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Issue 24 - October 2012


Table of Contents

LSGI Prof. receives prestigious award from ISPRS

At the XXII International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS) Congress in Melbourne, Australia, from 25 August – 1 September 2012, Prof. John Shi of the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics (LSGI) received the prestigious Wang Zhizhuo Award, which is given at each quadrennial ISPRS Congress to a person who has made significant achievement or innovation in spatial information sciences.

Prof. Shi has made a very significant impact on the development of geographic information science (GISci) by advancing it with four major theoretical breakthroughs, which are from determinant- to uncertainty-based representation of geographic objects; from uncertainty modeling for static spatial data to dynamic spatial analyses; from uncertainty modeling for spatial data to spatial models; and from error description to quality control for spatial data.

Prof. John Shi

His work on the principles of modeling uncertainties in spatial data and spatial analyses has been published in leading international journals. The principles consisted of systemic theories addressing a series of basic scientific issues, including the sources of uncertainty, spatial distribution patterns, the principle of uncertainty propagation, and quality control. Theoretical research on uncertainty modeling and quality control has made a great impact on applications, particularly in the spatial information industry and satellite remote sensing.

With his book, Principles of Modeling Uncertainties in Spatial Data and Spatial Analyses, which was published in 2009, Prof. Shi has made a lasting contribution to the study of GISci. It is the first text on such principles and presents a foundation for GISci that has been widely referenced and recommended by many universities worldwide. Incidentally, his work on uncertainty modeling and quality control for spatial data and analyses also won the State Natural Science Award in 2007. He is the only scholar from Hong Kong in the field of geo-sciences to have ever received this award since it was started in 1999. Kudos to Prof. Shi for his outstanding achievements.

Noise-reducing windows developed by BSE researcher et al.

In a 4-year collaboration between the Environmental Protection Department, the Housing Authority, and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, researchers led by Prof. Tang Shiu Keung of the Department of Building Services Engineering have developed a means of blocking out noise and increasing ventilation by installing windows strategically in buildings located at busy intersections, including the public housing estate project on Prince Edward Road East in San Po Kong. This is the first time that a housing project has made use of these innovative noise-reducing windows, which cost HK$22,000 each and consist of two layers of glass. Even though their cost is more than that for installing air-conditioners, such windows can cut down the use of air-conditioners and save energy in the long run because their external panels can be opened for ventilation, while the internal ones can slide shut to block out any noise. It is estimated that 857 units at this particular housing estate will feature such windows when the project is completed in 2016.

The scarcity of land in Hong Kong has resulted in many housing estates being built near busy highways that are inevitably noisy. Developers now need to include in their plans various ways to reduce noise to a level not exceeding the city planning guidelines of 70 decibels before they can begin construction. This will hopefully lead to more widespread use of noise-reducing windows, which have already been installed in the new resident halls for PolyU students in Homantin.

Homantin Halls of Residence

CIOB International Research & Innovation Awards 2012

A heat stress research team led by Prof. Albert Chan of the Department of Building and Real Estate has scooped a Highly Commended Award in the 2012 International Innovation and Research Awards organized by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) in the U.K. Mr Chris Blythe, Chief Executive of CIOB will visit Hong Kong in early November to present a commemorative trophy and a certificate to the winning team. Congratulations to Prof. Chan and his team!


Research Publication rewarded by BRE

Four academics from the Department of Building and Real Estate were honored by the department’s Research Publication Awards 2011-12, which are given to staff at different levels, i.e. at the level of Chair Professor/ Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, and Senior Lecturer/ Lecturer/ Teaching Fellow/ Instructor/ Tutor respectively. Based on their research publication in selected journals, the awards will be presented to Prof. Albert Chan, Dr Daniel Chan, Dr Ni Meng, and Dr Tan Yongtao at the upcoming Congregation Ceremony on 14 November 2012. This is the second consecutive year that all four have received this award since it began in 2011. Congratulations to them all.

Prof. Albert Chan

Dr Daniel Chan

Dr Ni Meng

Dr Tan Yongtao

New Academic Staff

Three new academic staff joined the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics in September 2012. Following are their profiles:

Ir Dr Wai Lok LAI, Wallace, Assistant Professor

Ir Dr Lai obtained his PhD in 2006 and his BSc in 1999, both in Building Technology and Management from the Department of Building and Real Estate (BRE) of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Following his graduation, Dr Lai worked for a major contractor and an engineering consultant for six years. He then served as a Project and Research Fellow in the Department of Civil and Structural Engineering (CSE) of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and later as the Adolf Martens Postdoctoral Fellow at the Federal Institute of Materials Research and Testing (BAM), Berlin, Germany. He is now a Visiting Scientist at BAM, a corporate member in the Materials Division of the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers (HKIE), and a Technical Assessor for the Hong Kong Laboratory Accreditation Scheme (HOKLAS) administered by the Hong Kong Government.

