Cooperation between Australian and Chinese researchers on satellite disaster monitoring technology has been listed as a priority by China's Ambassador to Australia during a visit to UNSW.

The Ambassador, His Excellency Mr Zhang Junsai, visited UNSW in February as researchers at the School of Surveying and Spatial Information Systems were working with the National Disaster Reduction Centre of China, the China Centre for Resource Satellite Data and Applications, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences on satellite monitoring of the Victorian bushfires.

Ambassador Zhang attended a meeting with UNSW Vice-Chancellor Professor Fred Hilmer, Pro Vice-Chancellor International Jennie Lang, Dean of Engineering Professor Graham Davies, NSW Chief Scientist Professor Mary O'Kane, NSW Surveyor-General Warwick Watkins, Cooperative Research Centres Association Chairman Michael Hartmann and Australia-China Council Chairman and former UNSW Vice-Chancellor, Emeritus Professor Mark Wainwright.

Associate Professor Linlin Ge, from the School of Surveying and Spatial Information Systems, made a presentation to the meeting of his work on joint Chinese-Australian satellite radar monitoring of the fire zones during the meeting.

The Chinese Embassy played a key role in gaining Associate Professor Ge and his team urgent access to Chinese satellite imagery of the Victorian bushfires. The images were provided to fire authorities following processing by the UNSW team and the work was reported in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Associate Professor Ge said the cooperation between Australian and Chinese satellite Earth observation groups showed the potential for future collaboration on rapid-response coverage of natural disasters. Last year UNSW researchers provided vital analysis of satellite images to Chinese authorities following the devastating Sichuan earthquake.

Ambassador Zhang welcomed the proposal for future collaboration.

"The Embassy will do all that we can to promote this kind of sharing in the future," he said.

"Beijing is very positive about this kind of cooperation - space is owned by all humanity, not by any particular country."

Media Contact: Peter Trute | 02 9385 1933 | 0410 271 826 |