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The development of methods for representation and reasoning over Maori knowledge and worldviews relating to land

About This PhD Project

Project Description

We have an exciting PhD opportunity within the Massey Geoinformatics Collaboratory at Massey University, in Auckland, New Zealand, working with Dr Kristin Stock and Professor Hans Guesgen in the area of representation and reasoning of Maori knowledge about land.

The Massey Geoinformatics Collaboratory is a network of researchers and postgraduate students across three different campuses and several different departments of the University, each conducting research in different aspects of geoinformatics/GIS/geospatial science. Prominent application areas include agriculture, ecology, geomorphology and disaster management; with research themes focussing on semantics; uncertainty; spatial ecology and UAVs.

The scholarships will provide a stipend of NZ$25,000 per annum, and cover tuition fees for the student (whether national or international).

The project will focus on the development of methods for representation and reasoning over Maori knowledge and worldviews relating to land, in order to support the development of methods for visualisation of Maori knowledge, through geographic information systems (GIS) as well as other data outputs. Maori are the indigenous people of New Zealand, and current methods for representing knowledge about land predominantly adopt western worldviews, being primarily quantitative and based on the characteristics of the physical environment. In contrast, Maori worldviews incorporate stories, oral histories, songs and art works in the representation of knowledge about land, and are based on different underlying values. This PhD is part of a larger project entitled He Tatai Whenua: Developing a Maori Land Classification.

Methods such as ontologies, fuzzy logic, probabilistic logic and qualitative spatial reasoning will be explored as a basis for the modelling of Maori knowledge, and the student will be required to adopt innovative approaches to bridging the gap between western knowledge and traditional conceptualisations about land.

We are looking for a student with a strong Masters degree in computer science, mathematics or a related discipline. Experience with geographic data, knowledge representation and reasoning and/or natural language processing (NLP) would be an advantage. In addition, due to the diverse nature of the different aspects of the project, we are looking for a student who is willing and able to develop skills and knowledge in new areas.

Applicants should also have:
• an excellent academic record
• eligibility to enter the Massey University PhD programme (copy and paste the URL into your browser to see if you are eligible -
• an interest in geoinformatics/ geospatial science
• strong programming skills
• ability and willingness to self-manage
• ability and willingness to work in a team environment
• excellent organisational and communication skills.

To apply, please press the 'apply now' button to complete the application form and attach:

• your CV
• academic transcripts for your tertiary study (undergraduate and postgraduate) and
• a letter providing evidence of your ability to meet the attributes listed above.

Closing date: 20 December 2018

Reference number: PhDGKR-18CA

• For further information and to apply online, visit:

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