Departmental Reseach

Research in the department is currently being conducted on two different levels:

The first is within funded research projects, and secondly in areas of interest of specific staff members (topics may fall under the research projects listed below).

1. Local and International research projects in which the department is also involved:

  • Development of a national forest monitoring program for Namibia (SASSCAL Tasks 33)
  • More information on the entire SASSCAL project can be found on this link: http://www.sasscal.org/
  • The use of UAV’s for high resolution & precision land surveying and mapping.
  • The development of atmospheric correction models for remote sensing (under the Sea-Earth-Air Linkages for Southern Africa umbrella). 
  • Co-designing conservational technologies for Iona-Skeleton Coast TFCA (Angola -Namibia)
  • Developing capacity for evaluating livestock and rangeland resilience to climate variability

2. Department of Geospatial Science and Technology current research interests

Below find a list of topics and areas of interest that staff within the department are currently engaged in (Semester 1 2018).  These topic lists will be updated every semester!  Some of these topics may be linked to funded projects (so potential funding available), but that is not guaranteed.  Please approach the relevant researchers (contact details on their personal webpages) to discuss these potential topics with them and from this develop a concept note for acceptance of your research topic. 

To ensure efficiency of research within our department we are steering away from students coming with individual topics, if however you have a specific topic (and allocated funding) already identified and you wish to find a supervisor for this topic please look at the profiles of the researchers and find the one that fits closest to your area of interest and then organize to meet with them and discuss your proposed research topic with them.  We cannot guarantee that we will be able to support you in your proposed research!


Miguel Orti | Personal Page

Broadly am interested in topics which involve spatial/geostatistical and statistical analysis.  The current potential research topics available include:   

  • Geostatistical Analysis of Rainfall distribution in Namibia: Modelling Drought and Flood frequency through the combination of Homogeneous Point process and Inhomogeneous point processes. Spatial and temporal point processes are modelled using Poisson distribution based stochastic models to develop prediction methods of extreme rainfall events. Development of GUI or APP to get probability of having a drought or flood in any area entering predefined parameters.
  • Gully erosion monitoring in Namibia: In collaboration with Kaleb in this research topic we have multiple potential topics which include exploring how remote sensing can be used to identify gullies, secondly the evolution of gully heads, and then the use of remote sensing and field validation for investigating soil moisture gradients around gullies and finally conducting time series analysis (perimeter and soil loss) associated with gullies.

Sebastian Mukumbira | Personal Page

Broadly am interested in investigating how GIS and spatial analysis can be used to support the field of crime mapping and modelling in Namibia.  Similar to Carlos (whom approaches from a remote sensing perspective) am interested in the integration of GIS technologies for the development of different web mapping services.   


Carlos de Wassiege | Personal Page

Broadly am interested in the development of mobile applications (android and iOS) which incorporate the use of GIS technologies in the applications, in addition the integration of on-line services into the information systems of relevant institutions.  From a remote sensing perspective the development of time series analysis tools and information extraction from image data. 


Klaus Wieder | Personal Page

Broadly interested in Telmatics, Numerics, Graph Theory and Mathematical computation and optimisation.  Current research topics which I have available include:

  • Continuous set coverings: In a 1987 Publication we showed that continuous set covering problems are quasi-differentiable and, therefore, could be solved with a steepest decent method as suggested by V F Demyanov and A M Rubinov in 1986. One of the steps in the suggested algorithm was to compute Voronoi sets for a given number of points in a plane. In 1991, an efficient algorithm for the implementation was published in by K Wong and HA Müller. We want to use the later algorithm to implement this algorithm to implement an algorithm to efficiently solve set covering problem.  This research work would be done in collaboration with the KIT in Germany (Prof Dr D Pallaschke).
  •  Computation theory: The derivation of python scripts to demonstrate the use of Deterministic and Non-Deterministic Finite State Machines (DFA and NFA, respectively).  This research work would be incorporated in a book to support teaching of these topics.
  • Evaluation and analysis of data collected from mobile devices (GPS and acceleration data) to investigate whether such data can be used to evaluate driving behaviour and road quality.  This work is done in collaboration with and supported by the CoW Transport department, Rental car fleets, NCRST and the NUST fleet.
  • Map matching: In all projects, where GPS data is collected from mobile devices, GPS positions need to be matched to a road network, which is given as a Digraph and obtained from Open Street Maps (OSM). There have been several algorithms suggested to efficiently map the GPS data to a road network. However, for the NCRST project we collected around 700,000,000 records that need to be matched, which requires proper data handling and very efficient algorithms to process the data. The tools are available but still need to be applied and tested.

