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Profiles « Australia Disaster Management Program

Prof Abbas Rajabifard

ADMP Organisation Director and Academic Leader; Head, Department of Infrastructure Engineering; Director, Centre for SDIs and Land Administration, The University of Melbourne

Prof Abbas Rajabifard is Head of Department of Infrastructure Engineering at The University of Melbourne. He is also Director of the Centre for Spatial Data Infrastructures & Land Administration (CSDILA).

Prof Rajabifard is a member of Academic Board. He was President of the GSDI Association (2009-2012), Vice Chair of Working Group 3 of the United Nations supported Permanent Committee on GIS Infrastructure for Asia and the Pacific (PCGIAP), is a member of ICA-Spatial Data Standard Commission, and is a member of Victorian Spatial Council.

He has been an Executive Board member and national representative to the PCGIAP (1994-1998), member of International Steering Committee for Global Mapping Project (1997-2001) and a member of the UN-ESCAP Group of Experts to develop Guidelines on GIS Standardisation for Asia-Pacific (1995). Prof Rajabifard has active research in the areas of SDI, Land Administration and land management, spatial enablement, spatial enabled government and societies, disaster management, 3D platforms and virtual jurisdictions. He had published broadly on SDI, land administration, GIS and spatial data management.

In recent years he has focused more on the design and development of SDIs in different jurisdictions including sustainable and smart cities. He provide academic and research leadership in the Centre for SDIs and Land Administration; ).

Prof Rajabifard has over 15 years of teaching experience in different areas of the spatial data disciplines and in particular SDI, GIS, land administration, spatial enablement and recently in the area of sustainable infrastructure systems.

He has supervised many successful PhD and Masters students and has assessed PhD and MSc thesis internationally. He is a member of editorial board of different international journals.

In addition to his personal research, a key focus of his effort has been to build the research capacity across different disciplines. In this area, he has successfully managed and coordinated different research projects including ARC, DEST, Australian Commonwealth government funding, Australian CRC-SI (Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information) and collaborative research with European funding.

He has been also consulted widely on SDI, land administration, GIS applications and spatial data management to many national government agencies and different ministries and international organisations.

Professor Abbas Rajabifard, was awarded the Global Spatial Data Infrastructure Association’s (GSDI) President’s Medal at the 2012 Global Spatial Conference in Quebec City, Canada in recognition of his contribution to GSDI and in particular, his chairmanship from 2009-2012.

During his chairmanship, Professor Rajabifard headed two global spatial conferences, contributed to the establishment of the United Nations Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) initiative, facilitated closer collaboration between international spatial industry-related organisations, chaired three Global SDI World Conference refereed publication channels and published two research books.


Dr Jürg von Känel

ADMP Platform Architect; Research Manager, IBM Research – Australia Laboratory.

Dr. Jürg von Känel is the senior manager of the IBM Research – Australia lab in Melbourne having relocated in June 2011 from IBM’s TJ Watson Research Lab in New York to help establish the new laboratory.

Dr. von Känel joined IBM in 1985 in Zürich, Switzerland. In 1991, he moved to the IBM TJ Watson Research Center in the US having had a number of senior research roles including managing the relationship between IBM Research and the financial services industries. In 2004, he initiated an Enterprise Risk & Compliance Framework focused primarily on the financial industry which led to Treasury & Risk magazine listing him as one of the 100 most influential people in finance in 2006.

Dr. von Känel studied math and computer science at ETH Zürich and holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science (1991).

In his scarce spare time, Dr. von Känel and his wife invent, design and make mechanical puzzles (http://www.woodpuzzles.com).