Seeing the unseen is truly Dr Lai’s cup of tea. His research interests include condition survey and diagnosis of engineering structures, underground utilities, construction materials, hydro-geophysics, and sites of archaeological value, via nondestructive evaluation (NDE), near-surface geophysical techniques and advanced signal processing. These techniques include ground penetrating radar, infrared thermography, electrical resistivity, etc. His main teaching duties will be with the Department’s innovative and world-leading Utility Surveying stream of the BSc (Hons) in Geomatics programme.


Ir Dr Wai Lok LAI, Wallace

Dr Lei ZHANG - Research Assistant Professor

Dr Zhang obtained his PhD in Geodesy and Geodynamics from LSGI in 2011, M.E. in Geodesy from Tongji University (Shanghai) in 2007 and B.E. in Civil Engineering from Shandong University of Science and technology in 2004.

Dr Zhang has worked as a Research Assistant, Research Associate, and Postdoctoral Fellow in LSGI since 2007. He was a visiting researcher at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) from March to August 2010.

His research interests focus on the techniques and development of synthetic aperture radar (SAR), interferometric SAR (InSAR) and multiple-temporal InSAR processing, cross-platform InSAR processing, design of automated SAR/InSAR processing systems, and application of InSAR technologies to image ground surface deformation related to the study of volcanic, seismic, tectonic and hydrologic processes. He has published more than 15 refereed journal papers and 2 book chapters in the past 5 years.



Mr Kent LAM, Teaching Fellow

Mr Kent Lam received his MSc degree in Surveying Engineering in 1991 from the University of Calgary, and BSc in Surveying Engineering in 1985 from the University of New Brunswick in Canada.

Mr Lam has over twenty years of working experience in both academia and the GIS industry. From 1991 to 2000, he was with LSGI, where he helped the Department develop its Geomatics programmes.  He is also a visiting lecturer and M.Phil. supervisor for the MA programme in Transport Policy & Planning at the University of Hong Kong.  An experienced GIS expert in the areas of vehicle navigation and intelligent transportation systems, Mr Lam was the GIS consultant/service provider for many major projects in Hong Kong, including TGMS, CCIII, TIMS, etc. He is a Fellow and council member of the Association of Intelligent Transportation Systems Hong Kong.


Mr Kent LAM

HKIS 2012 Thesis Awards for Postgraduates

The Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors (HKIS) honoured two recent alumni of the Department of Building and Real Estate for their master’s theses. Ms Choi Nga Yee, Tracy, won in the MPhil category with her investigation of the current application and future development of the Pay for Safety Scheme in the construction industry. She also won a Distinction Award in the Postgraduate Division of the Annual Best Final-Year Dissertation Competition 2012 of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University Student Chapter of CIB. In the MSc category, her classmate Mr Zhou You, Joe, received an award for his study of the application of solar chimneys and earth tube systems for BEAM Plus and LEED assessments. They were supervised by Dr Daniel Chan and Dr Ni Meng respectively. Congratulations to all of them.

PolyU Education Info Day 2012

The Faculty of Construction and Environment had a field day promoting its four departments to hundreds of visitors on 6 October 2012, PolyU’s annual Education Info Day. Besides info seminars on various topics related to construction and environment, there were guided visits to many lab facilities, including the Construction Virtual Prototyping Laboratory, the Solar Simulation Laboratory, the Intelligent Building Laboratory, as well as the Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing Laboratory. Prospective students and their parents gathered much useful information about the different disciplines that they could choose from for their further studies. All in all, it was a fruitful day for those who attended.

Click here to see the photos

IRE alumnus receives Distinguished Achievement Award from PolyU

On 13 October 2012, PolyU honoured 12 mainland alumni in Shenzhen for their remarkable professional achievements and contributions to the community. One of them was Sezto Man Chung, a 2004 graduate of the MSc in International Real Estate (IRE) programme of the Department of Building and Real Estate, which was primarily taught at Zhejiang University in China. Since his graduation, Mr Sezto has established a reputation as one with a Midas touch by turning several unprofitable commercial real estate ventures around. Now the chief executive officer of INSITE Asset Management Group Ltd, Mr Sezto credits the IRE programme for giving him an international perspective, which has helped him to determine development goals in China from international cases and examples. Congratulations to Mr Sezto on his latest achievement.


