Mark Garvey

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/3″ css=”.vc_custom_1453342300079{padding-top: 15px !important;}”][vc_column_text]

Mark Garvey

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]

Using next generation spatial technologies to advance knowledge of grassland curing

Mark Garvey, Director, Red Bluff Spatial Pty Ltd


[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1453341977865{border-top-width: 1px !important;border-top-color: #28b7ff !important;border-top-style: solid !important;}”][vc_column][vc_column_text]

5 Things You Will Learn

  1. Gain knowledge relating to the estimation of grassland curing in Australia, the lead role played by Victoria’s Country Fire Authority and the expansion of their role in supplying information to all eastern states
  2. How to design, build and analyse a multi-tiered data capture program
  3. Several operational considerations when working with UAV derived imagery
  4. The incredible detail available from UAV derived imagery
  5. The nature of a true collaboration between academia and industry

Target Audience

Emergency management spatial teams, UAV and remote sensing practitioners, agricultural scientists

Presentation Overview

Outside of drought years when eucalypt forests are the main source of concern for fire agencies, grasslands provide fuel for a significant portion of bushfires in Australia.

A key factor in forecasting fire behaviour is the amount of moisture, (referred to as grassland curing) and the means of generating information on curing relies on satellite and human observers. In the summer of 2014-15 at two sites near Melbourne, the Country Fire Authority (CFA) and RISER (a multi-sponsored research group centred at the University of Melbourne), established the viability of using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) to provide baseline information on grassland curing. The platform captured extremely high resolution colour and infra-red images (3.5 cm pixels) which were converted into a series of curing related vegetation indices. The data was captured in conjunction with a number of other sensing platforms including fixed video and hand-held cameras.

CFA, as the lead agency in producing grassland curing estimates, has become the provider of grassland of curing information across eastern Australia and is expanding it’s coverage into SA, Tas, NSW and Qld. CFA have noted that in lightly treed exposed soil landscapes there is a tendency to under estimate regrowth after summer rainfall events which in turn affects curing information.

As a follow up project CFA and RISER agreed to collaborate in collecting a second series of images and field data, this time in the Mallee region of Victoria. It is anticipated that this next phase will give detailed insight into the curing processes at work and potentially provide greater accuracy for CFA as it expands the geographic coverage of its curing estimates. This presentation will describe this unique collaboration which brings together expertise in emergency management, science and the latest spatial technologies.


In 2013, after 32 years working as a scientist and GIS leader at the Country Fire Authority, I started my own company Red Bluff Spatial to coach and mentor spatial teams in crisis management. Career achievements include the introduction of spatial technologies at a major fire service and the founding Victorian and Australian emergency management spatial information groups (EMSINA) where I was inaugural Chair.

From an operational perspective I responded to and led spatial teams at multiple major emergencies including fires and floods, and reviewed the spatial teams and spatial systems used in New York after 9/11. I was an expert witness at Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission into the Black Saturday disaster.

I recently re-joined CFA as a Volunteer Mapping Officer and have responded to several recent local incidents.

I have won Spatial Industry awards (10) for in-house and collaborative spatial software applications and projects, including the 2015 Victorian Government Spatial Excellence Awards as a team member on the RISER project where I have been working for the past year. On Australia Day, 1999, I was awarded the Australian Fire Service Medal.