GIS pioneer tackles Daly River troubles 

Farha with her award for Best Presentation.

A woman who came to the Northern Territory after a chance meeting in Pakistan with an Australian academic is gaining an international reputation for her research work based in the Daly River.

Farha Sattar is undertaking a PhD at Charles Darwin University in which she is analysing gully erosion in the Daly River catchment. And she is receiving major awards for her work.

Farha recently returned from the 10th International Multidisciplinary Scientific Geo-Conference held in Bulgaria, where she took the award for Best Presentation and beat 350 other scientific papers.

Farha and husband Muhammad, also a PhD candidate with CDU, have become known as the pioneers of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) education in Pakistan after the pair identified a gap in the market and built the first Centre for Postgraduate Studies in GIS.

A chance meeting in Pakistan in 2004 with CDU Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and International Professor Bob Wasson led to Farha undertaking her doctorate in spatial and temporal analysis of gully erosion in the Daly River catchment.

In 2008, Farha won the Best Student Presentation award in the 14th Australian Remote Sensing and Photogrammetric Conference held in Darwin for her research paper entitled “Identification and mapping of alluvial gullies using remote sensing in sub-catchment of the Daly Basin”.

Farha said she believed that gullies were one of the major sediment contributors to soil erosion.

“My research focuses on the spatial and temporal analysis of gully erosion in the Daly river catchment using remote sensing and GIS based techniques,” she said.

“The underlying gullies formation factors such as land use/land cover changes, climatic factors, geomorphic, lithologic, and topographic conditions will be identified and analysed in a detailed manner.”

Farha’s research is considered integral for water resources management across the world.