The Team

Academic staff

Associate Professor Arko Lucieer


Founder, Team Leader, and UAV Controller
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I am the founder and team leader of the TerraLuma research group. I am an Associate Professor in Remote Sensing. My expertise is in environmental remote sensing focusing on the analysis of satellite and airborne imagery, in particular image texture measures, classification, object-based image analysis, change detection, and terrain analysis techniques. Since 2009, my research focus has shifted to the use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) for environmental remote sensing and aerial surveying applications. I lead the TerraLuma research group and I am involved in a wide range of UAS remote sensing projects. For more information about my research projects and publications please visit my personal webpage: or UTAS profile:



 Dr Darren Turner


Chief Controller, Maintenance Controller, UAV engineer, and Postdoctoral Fellow
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With 25 years of aero-modelling experience, Model Aeronautical Association of Australia (MAAA) instructor ratings for both fixed and rotary wings, and Private Pilots License (PPL) and an UAV controllers certificate my primary roll on the Terraluma team is to fly and maintain our UAS. In 2015 I graduated  with a PhD (2010 – 2015) looking at the development of a UAS for ultra high resolution remote sensing. In particular, I have developed algorithms to process the vast amount of imagery collected by our UAS. For example techniques to automatically georectify and mosaic imagery without the need for ground control points. I am also researching the applicability of using UAS to monitor landslide dynamics by using modern Structure from Motion (SfM) image processing algorithms to recreate the landslide in 3D from a series of highly overlapping photographs.



Dr Guy Williams

guy_williamsARC Future Fellow at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS), UAV Controller

I am a polar oceanographer specialising in autonomous observations of Antarctica ocean/sea ice interactions, working in the Oceans and Cryosphere program at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies and in the Sea Ice Processes and Change project at the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre. It has taken 20 years to come full circle from the completion of an Aeronautical Engineering degree at the University of Sydney in 1995 to the uptake of Unmanned Aerial Systems in ship-based observations of floe-size distribution and surface topography of Antarctic sea ice. My current research goal is to combine UAS with autonomous underwater vehicles for the complete mapping of both sea ice draft and surface structure. After successful polar UAS operations in the Antarctic (April 2015), the Arctic (October 2015) and the Sea of Okhotsk (March 2016), I am now working towards further ship-based UAS operations in the Ross Sea, Antarctica in 2017 with the US Antarctic Program. I am a certified UAV controller for both multi-rotor and fixed-wing UAS with the TerraLuma group.


Dr Juliane Bendig


Adjunct Researcher and Postdoctoral Fellow (2016 – 2018)
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I am a qualified geographer from Cologne, Germany and I specialise in GIS and remote sensing. During my PhD (2011-2015) I started operating small multirotor UAVs for precision agriculture applications. I tried optical, multispectral, hyperspectral, and thermal sensors. Finally, I concentrated on optical imagery and structure from motion techniques to measure plant height and estimate biomass from crop surface models (CSMs). My study objects were barley, wheat, rice and sugar beet. I am interested in linking plant height, structure, and in-field variability to important crop parameters such as biomass, nitrogen status, and photosynthesis. I joined the TerraLuma group in 2016 to explore sun-induced chlorophyll fluorescence (SIF) from a UAV. My goal is to understand the various factors influencing the fluorescence signal on a UAV such as geolocation, scale, sun angle, and crop structure.



Dr Steve Harwin


Drone Pilot and Research Fellow
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After graduating from a B.Surv (Comp. Sci.) in 1997, I completed an MSc (Research) in change detection and visualisation in 1999. I recently completed a PhD in Spatial Science focusing on 3D mapping with drones and I am currently researching drone mapping applications for mapping change focusing on fine scale landform change monitoring with drones, photogrammetry, LiDAR and remote sensing. I am a licensed drone pilot (multi-rotor and fixed wing) and I have over ten years’ experience as a GIS, remote sensing and web mapping specialist and spatial software engineer. I have a strong interest in commercialisation, with a Graduate Certificate in Research Commercialisation completed in 2013 and successful stint at Stanford Ignite (formally the Stanford GSB Summer Institute of Entrepreneurship) in 2011. I currently split my time between commercial drone mapping, online course development and research (tasks ranging from developing and producing video training content, systems integration programming and web mapping development (


 Dr Zbyněk Malenovský


Research Fellow (2012 – 2015) and Adjunct Researcher (2015 – present)

The centre point of my research is the interaction of vegetation with light (optical wavelengths). Starting from leaf up to vegetation canopy, I am interested in assessing quantitative bio-chemical/physical parameters (e.g. photosynthetically active pigments) and eco-physiological processes (photosynthesis) of plants using the ground, airborne, and space borne imaging spectroscopy coupled with the light radiative transfer modelling. Working at NASA GSFC (Greenbelt), I collaborate with TerraLuma on investigating physiological responses of Antarctic moss ecosystems to rapid environmental changes and developing plant chlorophyll fluorescence remote sensing methods for optical sensors on-board of Unmanned Aircraft Systems. For more information about my science and publications please visit




Bechu KV Yadav

bechuPhD Candidate (2015 – present)

After having graduated with M. Sc. Forestry from the Institute of Forestry, Pokhara, and M. A. Sociology from Trichandra Multiple Campus, Kathmadu, Tribhuvan University, Nepal, I studied M. Tech. in Remote Sensing and GIS (2012-2014) at the Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in Asia and the Pacific (affiliated to United Nations) in collaboration with Andhra University, India. The research aim of my M. Tech. thesis was to assess aboveground carbon stock using airborne LiDAR and very high resolution satellite imagery. I have 18 years of working experience in the fields of forestry at the Department of Forests, Government of Nepal. My ongoing PhD research aims to develop an approach to map mature wet sclerophyll and mixed eucalypt forest structure and species composition exploiting multi-source remote sensing data (airborne LiDAR point clouds and airborne hyperspectral imagery for the core study site; and spaceborne LiDAR and medium resolution satellite imagery to cover large geographical areas). This study should result in an objective and repeatable approach to forest biodiversity mapping and monitoring at local to regional scales, and contribute to sustainable management of forest biodiversity.

Bethany Melville

bethany_melvillePhD Candidate (2012 – present)

In 2012 I completed my Honours Bachelor of Science in Geography at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. My Honours’ research aimed to quantify historical change in treed and untried urban greenspaces using aerial photography captured over a forty year period. In addition to my HBSc, I completed a certificate in Mapping Sciences, focusing on remote sensing, GIS, and cartographic design. In mid-2012 I started my PhD at the University of Tasmania, focusing on object-based image analysis techniques for vegetation mapping. My PhD thesis aims to produce a remotely sensed methodology for identifying and mapping endangered grassland communities found in the Tasmanian Midlands. The approach uses multiple spatial scales of analysis, ranging from coarse resolution satellite data to ultra-high resolution UAV data. I am most interested in the use of remote sensing and UAVs for environmental applications. Areas of interest include community distribution modelling, vegetation mapping, community monitoring and assessment, habitat fragmentation, and identification of priority sites for future conservation.


Deepak Gautam


PhD Candidate (2014 – present)
Website /

In 2009, I completed B.Eng degree with a project on design, fabrication and flight test of a fixed wing Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). In 2013, I graduated with a MS degree focusing on control and path planning of a UAS. After working for over a year on wing parts manufacturing of Boeing 787 Dreamliner, I joined Terraluma research group in 2014 to work on airLIFT project whose goal is remote sensing of active chlorophyll fluorescence in plant canopy using a UAS-borne spectrometer. Working on geometry aspect of the project, my research focus is on precise geolocation determination of the point measuring spectrometer’s ground footprint. This includes identification of suitable GNSS/IMU, machine vision and data fusion technique for robust position and orientation estimation of the spectrometer’s reference point, multi-sensor (GNSS, IMU, Machine vision camera, Spectrometer) integration, synchronisation, and processing algorithm to georeference the spectral data.



 Faheem Iqbal

PhD Candidate (2014 – present)
Website /

I completed my  in agricultural engineering in 2006 focusing on precision agriculture and completed MS degree in Remote Sensing and GIS in 2008. My research interest is Utilising Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) for Precision Agriculture. In 2014 I started PhD working within TerraLuma research group. The main focus of my PhD is the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) based imagery to estimate poppy opium yield. This includes the development of methodology to study the variability of environmental factors affecting opium yield and devising mechanism for achieving maximum possible yield. Prior to joining UTAS I have  been involved in a number of GIS and remote sensing based projects for natural resource management in the capacity of Scientific Officer at Global Change Impact Studies Center Pakistan and as a Lecturer at National University of Science and Technology, Pakistan. PhD project.




Gustavo Togeiro de Alckmin


PhD Candidate (2016 – present)

I majored in Agriculture at the College of Agriculture “Luiz de Queiroz” of the University of São Paulo and I hold a Msc. on Agricultural Systems for Local Development from the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid and Montpellier SupAgro. During my MSc, I was granted the opportunity to do my fieldwork, as a visiting scholar, at the Kansas State University researching the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and modified digital cameras for biomass estimation on grasslands. My current research topic is focused on the use of UAS and ultra-high spatial resolution imagery for pasture management. I am keen to explore a range of techniques in order to address day-to-day management decisions on forage-based livestock systems.  Coming from a long family line of agricultural producers, I am driven to make a strong impact and establish valuable collaborations with the agricultural sector. I am proud to be a member of TerraLuma and I will strive, in the years to come, to deliver high-level scientific outputs and actionable tools for dairy producers.


