Red X iconGreen tick iconYellow tick icon

The University of Otago Surveying School is recognised internationally for the quality of its graduates and its staff research. The BSurv degree is formally accredited by the Chartered Institute of Civil Engineering Surveyors in the United Kingdom. Graduates have reciprocal rights with the Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute in Australia, and are recognised by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors in the United Kingdom.

Graduates can become members of the New Zealand Institute of Surveyors, and after meeting appropriate post-graduation requirements can become a licensed cadastral surveyor in New Zealand – a qualification that is recognised world-wide. Our research is linked strongly to the School's themes and places the School at the forefront of international measurement and spatial science research.

People and resources

There are twenty academic staff ranging from Professional Practice Fellow / lecturer to full professor. Teaching and research skills and interests include:

  • GIS
  • Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) and its use for precise cm-level positioning, among many other applications.
  • Spatial databases and web mapping
  • Development of free and open source software (FOSS) for land registry and cadastral applications
  • Engineering visualisation
  • Remote sensing and photogrammetry
  • Study of the earth deformation
  • Ice-ocean interaction
  • Land rights and tenure issues especially pertaining to Pacific and Māori land
  • Hydrographic surveying
  • Education, recognition and regulation of professional surveyors.

Find out more about key research areas in the department.

The seven support staff include administration, computing support and technical officers. Teaching and research facilities include two computing laboratories that support surveying software (e.g. surveying and engineering, computer aided drafting (CAD), GPS processing) and spatial software (e.g. GIS, Remote Sensing and Hydrographic Surveying).

The School also manages several campus-wide software licenses (Esri ArcGIS suite, ERDAS, Caris) – that serve the needs of multiple departments. The School is housed in a building shared with Marine Science on the outer edge of the main campus in Dunedin.

Visit the Our People page for information and contact details for our staff.


The School teaches a full undergraduate programme in Surveying based on a mix of core (compulsory) and optional papers leading to BSc, BSurv or BAppSc. Undergraduate papers include both sole-taught and team-taught style approaches.

The School currently has approximately 15 MSc and PhD students from numerous countries including New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the United States, Indonesia, Iran, China and Fiji. The first-year undergraduate intake is approximately 100 students, 65 of whom can be admitted at the end of first year to the professional BSurv degree. Others remain in the School and take one of the two Surveying BSc degrees (BSc (LDPD), BSc (SURM) or a BAppSci (GIS).

View more information about qualifications offered by the School.


Close relationships are maintained in teaching and research with other Departments including Geology, Geography, Anthropology, Marine Science, Botany and Zoology. We contribute to several University-designated interdisciplinary research including Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, and the Spatial Ecology Research Facility.

External collaborative research projects involve the Land Information New Zealand, GNS Science and several overseas universities and research organisations and groups. We use the land and surrounding coastal and marine environments of New Zealand as a laboratory in which to explore all aspects of the field of surveying and spatial science.

Back to top