1,515 results for Conference paper

  • Red blood cell segmentation using guided contour tracing

    Vromen, Joost; McCane, Brendan (2006-11)

    Conference paper
    University of Otago

    We present a model-based contour tracing approach to the problem of automatically segmenting a Scanning Electron Microscope image of red blood cells. These images characteristically have high numbers of overlapping cells and relatively smooth contours. We provide a brief look into what problems conventional algorithms encounter when attempting to segment these images, and go on to show that a model-based contour tracing approach attains high levels of accuracy and almost no false negatives.

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  • Biosecurity: a significant issue for wine tourism?

    Hall, C Michael (2004)

    Conference paper
    University of Otago

    People may be significant vectors for vine diseases and pests. Yet despite the potential biosecurity risks of visitation few New Zealand wineries have biosecurity strategies in place. The paper therefore aims to examine biosecurity threats to wineries in terms of first, visitor understanding of terms used in customs declaration and their relation to their perception of vineyards; and second, the behaviours of winery visitors. In order to undertake an exploratory assessment of biosecurity risks associated with wine tourism a short convenience survey was undertaken of winery visitors in the Canterbury, Marlborough and Central Otago wine regions of the South Island of New Zealand in January-March 2002. The survey had 324 respondents of which 69 were international visitors. The demographic profile of respondents was similar to previous profiles of New Zealand wine tourists. The results indicated that relatively few respondents recognised a vineyard as a farm therefore raising concerns about the extent to which present customs forms may identify winery or vineyard visits. Of equal concern was the extent to which the same clothing items are used from one winery visit to another, and on different trips. The paper concludes by noting the urgent need to develop more appropriate biosecurity strategies for wineries and vineyards in the light of the development of wine tourism.

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  • Measuring spatial accessibility to primary health care

    Bagheri, Nasser; Benwell, George L; Holt, Alec (2005-11)

    Conference paper
    University of Otago

    The aim of this paper is to explain a new approach for calculating spatial accessibility to primary health care (PHC) services. New Zealand and World Health Organisation (WHO) rules were used to determine acceptable levels of minimum travel time and distance to the closest PHC facilities via a road network. This analysis was applied to 2369 census areas in the 2001 census release with an average population of 76 people and 32 PHC services inside the Otago region. The best route (shortest time) from residential areas to PHC facilities was calculated using the mean centre of population distribution within each meshblock polygon instead of using simple geometric centroids of the Meshblocks. This study has shown that the central and northern parts of the Otago region have some areas with low accessibility levels to PHC.

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  • The emergence and distribution of species in a gradient-based spatially-structured evolutionary algorithm

    Dick, Grant (2007-12-06)

    Conference paper
    University of Otago

    The ability to discover and maintain multiple solutions within a single run is a desirable property for evolutionary algorithms. Researchers have previously turned to many biologically-inspired methods for inspiration to produce niching evolutionary algorithms. This paper extends previous work on the Gradient-Based Spatially-Structured Evolutionary Algorithm, which attempts to embody the concept of parapatric speciation within an evolutionary algorithm. Through an comparison of the evolved population with that of an idealised, perfectly proportioned population, we show that the distribution of population members among the niches of a given problem’s fitness landscape does not rely on the global properties of the landscape. Rather, the allocation of individuals to peaks relies on the relative values of neighbouring peaks with regard to their spatial relationship in the fitness landscape.

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  • Customer Orientation in E-government: The Managers’ Perspectives

    Hannah, Polson; Theivananthampillai, Paul (2005)

