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Dr Richard Mather DPhil(Oxon), MSc(Oxon), MSc (UCNW), BSc(Hons)

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Professional experience

2005-ongoing: Australian Coal Association Research Program and other funded projects to monitor re-vegetation of open-cast coal spoil using digital colour infra-red (CIR) aerial-photography.

1996-2001: Consultancy inputs to UK Government Department for International Development and the European Union to develop aerial-photography based digital-"photomapping" services for resource management in Nepal. Responsible for establishing research links and developing training programs between forestry centres in UK and Nepal.

1997-1998: Provision of vegetation maps for Guyana (1997-8). DFID-funded partnership with Dept. Zoology, University of Oxford. Forest-type maps for Guyana using conventional image-processing techniques and time-series Fourier-transformation to capture seasonality.

1994-1996: Evaluating forest condition: GIS-based studies funded by the European Commission and the Forestry Commission to investigate the impacts of pollution on forest condition in the United Kingdom and Europe. Acacia monitoring in drylands: funded by the Overseas Development Administration. GIS and aerial-image processing of changes in dryland Acacia tortilis in N Kenya.

1992-93: Funded by the European Commission and Forestry Commission to conduct GIS-based investigations of impacts of meteorological factors, soil status, sulphur deposition, ozone exposure (critical loads) on forest condition in the United Kingdom and report findings to the EU and United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.

1988-91: EC funded project to investigate eco-physiological and environmental factors affecting timber quality in native oak species. Partners in Germany, France and the Netherlands.

Various times: Short consultancy inputs on forest condition, GIS, remote sensing (Germany, Romania, Nepal) and international courses for forestry professional development (e.g. research methods, GIS applications to biodiversity).

Scholarly interests

Software engineering and ICT for geospatial and earth observation sciences; Research of learning environment technologies.


Dr. Richard Mather holds postgraduate qualifications in software engineering (MSc, Oxon) and in environmental sciences (DPhil, Oxon; MSC, UCNW). His research concerns ‘geospatial’ ICT for environmental monitoring from earth-observation satellites and aerial imagery. Past projects (funded by UK, EU, KTP, overseas development and industry bodies) include the application of GIS and earth-observation technologies to: investigate forest condition in Europe; map vegetation in Guyana; monitor tree cover in Kenya; and to provide ‘photomap’ services to community forestry in Nepal. Ongoing research is supported by coal mining interests. This involves evaluation of image classification techniques and the development of software to automate aspects of vegetation monitoring using satellite and aerial imagery. In 2010, in association with this work, he was awarded The Institution of Analysts and Programmers Prize for Software Engineering. These project outputs also provide a rich source of case studies for undergraduate and postgraduate teaching.

Selected publications

Mather RA (2011) Utilisation of High Resolution Infrared Imagery for the Enhanced Monitoring of Revegetation in Open-Cut Mine Site Rehabilitation. Final Report to ACARP Project C14055.

Mather RA (2010) Design Extensibility and Potential for further developing an Engine and XML Structure for executing and reporting Geo-referenced Image Workflows. Open Source GIS 2010, University of Nottingham, UK.

Lin X, Chen H, Mather RA, Fletcher H (2009) Adaptive assessment - a practice of classification on small-size training sets, SITE 2009, Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education International Conference, Charleston SC, USA, 2-6 March 2009.

Mather RA (2009) The development of a workflow-control application and XML data-structure to process geographically referenced imagery (Parts 1-3).  Proceedings of the 6th International Symposium on Location Based Services & TeleCartography held at the University of Nottingham, UK.

Stepanyan K, Mather RA, Hamilton-Jones C, Lusuardi C (2009) Avoiding pitfalls of peer assessment, The 9th IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies, 15-17 July 2009, Riga, Latvia.

Stepanyan K, Mather RA, Payne JS (2007) Awareness of the capabilities and use of social software attributes within and outside the educational context: moving towards collaborative learning with Web 2.0, ICL 2007: Interactive Computer Aided Learning, Government, Healthcare and Higher Education, 26-28 September, Villach, Austria.

Mather RA (2000) Using photomaps to support participatory processes of community forestry in the middle hills of Nepal., Mountain Research and Development, 20(2), 154-161.

Mather RA (2000) Participatory photo-mapping in Nepal, In:  Price MF and N Butt (eds) Forests in Sustainable Mountain Development, IUFRO Research Series 5, CAB International.

Abrudan IV, Mather RA (1999) The influence of site factors on the composition and structure of semi-natural mixed-species stands of beech (Fagus sylvatica) silver fir (Abies alba) and Norway spruce (Picea abies) in the Upper Draganul Watershed of North-West Romania, Forestry, 72(2), 87-93.

Mather RA, Moss JMS (1998) The use of geographical information systems and image processing techniques for the analysis of aerial photographs and vegetation survey data in African dry-woodland research, Oxford Forestry Institute - Occasional Papers, 51, 32pp, Report and case study materials in partial fulfilment of ODA research programme project No. R5987.

Mather RA, De Boer M, Gurung M, Roche N (1998) Aerial Photographs And "Photo-Maps" For Community Forestry, ODI Rural Development Forestry Network Paper, 23e, 13-22.

Mather RA, Freer-Smith P H, Savill P (1995) Analysis of the changes in forest condition in Great Britain 1989 to 1992, Forestry Commission Bulletin 116.  64pp.

Mather RA (1995) The application of remote sensing and geographical information systems to hill system research in Nepal, A report to the Forest Research Programme of the Overseas development Administration.

Mather RA and Savill P (1994) Commercial consequences of shake in oak to UK growers and hardwood markets, Forestry, 67 No 2, 119-131.

Mather RA, Kanowski PJ and Savill P (1993) Genetic determinants of shake in oak (Quercus robur L. and Q. petraea Liebl.), Annales des Sciences Forestieres, 50 (supplement 1), 395-398.

Kanowski PJ, Mather RA, Savill P (1991) Genetic control of oak shake, Silvae genetica, 40, 166-168

Savill P, Mather RA (1990) A possible indicator of shake in oak: Relationship between flushing dates and vessel sizes, Forestry, 63 No 4, 355-362.