Nicky Knox | Personal Page

Broadly interested in using remote sensing and spatial analysis to study environmental systems, in particular focussing on vegetation and time series analysis of vegetation change in different systems.  Response of animals to their environment is also incorporated within this broad topic.  Improving the quality of environmental remote sensing products produced to be used by interested stakeholders in Namibia forms an important foundation to the area of research I work on.  Specific topics that are currently available for students to get involved with are listed below:

  • Animal movement and spatial distribution studies in relation to environmental parameters.  This research area will encompass different topics either studying wildlife, livestock or their interaction with one another. 
  • Study of woody structure of the dry woodlands of Namibia using remote sensing technology.  The two principal areas that will be focused on include:  Topics using multi-angular imagery to study changes in woody cover structure.  This will be at regional scale using medium-low resolution imagery, would enable the study of longer term changes to woodland structure.  The second aspect to be investigated is the use of high resolution imagery (UAV) with its potential 3D by-products to examine at small scale not only deforestration but selective harvesting.  Is it possible through the use of the UAV 3D products to track selective harvesting within the dry woodlands.  This combination of study to not only consider the change in structure, but the identification of species selection for selective harvesting.
  • High performance computing for aerial image processing within the Skeleton Coast for auto-detection and mapping of wildlife, and characteristic/diagnostic plant species. 

Kaleb Negussie | Personal Page

Broadly interested in using remote sensing and GIS technologies to support disaster risk management.  In addition am starting to investigate the use of RADAR and LiDAR technologies for multiple purposes.  Specific areas of interest in which there may be potential research topics include:

  • Digital terrain modelling to support multiple purposes such as hydrological mapping (for flood mapping), and together with Miguel incorporating DTM and RADAR/LiDAR technologies for gully erosion
  • Remote sensing for support of drought and/or fire risk management support
  • Together with Miguel looking at long term rainfall patterns across Namibia
  • LiDAR and RADAR topics to support disaster of risk management 

Moreblessings Shoko (joining department from 2nd Semester 2018).  Should you be interested in her topics please contact N. Knox so that her details can be provided to you.

Broadly interested in the applications of automated photogrammetric techniques and remote sensing technologies in built environment, boundary detection and detection often for land administration and land related management. The novel use of unmanned aerial vehicles and its imagery in developing sustainable solutions to everyday problems as well as applications of LiDAR in data collection processing are a growing interest area. Specific areas of interest in which there may be potential research topics include:

  • Automated feature extraction from high resolution image and LiDAR data
  • Applying imagery from unmanned aerial platforms to sustainable development solutions e.g monitoring international boundaries, vulnerable society mitigations and disaster detection
  • Digital terrain modelling of urban and built environments for engineering and geo-visualisation work
  • Image based detection and monitoring of urban sprawl and informal dwellings
  • Organically inspired approaches for image based feature extraction
  • Three dimensional modelling of cities and indoor mapping

Joseph Lewis | Personal Page

Currently focused on research on the use of Small Format Aerial Photography (SFAP) for mapping of informal settlements, focussing mainly on issues of geometric accuracy and quality control. Potential research projects in which students could focus their research include the following:

  • Geometric accuracy and usability of SFAP for planning and management of informal settlements.
  • Use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) as a platform for SFAP, mainly for large scale orthophoto mapping of informal settlements.
  • Error analysis, geometric quality control, metadata and quality standards for points clouds, orthophotos, digital terrain models, or any other geometric derivatives based on SFAP. The main aim of this is to facilitate the use of SFAP for cadastral- and precise surveying applications.
  • Use of SFAP for 3D modelling and analysis of structures, land forms and vegetation, including earth surface and vegetation morphodynamics, as well as mining, architectural and engineering applications.
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