CIOB(HK) Outstanding Student Awards 2011/12

An alumna from the Department of Building and Real Estate has won an award from the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) for her final year thesis, which was a feasibility study of extensive green roof applications in Hong Kong’s new private residential buildings. Supervised by Dr Daniel Chan, an associate professor in BRE, Miss Wong Lai Ching, Cherry, was a graduate of the BSc programme in Surveying. She received an award certificate and a cheque for HK$4000 at the CIOB(HK) annual dinner at the Nikko Hotel on 19 October 2012.


Scholarship students graduate with distinction

3 postgraduates who were funded in their studies by Faculty Entry Scholarships have recently graduated with their MSc degrees with Distinction. They are Miss Teng Xuejiao, a graduate of the MSc programme in Construction and Real Estate; Mr Fok Chun Ho, a graduate of the MSc programme in Fire and Safety Engineering; and Mr Zhong Teng, a graduate of the MSc programme in Geomatics (GIS). Below are their thoughts on studying at PolyU and their future plans.

Miss Teng Xuejiao

Mr Fok Chun Ho

Mr Zhong Teng

Most memorable experience
at PolyU 
I have made many great friends and the professors/ lecturers are always helpful. Having Dr Fong Nai Kong as my supervisor. Without his kind support and guidance, I could not have completed my research project. Celebrating New Year’s Eve with Prof. Shi Wenzhong and his family
Advice to
other students
Enjoy your university life and try to make it colorful and wonderful because it is shorter than you think. I strongly encourage the students who are interested in fire safety to undertake the MSc course in Fire and Safety Engineering. Pursue your dreams. Hong Kong is a place where miracles can happen.
Future plans To apply what I have learnt and to learn more about what I haven't tried. As a consulting engineer currently involved in various mainland China and Hong Kong construction projects, I wish to apply my knowledge to improve the fire safety aspect of buildings and provide a better living environment for all. I hope to be an entrepreneur and am planning to start up a new business with my MSc classmates in mainland China.

FCE Mainland Research Alumni Forum cum Banquet

Over the past twenty years, a large number of research students and personnel of the Faculty has come from mainland China.  Upon their return to mainland China, they have grown into a significant force contributing to the technological advancement of many universities, research and design institutes. The Faculty considers it essential to maintain communications as well as collaboration with this group of research alumni.

The Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE) is organizing a forum and banquet for alumni and former research staff from the mainland to be held in April 2013. All FCE Research Alumni and Personnel are welcome to join the gathering.

The tentative schedule is as follows:

Date: 20 April 2013 (Sat)
Time: Afternoon to Evening
Location: Shenzhen

Interested research alumni or former research personnel who would like to serve as their department's representatives are invited to contact us by email at Details of the forum will be announced in due course.

Faculty Public Lectures

The Faculty of Construction and Environment was honoured to have the following speakers giving public lectures at PolyU:

Prof. Dwayne E. Heard

FCE Public Lecture
"Laser-based field measurements of OH, HO2 and RO2 radicals in the atmosphere, and comparisons with models"

Prof. Dwayne E. Heard, Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry, School of Chemistry, University of Leeds, United Kingdom

Date: 26 September 2012 (Wednesday) (Details)

Dr Baoshan Huang

FCE Public Lecture
"Performance of Asphalt Paving Mixtures Containing Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement (RAP)"

Dr Baoshan Huang, Associate Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Tennessee – Knoxville

Date: 12 October 2012 (Friday) (Details)

Prof. Serji Amirkhanian

FCE Public Lecture
"Development of New Polymerized Asphalt Binders"

Prof. Serji Amirkhanian, Director of Research and Development, Phoenix Industries of Las Vegas

Date: 16 October 2012 (Tuesday) (Details)

Prof. Steffen Lehmann

FCE Public Lecture
"New Research Agendas for Low Carbon Cities"

Prof. Steffen Lehmann, Professor of Sustainable Design in the School of Art, Architecture & Design, University of South Australia

Date: 25 October 2012 (Thursday) (Details)

Forthcoming Events

18th Congregation & Faculty of Construction and Environment Prize Presentation Ceremony
Date: 13-14 November 2012
Venue: Jockey Club Auditorium, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

FCE Public Lecture:
Sustainable community for aged people: case studies of green retirement villages in Australia

Date & Time: 15 November 2012 (Thursday), 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Venue: Room Y304, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

First International Conference on Performance-based and Life-Cycle Structural Engineering (PLSE 2012)
Date: 5-7 December 2012
Venue: Regal Kowloon Hotel, 71 Mody Road, Tsimshatsui, Hong Kong

The 5th International Symposium on Transportation Network Reliability (INSTR)
Date: 18-19 December 2012, Hong Kong
Venue: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

PLSE 2012 Academic Vacancies - FCE   HKPolyUFCE

Copyright © 2012 Faculty of Construction and Environment, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. All rights reserved.

Faculty of Construction and Environment Department of Building and Real Estate Department of Building Services Engineering Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics