Em Professor Trinder has had a long and distinguished career in research, teaching and senior management at UNSW, and in the leadership of professional societies in Australia and globally.


One of our School’s first surveying graduates, John graduated in 1963 with a BSurv (Hons). This was followed by a MSc at ITC in The Netherlands, and PhD from UNSW. He taught at the School of Surveying and Geospatial Engineering (now part of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering) at UNSW from 1965 to 1999, progressing to the position of Professor in 1991 and Head of School from 1990-1999. 

John’s teaching and research activities at UNSW spanned more than 50 years, specializing in a range of topics in photogrammetry, remote sensing and spatial sciences. A dedicated teacher and supervisor, he taught his last class in 2019.  He published more than 200 scientific papers in journals and conference proceedings and received several awards with the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing for research papers published in their journal, Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing

As an academic, Professor Trinder has provided leadership and inspiration to hundreds of undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD students who, in turn, contribute to the surveying and geospatial engineering profession in Australia, in Asia, and around the world.

Professor Trinder has made significant contributions to research into the determination of digital elevation models and linear feature extraction from remotely sensed images, and has materially advanced the state of photogrammetric research and development in Australia and abroad.

He has also been deeply involved with professional development and the leadership of professional societies since the early 1970s, leading working groups and commissions in the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS) for 12 years from 1972 to 1984.

He held a number of executive positions in the Council of the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS), including Treasurer from 1992-1996, Secretary General from 1996-2000, President from 2000-2004, First Vice President from 2004-2008, and in 2008 he was elected as Honorary Member of ISPRS, a position held by only ten people worldwide.

He served as President of the national Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute (now the Geospatial Council of Australia) from 2013-2015.

He is a three times winner of the prestigious Grand Trophy of Talbert Abrams Award presented by the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing. Among his honours, he was made an Emeritus Professor of UNSW and an Honorary Professor of the internationally renowned Wuhan University, PR China. On 25 November 2004, the Spatial Sciences Institute of Australia presented Professor Trinder with its Award for Excellence and Eminence in Spatial Information (its highest award).

His UNSW and professional colleagues and all his many ex-students will be delighted to hear of this latest so well-deserved honour. Congratulations John!