My Melbourne with Mohsen Kalantari Soltanieh

October 14 / 145

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Welcome to My Melbourne. I’m Daryl Holland and joining me today is Mohsen Kalantari.

What is your role at the University?

I am a lecturer in the Department of Infrastructure Engineering and I am Associate Director of Research at the Centre for Spatial Data Infrastructure and Land Administration.

How long have you been here?

It’s almost 10 years. I did my PhD from 2004 until 2008 and then I worked for the government for four years but that was in a part time capacity so I was still involved with the University. And then I came back in 2012 as a lecturer.

What does your role entail?

There are two sides: teaching and research. I teach the equivalent of two-and-a-half or three subjects and also do research in different areas, but mainly in Spatial Data Infrastructure and Land Administration.

What is a typical day?

It depends. If it is a teaching day then the day before and that day I will be busy preparing the lecture material, and making sure that the previous lectures are summarised for the next lecture. But in non-teaching periods it will be mainly research or engaging with the industry.

Research includes meetings with our PhD students or with industry, and sometimes I stay at home or go and hide somewhere in the University to write up papers and reports.

You recently presented at a conference. Can you tell me about that?

My research is about indoor mapping of complex infrastructure. People spend more than 80 per cent of their time inside buildings. This comes with issues of air quality, access to facilities, people’s entitlements in three-dimensional space, and common properties. You need to have three-dimensional data for these purposes and I do research on how we can make 3D models of indoor spaces.

The traditional way of doing it is using surveying technologies. These are usually expensive and obviously time consuming. We are trying to use consumer technologies to enable the public to make 3D models of their indoors. We are trialling technologies like mobile phones, Microsoft Kinect (a gaming console), and micro unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that can fly indoors. A lot of our research goes into how we can adopt these technologies to enable people to make models of their indoor spaces.

What’s your favourite thing about working at the University?

It’s a dynamic environment in terms of new projects. Every year we are facing different types of challenges in our areas of research, which is quite good. Every year you get new students, and it is always very interesting to meet people from different backgrounds, with different interests. The main thing, perhaps, is the creation of knowledge and the contribution you are making to knowledge and the feeling that you are making a difference in society.

What’s your favourite place to have a coffee or a bite to eat?

For dinner I prefer University House; for coffee, House of Cards; and for something to eat in the middle of the day, crepes. I like Nutella crepes.

Is there a piece of advice that you have been given that has helped you in your career?

My mentor and supervisor, Professor Abbas Rajabifard, the head of the Department of Infrastructure Engineering, has always emphasised the importance of networking. You need to be a good researcher, you need to publish, but it’s also equally important to have good networks in the industry.

From my parents, the advice was to be a global citizen, not a citizen of a particular country. And my wife has always advised me to go for the best.

Sounds like good advice. Is there something about yourself that your colleagues wouldn’t know?

After lunch I sometimes nap for 10-15 minutes to reenergise and continue working.

That sounds like good advice as well. Thanks very much for joining us, Mohsen. That’s My Melbourne for this week. 

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