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Spatial Ecology Research Laboratory (SERF)

Spatial Ecology Research Facility of the School of Surveying 1The Spatial Ecology Research Facility (SERF) was set up in 2006 to enhance the ability of Otago ecologists, including staff and postgraduate students, to address research questions with a spatial dimension. The SERF provides support to the Ecology Research Group in particular, as well as researchers and research students from various departments.

The SERF lab is physically located in the School of Surveying Room G19 and takes the form of an office in which networked computers and specialized software enable the integration and analysis of spatial information derived from remote sensing imagery, aerial photographs, GPS and other geo-referenced field data.

Find out about the location of the SERF…

The SERF is supervised by Dr Pascal Sirguey. It is managed and maintained by the School of Surveying:

Meet Pascal Sirguey…

Meet Aubrey Miller...

Meet Kelly Gragg...


Spatial Ecology Research Facility of the School of Surveying 2The Spatial Software Laboratory is equipped with high performance hardware, including:

  • 4 high-spec PC workstations with quad-core Intel i7 processor, 32gb memory, SSD, 4gb+ Graphics card, dual monitors
  • FieldSpec Handheld Spectroradiometer (ASD), UV/VNIR (325-1075nm), with IBM thinkpad
  • Dedicated secure data storage
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The Spatial Software Laboratory has licenses for many leading software packages, including:

  • ESRI ArcGIS Desktop v10.5
  • ESRI ArcGIS Pro
  • ERDAS 2016
  • Trimble TBC, UAS Master, Realworks
  • PCI Geomatica
  • Definiens eCognition v5 & v8
  • Matlab
  • Standard Desktop Productivity Tools
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Basic training or on-call technical support is currently available in the SERF and provided by the School of Surveying staff.

Meet Aubrey Miller...

Meet Kelly Gragg...

More specific help on GIS/Remote Sensing/Spatial Analysis can be sought from our lecturers.

Meet Pascal Sirguey…

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Access and rules

User must be registered to use this facility. Software and equipment are provided as is. Long term use of SERF will require evidences of basic expertise in GIS (SURV papers, completion of ESRI courses, or others).

There is a scale of user charges in order to accrue funds for SERF to cover depreciation, servicing and repair costs. Base fees can range from $0 to $1000+ per annum, depending on the scale of the project and access to funding by users.

Registering to the SERF

Registering to the SERF is easy. Just fill out the registering form and return to Aubrey Miller (

Download the registration form [DOC format, 30KB].

Once registered, an access key must be obtained from the School secretary ($20 deposit).

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Booking a resource at the SERF

Hardware and some selected software resources of the SERF must be booked before use.

A Google shared calendar has been implemented where users can easily manage their booking of SERF resources from any computer connected to the internet.