    Conference paper
    University of Otago

    With the increasing focus on technology, the demand for the electronic provision of services is growing. Public sector organisations are beginning to consider whether they too should integrate technology into their operations, specifically with projects such as websites, intranets or systems for communication. This study aims to consider whether the implentation of e-government in a local public sector organisation has enabled this organisation to achieve their customer orientation in order to realise improved levels of performance. This study provides a number of useful insights. Firstly all managers appear to understand the customer orientation of the organisation and thus the importance of a focus on the customer. There seems to be a difficulty however of implementing this customer orientation in practice. The lack of effective customer measures means managers tend to focus on internal measures. While managers perceive there to be a number of potential benefits, the majority of these tend to be related to efficiency and the achievement of outputs. For departments with low customer orientation there is not likely to be a strong link between outputs and outcomes therefore there is a potential danger that technology will divert their attention away from the customer. While e-government may result in achievement of output objectives this are not necessarily conducive to achieving the organisations overall mission. In summary, the results of this study imply that despite the orientatation-performance link, e-government can provide benefits. These however are more likely to be related to operational efficienicy at low levels of customer orientation. In other cases, what gets measured is what gets done. For the real potential of e-government to be realised there must be a strong alignment of customer orientation and e-government. Managers must be clear as to what the overall mission is and how e-government can assist them in achieving this.

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  • Towards topoclimate maps of frost and frost risk for Southland, New Zealand

    Richards, Katrina; Baumgarten, Mandy (2003-12)

    Conference paper
    University of Otago

    The spatial distribution of radiation frosts is closely associated with topographic patterns, and this link makes frost an obvious candidate for topoclimate mapping. There are several potential approaches involving field studies, numerical modelling and/or satellite imagery. For southern New Zealand, the Topoclimate South data set of 223 million temperature values provides an opportunity to map frost and frost risk information. To date, only a few exploratory studies have been undertaken. These typically involve only a few of the 2550 available sites and/or only a single night. Nevertheless, initial investigations indicate that frost mapping in Southland is likely to be a fruitful and interesting topic of study. Funding has recently been obtained to set up a coherent database to contain the data set, and this will greatly help future research in this area.

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  • Spatial variation in the association between neighbourhood deprivation and access to alcohol outlets

    Hay, Geoff; Whigham, Peter A; Kypri, Kypros; Langley, John (2007-12-06)

    Conference paper
    University of Otago

    Background: People who live in poor areas suffer higher mortality than those living in wealthier areas. People who live in poor areas in New Zealand have better access to alcohol and this association appears to vary spatially. We sought to investigate this spatial non-stationarity using Geographically Weighted Regression. Methods: The location of bars was geocoded for all of New Zealand and closest facility analysis was used to calculate distance to the nearest bar from each meshblock. A neighbourhood level census-based index of socioeconomic deprivation, and urban/rural status data were added as inputs to a Geographic Weighted Regression model to investigate spatial variation in the association between access to alcohol outlets and deprivation. Results: Spatial non-stationarity was discovered in deprivation and urban/rural status parameters with some large rural areas of New Zealand exhibiting significant departures from the global model of the association between distance to the nearest bar and neighbourhood deprivation. Conclusions: Lack of association discovered for rural areas may be the result of spatial heterogeneity. Research into the association between deprivation and access to alcohol should consider rural areas individually for environmental inequity rather than relying on global models showing no association.

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  • A Voronoi-based distributed genetic algorithm

    Whigham, Peter A; Dick, Grant (2003-12)

    Conference paper
    University of Otago

    The use of space for supporting evolution has been previously studied in the context of distributed Genetic Algorithms (DGA), where two standard approaches, island and grid based, are employed to define the population structure and connectivity relationships between individuals. The grid-based approach uses a fixed, regular grid to define the neighbourhood relations between individuals, resulting in Moore or Von Neumann relationships between population individuals. This short paper begins to address the question of the influence of non-fixed spatial relationships between individuals in a distributed genetic algorithm, where the sub-population of each population member is defined by the 1st order Voronoi neighourhood of that individual. Initial results suggest that the irregular nature of the distribution produces an improved performance for the DGA, and that the Voronoi model of neighbours is appropriate for dynamic environments.

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  • CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS: KEY PLAYERS IN BUSINESS SUCCESSION PLANNING?

    Sawers, Deborah; Whiting, Rosalind (2009)

    Conference paper
    University of Otago

    Expanding on previous quantitative studies of business succession planning (BSP) by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in New Zealand, this study provides qualitative data on the BSP process and the usefulness of Chartered Accountants’ (CAs’) input into that process. The owners of five provincial family SMEs who had all commenced BSP, were interviewed and provided comments on their perceptions of the process. BSP was primarily undertaken in a semi-formal manner and was found to be useful, particularly in planning for change to a “more balanced lifestyle”, providing reassurance to family members and maintainingbusiness continuity. Assistance from CAs was essential, especially with the technical and financial issues of succession. Successful advice was enhanced by a long-term, trustworthyand honest relationship between the CA and the client. SME owners preferred to address the emotional and personal relationship issues of succession without input from the CA. Fourrecommendations to Chartered Accountants on their involvement in BSP are suggested.

