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Dr Cindy Ong

Principal Research Scientist


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Cindy Ong obtained a Mechanical Engineering degree with honours from the University of Western Australia. She practiced as a graduate engineer at BHP before making a career change taking up a remote sensing research position at the Department of Land Administration working on benthic habitat mapping. In 1994, Cindy was offered a research technician position at CSIRO focussed on mine environment and has since progressed from that to principal research scientist, concurrently acquiring a PhD degree from the Department of Imaging and Applied Physics, Curtin University. During this period, her research was pre-dominantly focused on monitoring environmental impacts related to non-renewable resource development including working on some of the mineral's industry's topical issues such as dust and acid mine drainage.
Cindy has experience leading research teams and groups including being the Research Group Leader of the Mineral And Environmental Spectral Sensing Group providing broad scientific leadership in a group of 25 scientists and engineers working across the value chain of imaging spectroscopy from sensor development, atmospheric physics, calibration and validation, information extraction and software development for applications across exploration, mining and mine environment deploying a variety of optical sensors from laboratory to airborne platforms.
Currently, Cindy’s prime research focus are on the quantification and monitoring of methane and other environmental impacts related to the onshore gas industry, and calibration and validation of optical earth observation sensors. Currently she leads the research effort on baseline and fugitive methane emission related to onshore gas. Additionally, she leads the pan-CSIRO project on optical calibration and validation where she is leading the effort to set up a new vicarious calibration site specifically for imaging spectroscopy aligned with the principles of RadCalNet.
Cindy is an active member the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites Working Group on Calibration and Validation representing CSIRO's EO calibration and validation efforts. She is also a member of the science advisory group for Germany’s imaging spectroscopy satellite mission, EnMAP. She is a member of the mission advisory group of the European Space Agency's candidate hyperspectral mission, CHIME. She is on the calibration and validation working group of NASA's surface biology and geology mission. Cindy was involved in the development of and is a member the working group of the GEO Energy and Minerals Societal Benefit Area.

Other Interests

Cindy’s research has been largely focused on the application of remotely sensed data for the characterisation and monitoring of environmental variables related to impacts of the minerals industry and natural resource management, and, more recently the onshore gas industry and characterisation of crop type, status and yield for the agricultural sector.
Cindy has strong interests in calibration and validation borne out of the stringent demands on the products that she was developing especially for the mineral industry where there was the need to satisfy both scientific and regulatory requirements. This need led her to develop her skills in instrument calibration, vicarious calibration and product validation. Additionally, she has had the opportunity to work with various new airborne sensors where the instrument calibration often required attention. This and the requirement to integrate multiple sensors to obtain multi-temporal coverage led to her interests in standards development and involvement in international communities such as the International Standards Organisation and Open Geospatial Consortium.
Although the major focus of Cindy’s research has been on imaging spectroscopy, she has a broad range of experience covering a number of optical sensors and geophysics. In her current role, Cindy is working the characterisation and monitoring of baseline and fugitive methane emissions related to the on the onshore gas. Some of the development she has been involved in autonomous monitoring system to close the gap on fine spatial scale detection of small dispersed low level methane.

Current Roles

  • Principal Research Scientist
    Emission Baseline and Quantification, Optical Earth Observation Calibration and Validation, Imaging Spectroscopy Applications

Academic Qualifications

  • Bachelor Mechanical Engineering (Honours)
    University of Western Australia

  • Doctor of Philosophy
    Curtin University

Professional Experiences

  • 1990

    Engineering Technician
    Minproc Engineers Pty Ltd

  • 1991-1992

    Honours project and Graduate Engineer
    BHP Steel

  • 1992-1992

    Research Volunteer
    Environmental Protection Authority

  • 1993-1994

    Remote Sensing Research Officer
    Department Of Land Administration

  • 1994-2009

    Remote Sensing Scientist

  • 2009-2010

    Research Team Leader

  • 2010-2014

    Research Group Leader

  • 2014-2016

    Reasearch Team Leader

  • 2016-present

    Principal Research Scientist

Achievements and Awards

  • 2013

    CSIRO Earth Science And Resource Engineering Divisional Award In Business Excellence – Delivery Of Impact Category For The ASTER Geoscience Map Of Australia

  • 2005

    CSIRO Exploration and Mining Innovation Award for developing an operational method for monitoring iron oxide dust levels on mangroves

  • Environment Award for development of an operational method for iron oxide dust monitoring

  • 2004

    Golden Gecko Award For Environmental Excellence for the project - “Quantitative monitoring of iron ore dust from the air”
    WA Department of Industry And Resource

Other highlights

  • 2005

    Guest Scientist at the German Aerospace Center to undertake research and build the case for the use of imaging spectroscopy feeding into the mine waste directive (MWD) and in preparation for Germany’s future imaging spectroscopy satellite.

We have publications by Dr Cindy Ong