses taught


GPS and satellite-based positioning

Navigation technology and applications



Number currently in lab: 6 PhD students, 2 Master (by Research) student

Number graduated: 30 PhD students

Student Projects:

Established the Satellite Navigation and Positioning (SNAP) group at UNSW in 1994, Australia’s leading academic GNSS & navigation research laboratory.

Re-launched in mid-2014 as a cross-disciplinary Lab, between the School of Civil & Environmental Engineering and the School of Electrical Engineering & Telecommunications.

Looking for students for projects related to

Geodetic Infrastructure & Reference Frames: International reference frame & scientific geodetic applications; new Australian geodetic datum studies; ground deformation monitoring & modelling; “National Positioning Infrastructure”; design of permanent GPS/GNSS reference networks; new IGS products & services; impact & opportunities of multi-constellation GNSS.

High Accuracy GNSS Systems, Algorithms & Applications: GNSS receiver design; GNSS measurement modelling; open-source “RTKLIB” data processing software; “Precise Point Positioning” techniques; low-cost GPS sensors for structural monitoring and other applications; GNSS survey systems; algorithms & systems for high performance (accuracy & integrity) machine guidance applications; testing the Japanese “Quasi-Zenith Satellite System” (QZSS) augmentation signals; advanced/cooperative-ITS.

Non-Satellite Navigation & Positioning: Augmenting GPS with inertial sensor technology; “Locata” terrestrial positioning system; indoor positioning; WiFi-based positioning; attitude determination; integration of multi-sensor, RFID and new comms-based technologies; personal navigation.

Other Geospatial Technologies, Systems & Applications: GNSS “reflectometry”, GNSS-based atmospheric remote sensing; airborne & terrestrial laser scanning; UAV mapping systems & applications; microsatellite payloads & missions; vehicle-based mapping; vehicle-based positioning systems.

Professional Organisations and Leadership Position

Past President, International Association of Geodesy (IAG) 2011-2015

Member of the Bureau, International Union of Geodesy & Geophysics (IUGG) 2015-2019

Member, Governing Board & Executive of the International GNSS Service (IGS) since 2004

President, Australian Institute of Navigation

Member, Asia-Pacific Reference Frame (APREF) Steering Committee

Observer, National Committee for Earth Sciences of the Australian Academy of Science

Member, Executive Committee, International Centre for Research & Development of Satellite Navigation in S.E. Asia (NAVIS), Hanoi, Vietnam

Co-organiser and member of Organising Committee, National Satellite Navigation Technology Symposia in 1993, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016

Member of the Editorial Boards of “GPS Solutions”, “Journal of Geospatial Eng.”, “Geoinformation Science Journal”, “Journal of Global Positioning Systems”, and “Inside GNSS”; Editor-in-chief of “Journal of Applied Geodesy”

Member, Surveying & Spatial Sciences Institute

Member, Institution of Surveyors (NSW)

Member, U.S. Institute of Navigation

Member, Australian Institute of Navigation

Awards, Grants, Patents


Excellence & Eminence Award in Spatial Information, Surveying & Spatial Sciences Institute, 2013

Fellow, Australian Institute of Navigation

Fellow, U.S. Institute of Navigation

Fellow, International Association of Geodesy

Fellow, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, 1999, 2003

Senior Fellow, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, 1999

Honorary Professor, Wuhan University, China



Ph.D. (Satellite Geodesy), UNSW, Sydney, Australia; 1980


B.Surv. (Honours), UNSW, Sydney, Australia; 1975