Remote Sensing Research Group

Southern Earth Observatory


Research Staff

Professor Simon Jones

Simon is a Professor of Remote Sensing at RMIT. He previously worked for the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission (Global Vegetation Monitoring Unit) and the University of Melbourne. His research interests lie in the areas of remote sensing for natural resource mapping, wildfire, linking ground observations with remotely sensed imagery and data uncertainty. He is currently a research leader in several large federally funded research initiatives: the CRCSI Landfor project -that is constructing landuse histories from the Landsat archive using a machine learning approach, TERN AUSCOVER as well as BNHCRC projects -that seek to detect wildfires using satellite imagery and produce tools for fuel load estimation. He is a foundation member and former director of the (Surveying and) Spatial Sciences Institute, Australia.

Contact Simon:

Phone: +61 3 9925 2419

Simon’s RMIT Staff Profile

Simon’s Researchgate profile


Professor Mark Shortis

Mark Shortis is Professor of Measurement Science in the School of Science.  His academic career at the University of Melbourne and RMIT University spans four decades.  Since the early 1980s he has been active in research into precise measurement using camera and video systems, for example collaborative research with NASA on the structural dynamics of aerospace models, with the University of Western Australia, Curtin University and CSIRO on underwater assessment of marine populations and habitats, and with ANU and DLR Germany on the characterisation of solar concentrators for energy generation.  His research interests revolve around calibration algorithms and techniques for digital cameras, development of advanced least squares estimation models, optical metrology and tracking objects in image sequences.

Contact Mark: 

Phone: +61 3 9925 9628

Mark’s RMIT Staff Profile

Mark’s Google Scholar

Mark’s Linkedin

Mark’s Researchgate profile


Mr Laurie Buxton

Laurie is a technical officer at the Remote Sensing Research Group.


Contact Laurie:

Laurie’s RMIT Staff Profile





Dr Lola Suárez

Lola is Science Manager of the Melbourne Unmanned Aerial System Integration Platform at the University of Melbourne. She has a background in vegetation physiology and remote sensing and received the Ph.D. degree from the University of Córdoba, at the Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, Spanish Council of Scientific Research, Córdoba, Spain. She worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the Remote Sensing Laboratories (University of Zurich), INRA-EMMAH in Avignon (France) adn RMIT University. Her research interests include crop biophysical properties estimation and up-scaling methodologies to different spatial resolutions using hyper/multispectral remote sensing, and radiative transfer modeling. Lola has an h-index of 13 in Google Scholar.


Dr Luke Wallace

Luke Wallace received his PhD from the University of Tasmania in 2014, in which he developed the worlds first mapping LiDAR system onboard a small multi-rotor UAV and demonstrated it applicability in monitoring forest stands to ensure timber quality.  He is currently a post doctoral research fellow with a research focus on developing novel and innovative methodologies for creating 3D information of our environments. Luke has previously worked at CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere as a research scientist with a focus on developing methods and work-flows for ensuring data quality of the sensor data collected by the ARGO buoy network.

Contact Luke:

Luke’s Google Scholar profile

Luke’s Researchgate profile

Follow Luke on Twitter



Dr Mahyat Shafapour Tehrany

Mahyat is a Vice-Chancellor’s postdoctoral fellow and is based in the School of Science. For the past five years, she has undertaken research and innovation in the field of natural hazards. Her work has contributed to a better understanding of natural hazard events in Australia, minimising human impacts on the environment and alleviating the effects of our growing population and changing climate on natural hazard risks. She uses geographic information systems with remote sensing technologies to help detect, map and prevent natural hazards such as floods, soil erosion and bushfires. Recent developments in climate change and technology have resulted in the emergence of geographic information systems (GIS) with remote sensing technologies. Mahyat has innovated GIS techniques that can assist with natural hazards and remote sensing domains, as well as developing several techniques to use statistical methods to save processing time. She earned her PhD in Geographic Information System and Geomatic Engineering from the University Putra Malaysia, and previously worked as a Research Assistant at the University of New England.

Contact Mahyat:

Mahyat Google Scholar profile

Mahyat Linkedin

Mahyat Researchgate profile


Dr Mariela Soto-Berelov

Mariela is a spatial scientist with over 15 years’ experience in research, teaching, mentoring, and industry. She specialized in spatial analysis, environmental geography, Remote Sensing (RS), and land-use change science (LUCC). She is fascinated by how the earth’s surface is constantly changing as a result of human and natural causes, and feel fortunate to possess a wide variety of tools and technologies with which to map and understand these changes. Within LUCC, she has specialized in landscape scale processes that impact vegetated surfaces (ranging from long term climatic changes to recent human and changes (e.g., deforestation/reforestation, logging, fires). Currently, she is a project manager of the CRC Landsat for Sustainable forests, which uses satellite time series to map disturbance across all forests located in public land in Victoria.

