Allison was born in Trinidad, where she completed her BSc in Surveying at the University of the West Indies.
She holds a PhD from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK (1996) specialising in the areas of Kalman filtering, integrated positioning systems and quality control. Allison combined her theoretical expertise with practical knowledge through two years of industrial experience. This involved technical support and product management for GPS/GLONASS manufacturers Ashtech Ltd.
In 1997 Allison returned to academia and was appointed as a post doctoral research associate at Curtin University of Technology, Western Australia.
Allison is currently employed as a lecturer at the University of Melbourne, and is the first female academic to be appointed within the Department of Geomatics.