School of Environment

Professor Mark Gahegan

Job title: Professor
Phone: 64 9 373 7599 ext 88061
Office: Rm 554, Human Sciences Building,10 Symonds Street, Auckland
Postal: School of Environment, The University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland


Education: BSc, University of Leeds, UK; PhD, Curtin University, Australia



I have worked as a delivery boy, fitness instructor, musician, and software engineer so geography seemed the next logical choice. My research interests are broad, covering most aspects of GIS, visualization, philosophy of science, semantics and pragmatics, e-science, representation of scientific knowledge, geocomputation, digital remote sensing, artificial intelligence tools, spatial analysis, Voronoi diagrams, spatial databases and algorithms, and spatial reasoning. This is because I can never sit still for too long and am easily distracted................Oh, yes, I've also dabbled in mineral potential mapping, epidemiology, habitat analysis, bio-informatics, e-learning and predicting land-cover change. While at Penn State University I was involved in a number of funded research projects, from ontology capture to spatial epidemiology, and details of which you can find here I also directed a new Professional Masters degree program in GIS, developed at the Dutton e-Education Institute at Penn State, and delivered through World Campus .

I teach courses on the technical side: geovisualization, remote sensing, geocomputation, spatial data structures and algorithms, new sensing technologies, GIS design and evaluation and so forth. While at Curtin University, in Australia, I helped to establish the first undergraduate degree program in GIS.


In whatever spare time is left over after family, work and trying to keep in shape, I play guitar in a local band.

Editorial board memberships

International Journal of GIScience (Editor Americas 2004-2007),
Annals of the Association of American Geographers,
Geographical Analysis,
Transactions in GIS,
Environment and Urban Systems,
Computers & Geosciences, Spatial Cognition and Computation,

Biographical Details

Mark was born into a poor farming family eking out an existence on the cold, bleak moorlands of Yorkshire, England. Bananas have never flourished well in this type of climate, and it was not long before Mark was sold off by his family to finance his mother's gin addiction. He was purchased by the local university labs, to be the subject of scientific experiments. Thus began his fascination for science, (and his addiction to smoking 200 cigars a day) which have remained with him ever since.

After playing the piano in a brothel for several years on leaving school, Mark gladly accepted a position as floor sweeper in the School of Computing Studies, at the University of Leeds, UK, where he worked with dedication for a number of years amid a cloud of cigar smoke. He was deported to Australia for 'Spitting On A Tuesday', which is still a capital offence throughout most of Europe.

Upon arrival in the Antipodes he adjusted to a life of hard labor during the day at the Department of Geographic Information Science, Curtin University, but still found the energy to study Australian Slang at night school. His progress, according to his teachers, was "very poor" since he only managed to learn to say "G'day" after several years of intensive effort. During his time in Australia he remained constantly amazed by the 'big yellow round hot thing' in the sky.

After serving just less than six years of his life sentence, Mark was released from the colonies (due to a clerical error) and boarded a ship bound for the New World, to seek fame, fortune and a cure for cigar addiction. In between auditioning for rock bands, panning for gold and attending the Betty Ford clinic he worked at The Pennsylvania State University, Department of Geography; where, after a freak (and almost fatal) accident involving a metal helmet, an industrial magnet, a javelin and a large clock dial, he was employed as a compass.

In late 2007, anticipating an immanent reversal in the Earth's magnetic field, he wisely returned to the southern hemisphere, where he believes his polarity and skill as a compass will shortly be in demand. Failing that, he plans to retool himself as a parking meter. In the meantime, he continues to make up ridiculous tales about his life for anyone idle enough to read them.

He is no longer certain as to where he is from, and even less certain about where he is going. His research interests are also very uncertain indeed, but they currently include the study of the habitat niche of the Highland Haggis the inappropriate or incorrect use of Geographic Information Systems, the mythical origins of GIScience and the use of geographers as resources in search procedures.


Most Recent Publications

Selected Publications

Gahegan, M., Agrawal, R. and DiBiase, D. (2007). Ontologies of pedagogy and geoscience to facilitate sharing and reuse of educational resources. International Journal of Digital Libraries.

Snow, D. R., Gahegan, M., Giles, C. L., Hirth, K. G., Milner, G. R. Mitra, P. and Wang, J. Z. (2006). Cybertools and Archaeology. Science, Vol. 311, 17 Feb, 2006, pp. 958-959.

Gahegan, M. and Pike, W. (2006). A situated representation of geographical information. Transactions in GIS, Vol 10, No, 5, pp. 727-749.

Brodaric, B., Gahegan, M. (2006). Representing Geoscientific Knowledge in Cyberinfrastructure: challenges, approaches and implementations. In: Sinha, A.K. (Ed.), GeoInformatics, Data to Knowledge, Geological Society of America Special Paper 397, pp. 1-20.

Guo, D. S and Gahegan, M (2006). Spatial Ordering and Encoding for Geographic Data Mining and Visualization, Journal of Intelligent Information Systems (in press).

Conley, J., Gahegan M and Macgill, J. (2005). A Genetic Approach to Detecting Clusters in Point Datasets. Geographical Analysis, Vol 37, No. 3, pp 286-314.

Pike W, Yarnal B, MacEachren A, Gahegan M, Yu C, (2005). Infrastructure for collaboration: Building the future for local environmental change, Environment, 47(2), 8-21, Jan 2005.

Guo, D., Gahegan, M., MacEachren, A. M., & Zhou, B. (2005), Multivariate Analysis and Geovisualization with an Integrated Geographic Knowledge Discovery Approach. Cartography and Geographic Information Science, 32(2), 113-132.

Ahlqvist, O and Gahegan, M., 2005, Probing the relationship between classification error and class similarity, Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing, Vol.71, No.12, pp.1365-1373.

MacEachren A. M., Gahegan M. and Pike W. (2004), "Geovisualization for constructing and sharing concepts", Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Vol. 101, Suppl. 1, pp. 5279-5286.

MacEachren, A., Gahegan, M., Pike, W., Brewer, I., Cai, G., Lengerich, E. and Hardisty, F. (2004). Geovisualization for knowledge construction and decision support. IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, Jan/Feb 2004, pp. 13-17.

Brodaric, B., Gahegan, M., Harrap, R. (2004). The art and science of mapping: computing geological categories from field data. Computers & Geosciences Vol. 30, No.7, pp. 719-740.

S. Kang, I. Makalowska, N. Veeraraghavan, S. Dontharaju, N. Currit, M. Gahegan, R. Frederick, and D. Luster (2003). Plant Pathogen Database: Cyber-infrastructure to support data sharing, analysis, and visualization. Phytopathology 93: S43.

Gahegan, M. (2003). Is inductive machine learning just another wild goose (or might it lay the golden egg?). International Journal of Geographic Information Science, Vol. 17, No. 1, pp. 69-92.

Guo, D., D. Peuquet and M. Gahegan (2003). ICEAGE: Interactive Clustering and Exploration of Large and High-dimensional Geodata. GeoInformatica, 7(3): 229-253.

Lee, I. and Gahegan, M. (2002) Interactive analysis using Voronoi diagrams: algorithms to support dynamic update from a generic triangle-based data structure. Transactions in GIS, Vol. 6, No. 2, pp 89-114.

Gahegan, M., Takatsuka, M., Wheeler, M. and Hardisty, F. (2002). GeoVISTA Studio: a geocomputational workbench. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, Vol. 26, pp. 267-292.

Takatsuka, M. and Gahegan, M. (2002) GeoVISTA Studio: A codeless visual programming environment for geoscientific data analysis and visualization. Computers and Geosciences, Vol. 28, No. 10, pp. 1131-1144.

Gahegan, M. (2002). Guest Editor of special theme issue of Computers, Environment and Urban Systems on 'Geocomputation', Vol. 26.

Gahegan, M., Wachowicz, M., Harrower, M. and Rhyne, T. (2001). The integration of geographic visualization with knowledge discovery in databases and geocomputation. Cartography and Geographic Information Science, Vol. 28, No. 1, pp. 29-44.

Gahegan, M. (2000). The case for inductive and visual techniques in the analysis of spatial data. Geographical Systems, Vol. 7, No. 2, pp. 77-83.

Gahegan, M. (2000). On the application of inductive machine learning tools to geographical analysis. Geographical Analysis, Vol. 32, No. 2, pp. 113-139.

Gahegan, M. and Lee, I. (2000). Data structures and algorithms to support interactive spatial analysis using dynamic Voronoi diagrams. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, Vol. 24, No. 6, pp. 509-537.

Gahegan, M. and Ehlers, M. (2000). A framework for the modelling of uncertainty between remote sensing and geographic information and systems. International Journal of Remote Sensing, Vol. 55, pp. 176-188.

Gahegan, M. (1999). Four barriers to the development of effective exploratory visualization tools for the geosciences. International Journal of Geographic Information Science, Vol. 13, No. 4, pp. 289-310.

Gahegan, M. and Flack, J. C. (1999). Recent developments towards integrating scene understanding within a geographic information system for agricultural applications. Transactions in GIS, Vol. 3, No. 1).

Gahegan, M. (1999). Systems integration within the geosciences (guest editor and editorial author) Computers and Geosciences. Vol. 26, No. 1.

Gahegan, M. N. (1999). Characterizing the semantic content of geographic data, models, and systems. In: Interoperating Geographic Information Systems (Eds. Goodchild, M. F., M. J. Egenhofer, R. Fegeas, and C. A. Kottman). Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 71-84.

Gahegan, M., 1998, Scatterplots and scenes: visualisation techniques for exploratory spatial analysis. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, Vol. 21, No. 1, pp. 43-56.

Gahegan, M., German, G. and West, G. (1998). Some solutions to neural network configuration problems for the classification of complex geographic datasets. Geographical Systems, Vol. 5, No. 4,

Gahegan, M. N. and O'Brien, D. L. (1997). A strategy and architecture for the visualisation of complex geographical datasets. International Journal of Pattern Recognition and Artificial Intelligence, Vol. 11, No. 2, pp. 239-261.

Gahegan, M. N. (1996). Specifying the transformations within and between geographic data models. Transactions in GIS, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 137-152.

German, G. and Gahegan, M. (1996). Neural network architectures for the classification of temporal image sequences. Computers and Geosciences, Vol. 22, No. 9, pp. 969-979.

Gahegan, M. N. and Flack, J. C. (1996). A model to support the integration of image understanding techniques within a GIS. Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing, Vol. 62, No. 5, pp. 483-490.

Graduate Students

I have been advisor to completed 9 Ph.D. and 7 Masters students, with more currently underway. I greatly enjoy working with research students, it is one of the best things about my job. For my sins, I am currently directing two large open-source software development projects: GeoVISTA Studio-a java-based problem solving environment for GIScience and ConceptVista-a suite of tools for ontology/concept mapping (see,

I'm also an active member of the Geosciences Network, GEON (



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