During her day to day work she regularly liaises with Australia’s spatial analysis and remote sensing community which is scattered through academia and state and federal agencies (e.g., CRC for Spatial Information, the Bushfire and Natural Hazard CRC, TERN AusCover, ABARES, CSIRO, Joint Remote Sensing Research Group, state land management agencies in Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania, Western Australia, South Australia). Mariela has worked as a spatial scientist in the tropics, the Mediterranean, Australia, and in the North American Southwest.  She has also lectured in GIS, RS, and Physical Geography courses at the undergraduate and graduate level. Mariela has worked as a GIS and RS Analyst for the private sector and several government agencies. Her comprehensive academic training has allowed her to gain a thorough theoretical understanding of issues that relate to environmental change science/geography and spatial analysis, while her involvement with the private and government sectors has allowed here to form a realistic view of how I can apply these to real issues.

Contact Mariela:

Phone: +61 3 9925 9663   Fax: +61 3 9963 2517

Mariela’s RMIT Staff Profile

Mariela’s Linkedin

Mariela’s Researchgate profile

Dr Chermelle Engel


Chermelle is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the RMIT Remote Sensing Group working on the detection of active fires from Satellite Observations.  She has experience working in the government and academic sector.  Chermelle studied Physics and Software Engineering at the University of Melbourne, both to honours level, before pursuing a career in meteorology.  She worked in the Research Department of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology for 8 years on operational weather forecasting then data assimilation for numerical weather prediction.  Her PhD in Earth Sciences from The University of Melbourne was awarded in 2016, and was based on this experience and her work in spatial forecast verification.  Most recently she worked on fire-weather research at The University of Melbourne and Monash University, analysing weather processes on the day of the Black Saturday fires that may have contributed to the extreme fire-weather and erratic fire behaviour.  She explored these concepts using high-resolution uncoupled weather and coupled fire-weather models.  Chermelle has worked extensively with mapping and tracking of modelled and observed meteorological data.  Her main interest now is to use her experience in weather modelling and verification to efficiently and accurately process satellite information.

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Dr Karin Reinke

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Karin’s Google Scholar

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Associate Professor Chris Bellman

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Research Students

Ahmad Fallatah

Ahmad Fallatah is a PhD student in the Geospatial Department, RMIT. He completed a Master degree at Geo-Information department, ITC Twente University, in the Netherlands between 2009-2011. At the moment he is working with Prof Simon Jones and Prof David Mitchell on mapping informal settlements in the Middle East environment using remote sensing techniques. Currently he is working on a project exploring the potential of Machine Learning (ML) for automatic informal settlements Identification from VHR Imagery. A time series analysis will be carried out to monitor the informal settlements development. These paradigms will enable us to draw a conceptual framework of informal settlements and a better understanding of informal settlements in the Middle East environment.

Contact Ahmad:           Ahmad’s Researchgate profile

Bryan Hally

Bryan is a PhD Candidate in the Remote Sensing Centre. Bryan’s current work involves attribution of active fires using remote sensing imagery, with the use of synthetic fire information to verify the fire products of current platforms and investigate sources of occlusion of active fire. He has a Bachelor of Applied Science (Surveying) with Honours from RMIT, and has spent the past six years working in varied roles in the surveying industry, including providing survey support and project management for water catchment management authorities. He has extensive experience with the use of laser scanning for construction and remediation works, and integration of this data within overarching survey systems. Bryan has been engaged with projects within the water industry for many years, with extended periods working at Melbourne Water along with related consulting surveyors. Various roles included management and support of surveillance systems, provision of historic survey information and support, and whole-of-life project support for the construction and maintenance of water-related assets. He also spent a significant time working in survey consulting for various projects in airport, rail, telecommunications, water and electricity sectors. He also has experience working in the mining industry earlier in his career.

Contact Bryan:

Bryan’s Google Scholar profile

Bryan’s Researchgate profile


Chathura Wickramasinghe

Chathura is a PhD Candidate in the Remote Sensing Centre supported by RMIT Phd International Scholarship program. His PhD is focused on active fire monitoring and tracking using Geo stationary remote sensing imagery. He has completed his Bachelor degree in Surveying Sciences and Masters degree in Remote Sensing and GIS. Chathura has over six year of experience in both active and passive remote sensing. He worked at Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand, managing disaster response and disaster risk mapping projects in the South East Asian region. He was also involved in the development of GeoEDGE web mapping application as well as number of remote sensing and GIS tools for rapid flood mapping using Synthetic Aperture Radar data.

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Chithrangani Rathnayake

Chithrangani Rathnayake is a Ph.D. candidate investigating the major land use and land cover changes in Sri Lanka for the last thirty years through time series analysis. She will also investigate the major drivers of the land use and land cover changes related to the tropical environment and the impacts of the changes on forest habitats of Asian elephants. She holds a Bachelor degree in Geography, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka and MSc in GIS and Remote Sensing from Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand. And MA in Geography from University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. She worked as an Assistant Lecturer from December 2004 to March 2006, at the Department of Geography, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, and as a Lecturer from March 2006 to March 2017 (currently on Leave) at the Uva Wellassa University of Sri Lanka.

Contact Chithrangani:

Chithrangani’s Linkedin

Chithrangani’s Researchgate profile

Daisy San Martin Saldías

Daisy is a current Master of Science by research student. She has a background in Social Sciences and Education and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Tasmania and a Master in Teaching from Monash University. Her master’s project focuses on increasing availability of the satellite images and how they shape our perception amidst significant change. Daisy has been working as a research assistant within the remote sensing lab since 2016. Her role has involved digitising photography and quality control analysis of 3D information collected by researchers and industry partners. Also, she was volunteering on the Landfor project assessing changes in the Landsat imagery of forest. Daisy has deep interest in human geography, especially the social perception within ecosystems.

Contact Daisy:              Daisy’s Linkedin profile

Samuel Hillman

Sam is currently studying a PhD at RMIT University. His research investigates the quantification and characterisation of vegetation for fuel hazard using point clouds. Terrestrial and airborne platforms will also be compared to identify the advantages and disadvantages of each technique in different landscapes. This research is essential for informing a wide range of fire management activities such as assessing bushfire risk, planning fuel treatments, and managing smoke emissions. Prior to commencing his PhD, Sam graduated from RMIT University with a Masters of Geospatial Information in 2015. He continues to work as a seasonal firefighter and application developer for Forest Fire Management Victoria. Outside of work, Sam enjoys participating in outdoor activities and music and travelling.

Contact Sam Hillman:        Researchgate profile


Samuel Hislop

Samuel is currently undertaking a PhD in remote sensing, using Landsat time-series to study forest dynamics at a large-area scale. Landsat imagery offers an unparalleled historical view of the earth stretching back four decades. The richness of the archive is both a blessing and a challenge, and extracting meaningful information from this sea of data is one of his key goals. Before undertaking his PhD, Samuel studied Geomatics and Information Systems at the University of Melbourne and spent about eight years working for the Victorian state government in mapping and emergency services roles.

Contact Samuel: 

Samuel’s Linkedin

Samuel’s Researchgate profile

Trung Nguyen

Trung Nguyen is a PhD Candidate from Vietnam and is part of the LandFor: Landsat for Forests project (P.4.101). In his research project he uses the Landsat satellite archive and time series analysis to capture biomass dynamics across Victoria. Trung’s work revolves around using time series disturbance mapping and single date forest inventory plot data to capture forest biomass dynamics in forests. He is interested in connecting with land managers and academics interested in forest monitoring using remote sensing (RS) techniques, along with users of time series RS to map and analyse disturbance at the landscape scale.

Contact Trung:

Trung’s Linkedin

Trung’s Researchgate


Research Assistants and Collaborators

Salahuddin Ahmad

Salahuddin completed bachelor and master degree in geography and master in applied science in land information from RMIT University. He is currently working at the Department of Environment, Land, water and Planning (DELWP), a state government department of Victoria, Australia. He is a spatial data analyst within Monitoring Evaluation and Research (MER) unit, leading Victorian Forest Monitoring Program’s (VFMP) remote sensing requirements. Salahuddin is a recognized environment and documentary photographer. He devotes much of his spare time to chasing the stories behind the photographs. Browse the gallery ( to discover a wide selection of Salahuddin’s breath taking image.

Contact Sal:           Salahuddin’s Linkedin

Dr Shirley Famelli

Shirley is a Biologist with experience in ecology and conservation biology, observing and monitoring animals’ interactions with the environment, as well as working in the protection and management of threatened species, especially reptiles and amphibians. Shirley worked in the Amazon forest in a Sustainable Use Reserve, developing and implementing management policies for the use of natural resources by local and traditional communities.  Today, she is a research assistant at the Remote Sensing group, where she collaborates on extensive reference dataset in order to deliver large maps of disturbance occurring in the Victorian State Forests. Shirley is also a tutor and guest lecturer at the Environmental Sustainability Course, coordinated by Dr Karin Reinke.

Contact Shirley:

Shirley’s Linkedin

Shirley’s Researchgate profile


Eloise Thaisen

Eloise is a research assistant working alongside Mariela Soto-Berelov and other colleagues investigating Forest changes in the State of Victoria. Specifically Eloise has volunteered for the LandFor CRCSI 4.104 in assisting attribution of vegetation disturbances such as bushfire and logging. She is currently a research assistant updating large datasets to classify vegetation changes over time within Victoria. Eloise studied a Bachelor of Science (Geospatial Science) (Honours) at RMIT University. Eloise is passionate about understanding the interactions within forest environments and exposure to change. This was highlighted in the completion of her final year major project course where she used Remote sensing applications to investigate spectral changes associated with defoliation on canopy caused by Koalas.

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