Dr Jay Gao

BE (Wuhan Tech), MS (Toronto), PhD (Georgia)

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Associate Professor


Different from my colleagues, I received my first degree not in Geography, not even in Arts or Science - it was in photogrammetric engineering from Wuhan Technical University of Surveying and Mapping. I did not start my education in Geography until I enrolled in the Master’s degree programme at the University of Toronto. Upon graduation from the University of Georgia in the U.S. in 1992, I joined the School of Environment as a lecturer initially and later as a senior lecturer.

Research | Current

Over my academic career, I have carried out quite a number of research projects on remote sensing, GIS, GPS and their integrated applications to resources management and environmental monitoring.

These studies can be generalised into two major themes:

  1. Quantitative remote sensing: In this sub-field my research has demonstrated the possibility of retrieving physical parameters of ground features such as water quality indicators and grassland density from satellite data quantitatively. Some of these detected parameters were then linked to environmental variables to explore the impact of climate change on the natural environment.
  2. Integration of geo-computational methods: The emergence of new geo-computational technologies such as GPS has eased the acquisition of certain spatial data. Accompanying this new technology arises the issue of how to integrate it innovatively with other existing methods to maximize its potential. My research explored the feasibility and potential of combining GIS, GPS and remote sensing, and how the integrated technologies can benefit monitoring of the environment.  

My recent research has focused on mapping of land covers from satellite imagery using spatial information. In particular, my research has explored how accuracy might be improved through incorporation of spatial adjacency and spatial connection as well as additional spatial knowledge in image classification.

Teaching | Current

My teaching has been in the area of GIS, spatial analysis, remote sensing, and digital image processing.

The courses that I have been involved in teaching include Remote Sensing of the Environment, Digital Image Processing, Geographic Data Analysis, and Spatial Analysis and GeoComputation.

Postgraduate supervision

Vincent Wang, PhD

Suyadi Suyadi, PhD (co-supervising)

Tingting Xu, PhD



Associate Editor of ISPRS Journal of Photogrametry and Remote Sensing

Member of Postgraduate Committee

Areas of expertise

Geographic Information System, Remote Sensing, Spatial Data Analysis, and Resources and Environmental Modelling

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Wang, J., Gao, J., Cheng, Y., Kang, Y., & Li, X. (2017). Ecologicalization motivations of resources enterprises in the Pan-Qaidam pilot economic zone of Qinghai Province, West China. Journal of Cleaner Production, 152, 330-338. 10.1016/j.jclepro.2017.03.004
  • Zhou, Y., Wang, F., Wan, J., He, J., Li, Q., Qiang Chen, ... Zhang, S. (2017). Ecotoxicological bioassays of sediment leachates in a river bed flanked by decommissioned pesticide plants in Nantong City, East China. Environmental science and pollution research international, 24 (9), 8541-8550. 10.1007/s11356-016-8307-4
  • Peng, F., Wang, Q., Shi, R., Wang, Z., You, X., Liu, Y., ... Mao, C. (2016). Fabrication of Sesame Sticks-like Silver Nanoparticles/Polystyrene Hybridnanotubes and Their Catalytic Effects. Scientific Reports, 6 (1).10.1038/srep39502
  • Gao, J., & Li, X. (2016). Degradation of frigid swampy meadows on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau: Current status and future directions of research. PROGRESS IN PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY, 40 (6), 794-810. 10.1177/0309133316659283
  • Li, X., Xue, Z., & Gao, J. (2016). Environmental Influence on Vegetation Properties of Frigid Wetlands on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, Western China. Wetlands, 36 (5), 807-819. 10.1007/s13157-016-0788-x
  • Brierley, G. J., Li, X., Cullum, C., & Gao, J. (2016). Landscape and Ecosystem Diversity, Dynamics and Management in the Yellow River Source Zone. Springer. Pages: 369.
  • Li, X., Xue, Z., & Gao, J. (2016). Dynamic Changes of Plateau Wetlands in Madou County, the Yellow River Source Zone of China: 1990–2013. Wetlands, 36 (2), 299-310. 10.1007/s13157-016-0739-6
  • Wang, F. H., Zhao, B., Zhang, F., Gao, J., Hao, H. T., & Zhang, S. (2016). A novel heavy metal chelating agent sixthio guanidine acid for in situ remediation of soils contaminated with multielements: its synthesis, solidification, biodegradability, and leachability. Journal of Soils and Sediments, 16 (2), 371-381. 10.1007/s11368-015-1236-x

Contact details

Primary location

SCIENCE CENTRE 302 - Bldg 302
Level 5, Room 531
New Zealand