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  • A categorization of simulation works on norms

    Savarimuthu, Bastin Tony Roy; Cranefield, Stephen (2009-03-20)

    Conference paper
    University of Otago

    In multi-agent systems, software agents are modelled to possess characteristics and behaviour borrowed from human societies. Norms are expectations of behaviours of the agents in a society. Norms can be established in a society in different ways. In human societies, there are several types of norms such as moral norms, social norms and legal norms (laws). In artificial agent societies, the designers can impose these norms on the agents. Being autonomous, agents might not always follow the norms. Monitoring and controlling mechanisms should be in place to enforce norms. As the agents are autonomous, they themselves can evolve new norms while adapting to changing needs. In order to design and develop robust artificial agent societies, it is important to understand different approaches proposed by researchers by which norms can spread and emerge within agent societies. This paper makes two contributions to the study of norms. Firstly, based on the simulation works on norms, we propose a life-cycle model for norms. Secondly, we discuss different mechanisms used by researchers to study norm creation, spreading, enforcement and emergence.

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  • Digital near-infrared camera for 3D spatial data capture

    Chong, Albert K (2004-11)

    Conference paper
    University of Otago

    Low-cost, medium-resolution and hand-held digital cameras with near-infrared (NIR) capability are now readily available. The NIR spectrum (700 to 925 nanometers) is a tiny part of the overall electro-magnetic spectrum. It’s just outside the spectrum seen by the human eye. While it is not possible to see NIR radiation it can be recorded on NIR films or CCDs with special filters. Digital NIR image of vegetations, living things, rocks and man-made objects have a number of positive features over the traditional color or black and white photography. In the past, NIR images were strategically used only because of the expensive and hard-to-find NIR films and high-cost CCDs. However, present CCD cameras require only inexpensive NIR filters to take good NIR images. The paper highlights the current applications and potential of NIR images in photogrammetry. Next, the paper provides discussion on the calibration of digital cameras which could be used for high precision 3D photogrammetric work.

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  • PERFORMANCE EVALUATION

    Stringer, Carolyn (2009)

    Conference paper
    University of Otago

    Performance evaluations systems are a critical part of overall performance management systems. This intensive case study provides insights into how the use of subjective performance evaluations in a complex organisational setting has led to perceptions of injustices (e.g., procedural, distributional, interactional), and unintended consequences. The key injustices were mixed practices, unclear criteria, financial focus, little differentiation between good and poor performers, stickiness in ratings, inequities in target setting, higher ratings at higher grades, and the predetermined theory. The consequences include the lack of trust, generous bonuses, gaming, inability to influence, resource allocation, bonuses are expected and not performance-related, and the system is costly to administrate. Multiple sources of evidence support the findings, and the patterns are consistent over a three year period. Future research needs to develop a deeper understanding of how these parts interrelate, where subjective performance evaluations work, and where they do not work, and to encourage breaking down the divide between functional specialisations (e.g., human resources, accounting).

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  • A comparison of localised and global niching methods

    Dick, Grant (2005-11)

    Conference paper
    University of Otago

    Niching methods are a useful extension of evolutionary computation that allow evolutionary algorithms to be applied in multimodal problem domains. Current niching methods use either one of two methods to promote the formation of species within a population. Genetics-based methods, such as fitness sharing or clearing, work directly on the search space of the problem. Alternatively, spatiallystructured evolutionary algorithms are used to place individuals onto a landscape and restrict mating to within isolated demes of population members. This isolation promotes the driving of geographically distant individuals towards separate parts of the search space. This paper introduces the concept of localised niching (LC). LC takes the traditionally global operations used in genetics-based niching and applies them locally in a spatially-structured population. Testing on two well known and difficult benchmark problems indicates that LC not only has the potential to significantly outperform the traditional global niching methods, but is also more resistant to some of the known limitations of genetics-based species formation.