Iain Clarke

Turkey Gin ZuluPhD Candidate (2015 – present)

I was employed in IT in Australia and New Zealand (1980-1996), before running away to sea based in the Mediterranean (1996-2008). While living in Turkey I took up paragliding. One day a mountain jumped out in front of me and I found myself back in Hobart. After a couple of years of things not healing I enrolled at UTAS in 2010, studying a Bachelor of Computing. My elective subjects in the Spatial Sciences came to take over, and after graduating completed an Honours degree working in remote sensing with a UAV-borne thermal infrared sensor. I commenced my PhD in 2015, working with a hyperspectral line scanner. My project has a number of goals: solving problems with georeferencing imagery from a multi-rotor UAV-borne line scanner, and using imagery from the scanner to explore aspects of Pinot Noir grape quality. I have returned to flying paragliders.




Irfan Akhtar Iqbal

PhD Candidate (2015 – present)

After completing my Masters degree in Forestry from Pakistan Forest Institute, Peshawar, I did my postgraduation in Geo-information Science and Earth Observation (the Erasmus Mundus GEM Course 2008-2010). Since 2005, I am involved in the application of GIS and Remote Sensing in many projects, with a primary focus on the quantitative and qualitative assessment of forests. My PhD research aims to explore contemporary digital Aerial Photography (AP) as an alternative to Airborne Laser Scanning (ALS) to reduce the cost, time, labour and workplace risks associated with commercial forest inventory operations. Detailed and in-depth comparative analysis of the ALS and AP point clouds in this research will provide insights about their relationship with the field data. An overview of this research is given in the poster, which also won the Best Poster Award at the 9th Annual Graduate Research Conference (3-4 Sept., 2015) in Hobart, Australia.



Technical Staff

Richard Ballard

richard-terralumaDesign Engineer, Technical support

I graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours (Mechatronics) in mid-2016. Within the TerraLuma team, my role is to provide engineering skills that allow integration of sensors for remote sensing application on unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). My role involves design of electronic circuits, mechanical structures, and software and signal amalgamation. Since joining Terraluma in February 2015, I have worked on integration of LiDAR, hyperspectral, and spectroradiometer sensors, including GNSS and IMU devices and machine vision cameras. I have improved previous designs, by making the sensor mounting and integration more robust and modular. Specific tasks have included custom printed circuit boards, complex design and machining of parts to provide strength while taking weight and space requirements into consideration, and writing low-level hardware interfacing code.

Former members

Dr Luke Wallace

lukePhD Candidate (2010 – 2014)

I completed my Bachelors degree in Spatial Science with Honours in 2007 focusing on GIS, geodesy and geodetic GPS analyses. From 2007 I been involved in a number of GIS and remote sensing based projects in the role of research assistant/associate at the University of Tasmania. In this time I have also been involved in the development of a GIS based Statewide Bushfire Risk Assessment Model with the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife.  My cu main areas of interest were sensor integration and optimal combination for position and attitude determination and LiDAR remote sensing.  The main focus of my PhD was the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) LiDAR for the assessment of forest inventory. This included the development of a sensor package and processing algorithms to generate accurate point clouds and using this data to extract individual tree metrics and analyse change.



 Dr Josh Kelcey

PicPhD Candidate (2010 – 2014)

I am a graduate from the University of Tasmania with a Bachelor of Science with Honours. My primary research interests include remote sensing, plant ecology and bio-geography. In 2010 I commenced a Ph.D working within the TerraLuma research group, undertaking tasks within both the development and application of UAV based remote sensing platforms. Previously, I have successfully researched and applied suitable image-based multispectral sensor corrections and radiometric calibration techniques. My research was focused upon the development of multiscale analysis techniques within Tasmanian salt marsh communities. This multiscale development was focused particularly upon the identification of suitable scales for vegetation classification separation and linking these scales to biophysical characteristics.



Tony Veness

tonyPhD student and Senior Technical Officer (2010 – 2013)

I was involved in a PhD (2012-2013) researching the use of small VTOL UAVs as robust platforms for hyperspectral remote sensing. I have provided technical support to a wide variety of science programs over the last twenty years. Supporting scientific programs such as inland-Australia airborne geophysics, Antarctic continental shelf underwater photography and South Pacific seabed mapping has required me to spend many days either at sea or in the air.

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