Research by the University of Sydney at Angkor began with a pilot study in 1998 carried out by Professor Roland Fletcher based on the theoretical appraisal of low density urbanism in his book “The Limits of Settlement Growth” (1995). In 2000 a 7000 sq km AIRSAR radar survey of the western end of the Tonle Sap, the great lake in central Cambodia, was carried out by Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)/National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for the Greater Angkor Project, including a 3000 sq km coverage of the site of Angkor. This survey provided the basis for the collaborative work with Ecole Française d'Extrême Orient, building on Dr Christophe Pottier’s pioneer ground survey in the 1990s, which enabled Dr Pottier and Dr Damian Evans to produce a comprehensive map of the whole of the approximately 1000 sq km area of Greater Angkor, and of the entire 3000 sq km catchment area of Angkor. On that basis two further research projects have been developed in collaboration with Ecole Française d'Extrême Orient (EFEO) and with Authority for the Protection and Management of Angkor and the Region of Siem Reap (APSARA), the Cambodian national agency that manage Angkor:
- The ongoing pure research of the Greater Angkor Project which has now received Australian Research Council Discovery grant funding from 2002 to 2014;
- The applied research of the Living with Heritage Project (2005-2009) funded by an Australian Research Council Linkage grant and run in collaboration with Godden Mackay Logan, one of Australia’s premier heritage consultancy firms.
The two projects have led to the establishment by the Cambodian and Australian governments, in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), of a USD 1.3 million consultancy for the Angkor Heritage Management Framework. The aim of the Angkor Heritage Management Framework is to develop a program for managing the entire Angkor region and to place the UNESCO World Heritage designated Angkor Heritage Park within a larger framework. After tendering, the consultancy has been won by Godden Mackay Logan.