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  • An empirical investigation into correlation functions in a spatially-dispersed evolutionary algorithm

    Dick, Grant (2004-11)

    Conference paper
    University of Otago

    Spatially-structured populations play an important role in controlling selection pressure in evolutionary algorithms. The imposing space on a evolving population has traditionally been biased toward the underlying architecture that the population is executed on. The spatially dispersed evolutionary algorithm (sdEA) is an attempt to model population structures incorporating more probabilistic measures into the construction of demes. One important component of the sdEA in determining demes is the correlation function. This paper introduces three new correlation functions into the realm of the sdEA and compares their resultant behaviours on four differing test cases. Initial results indicate that the design of a correlation function should bias deme construction to small areas in the population surface.

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  • Fitness landscapes and gene location

    Whigham, Peter A (2004-11)

    Conference paper
    University of Otago

    The paper outlines initial results into a study of the preference of gene location for diploid organisms under the presence of an environmental gradient. The work explores the properties of a spatially-explicit model of monoecious diploid individuals that evolve preferential coding of gene location. The individuals evolve over a space with a linear gradient, where the response to an individual’s phenotype determines the age before breeding. Each individual has three chromosomes that determine the position and value of two genes. These genes combine to determine the resulting breeding response. The concept of an NK fitness landscape is used to represent two different scenarios of gene linkage. The results indicate that when gene linkage is related by a rugged fitness landscape, the genes cluster on the same chromosome, whereas when the fitness landscape is smooth the genes are more likely to be on separate chromosomes. The work has implications for understanding some of the possible mechanisms that lead to gene clusters.

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  • The relationship between website metrics and the financial performance of online businesses

    Ghandour, Ahmad; Benwell, George L; Deans, Kenneth R (2010)

    Conference paper
    University of Otago

    Online businesses are often engaged in web metrics to gauge the performance of their eCommerce website. This study examines the relationships between web metrics and the financial performance. The key purpose of the present paper is to learn whether metrics measures have an impact on profitability in eCommerce website. An online survey was used to gather data from companies that have eCommerce website. The results from this study indicate that companies with perceived successful financial performance have also enjoyed perceived success in the customer behaviour on their website. Furthermore, the study explores the role of five contingency variables,the markets it operates in, the effort of the company to make the website visible, the involvement of the owners, the percentage of the online business and the age of the website, on this relationship. The results indicate that these variables moderate the relationship between metrics measures and the performance of the website so that a positive association occurs under older website, higher percentage of online, and higher level of owner’s involvement with the website. The findings prompt the owners to carefully monitor their website traffic for a possible downturn and remedy the situation prior to its occurrence.

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  • Noise in the shearing industry

    McBride, David; Cowan, Elaine; Utumapu, Margaret; Walaart, John (2010-06)

    Conference paper
    University of Otago

    The aim of this study was to assess the risk of noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) in shearing and investigate practicable control methods. Woolshed surveys included shed construction data, noise dosimetry and area noise sampling. The noise exposures from 40 personal measurements were all above the 85 dB(A) action level, lying in the range 86-90 dB(A). Shearers had the highest exposure, “near field” noise coming from the action of the cutting edge in the shearing comb, but also from downtubes and gears. Noise for sorters and pressers was contributed to by the stereo system (found in all shearing sheds). Lined sheds seemed to have slightly higher noise levels than unlined sheds. None of the shearing crews had hearing protection available. Redesign of the shearing equipment primarily the handpiece but also the downtubes and gears could potentially reduce the exposure by 2-3 dB(A) and possibly more. In the meantime shearing crews need to wear hearing protection and be subject to audiometric surveillance.

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  • Wind turbine noise and health-related quality of life of nearby residents: a cross sectional study in New Zealand

    Shepherd, Daniel; McBride, David; Welch, David; Dirks, Kim; Hill, Erin (2011)

    Conference paper
    University of Otago

    Hearing allows humans to detect threats in the environment and to communicate with others. However, unwanted sound has the capacity to evoke reflexive and emotional responses, and can act a stressor. The World Health Organisation classifies noise as an environmental pollutant that degrades sleep, quality of life and general health. Previous research provides evidence of a relationship between wind turbine noise and both annoyance and sleep disturbance. However, wind turbines are a relatively new source of community noise, and as such their effects on health have yet to be fully described. We report a study exploring the effect of wind turbine noise on health and well-being in a sample of New Zealand residents living within two kilometres of a wind turbine installation. Our data provide evidence that wind turbine noise can degrade aspects of health-related quality of life and amenity. On this evidence, wind turbine installations should be sited with care and consideration with respect to the communities hosting them.

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  • The Usability Perception Scale (UPscale): A Measure for Evaluating Feedback Displays

    Karlin, Beth; Ford, Rebecca (2013)

    Conference paper
    University of Otago

    This paper proposes and tests the Usability Perception Scale (UPscale), developed to evaluate the perceived usability of eco-feedback. This tool builds on previous system usability scales and includes sub-scales for ease of use and engagement. The scale was tested via an online survey of 1103 US residents. Factor analysis supported a two-factor solution, supporting subscales for ease of use and engagement. Reliability tests revealed high levels of internal consistency for the overall scale and both subscales. A test of criterion validity with behavioral intention found significant correlations with both subscales, suggesting that usability is a key mediator for behavior change. Finally, ANOVA results found differences between randomly assigned images, suggesting the scale has sufficient sensitivity for use in experimental research. Future research is suggested to test abbreviated versions as well as to further assess this scale with actual behavioral pilot studies.

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  • Australian snow tourist's perceptions of climate change: Implications for the Queenstown Lakes region of New Zealand

    Hopkins, Debbie; Becken, Susanne; Hendrikx, Jordy (2010)

    Conference paper
    University of Otago

    This qualitative research has emerged from the sustained discussion of the future of winter alpine tourism in the Australasian context. The ski industries of Australia and New Zealand are intertwined, with research requiring trans-Tasman cooperation (Hendrikx, 2010). When analyses are conducted at a national scale, they fail to incorporate this complex interdependent relationship. Australians account for over 35% of skiers in New Zealand, although this figure rises to 64% for some individual ski fields (NZ ski, 2010). The increasing number of Australians choosing New Zealand for snow-based tourism has been attributed to relative financial costs, the allure of an ‘overseas’ holiday and snow reliability. These reasons are connected, and will become increasingly so, with the climate change problematic. Physical sciences in the form of climate modelling have forecast ‘significant impacts’ for Australasian skiing (IPCC, 2007, Hennessey et al, 2004, Hendrix, 2010, Hendrix & Hreinsson, 2010), with prospects for Australia particularly dire, consequently placing New Zealand in a relatively positive position. Our paper follows on, and complements the climate modelling and forecasting provided by the IPCC (2007), Hennessey et al (2004), and Hendrikx & Hreinsson (2010), using qualitative methods to gain greater understanding of the potential behavioural adaptations available to Australian snow tourists in New Zealand. The depth, nuances and complexities of tourist’s perceptions and knowledge will be sought through semi structured interviews in the Queenstown Lakes region on the South Island of New Zealand during the winter season 2011. Although physical sciences can provide understandings of biophysical vulnerabilities, they neglect the sociocultural context of vulnerability and often frame it as an outcome of specific changes. Therefore the objectives of this research are; 1. To understand the way vulnerability is framed and perceived by demand-side stakeholders, 2. Recognise the types of knowledge which inform actors about climate change vulnerability, 3. To identify the types of behavioural adaptations which are available to Australian tourists and implications these could have for New Zealand’s ski industry. This paper represents part of a wider collaborative research project addressing the vulnerability of snow-reliant industries as a result of forecast climatic changes. It will identify a range of possible behavioural adaptations for demand-side stakeholders which will have applicability beyond the Australasian context. We will discuss the socio-economic, developmental, institutional and governance implications for alpine regions, as individual ski fields within a destination will face varying degrees of vulnerability resulting from climatic and behavioural changes. Therefore the opportunities and threats posed locally to individual ski fields and nationally to the wider ski industry will be highlighted and discussed with relevance to the global ski industry. Preliminary findings will be presented including scope for further applicability and development.

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