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A Seminar Series in GIS, Remote Sensing, and GeoInformatics organised by the Edinburgh Earth Observatory in conjunction with the AGI-Scotland.

The University of Edinburgh School of GeoSciences is pleased to host this seminar series, presenting topics in the broad areas of geographical information and remote sensing, under the auspices of the Edinburgh Earth Observatory.

This prestigious series combines research seminars with talks of professional interest and is open to students and staff across the University and beyond, together with professionals in the field working in Edinburgh and other parts of Scotland. Supported by the Association for Geographic Information in Scotland (AGI Scotland) as a professional seminar series, it aims to be inclusive and broad-ranging. Talks are timed for the late afternoon to bring a social dimension. 

Click here to read more about the Edinburgh Earth Observatory (EEO) and upcoming seminar dates.

Past Event Blogs

Friday 4 December 2020

Emma Hall has a varied experience in Geospatial data and analysis, with time spent in teaching, research, consulting and other professional pursuits. Her experience has led her to the subject of rewilding in urban landscapes specifically, which she discussed with us all attending the EO seminar on Friday 4th December.

Using interactive tools, Emma discussed the prospect of rewilding through the lens of our current experience dealing with Covid-19. Primarily, our experience of urban wildlife and the changing interactions we have with that wildlife in respect to Edinburgh. Urban wildlife’s experience has also clearly changed, as multiple factors, including less road traffic, have been identified as clear facilitators of some more visible wildlife activity. Discussed with the audience, this included more brazen behaviours in foxes, badgers, riverine mammals and predatory birds. It is anecdotally shared that this is because of less light, less noise and less motion.

Emma goes on to discuss the possibility of extending this experience of urban wildlife post lockdown. Using case studies from other European cities and going into some insights and actions, there were some unexpected examples of environmental change and how human influence could be reformed to benefit species groups and facilitate natural introduction and reintroduction. This included the application of alternative, low impact urban lighting and the greening of current urban infrastructure such as buildings and bus stops.

This relates directly to Emma’s research. Focused in Bristol Emma, utilised opensource analysis and visualisation tools, namely Circuitscape, to analyse the existing and potential habitat connectivity of the city. High resolution satellite imagery and transit assets (including nature retrofitted bus shelters) were combined to visualise the extent of connectivity, thus inferring the ability for the English Southwest’s resident wildlife to traverse and move in the city. The product of this analysis and visualisation was a cost-surface – a tool wildly used in study in natural history, human migration and often scaled up to global contexts (Kondo et al 2018, Meier et al 2012). Although Emma’s findings couldn’t be shared fully pre-publication, her research output and the application of open source tools allow for a novel and, importantly, spatially relevant assessment of how wildlife could be mobile and thrive in an urban environment. It was clear throughout this seminar that environmental-spatial modelling is key to support decision making in environmental management for more accommodating and ecologically exciting landscapes.

We thank Emma for the time taken to explore the concepts and showcase a part of her work in urban rewilding, contextualised and emphasised by the current situation.

Written by James Tomlinson, MSc EOGM, Edinburgh GeoSciences

Meier, E.S., Lischke, H., Schmatz, D.R. and Zimmermann, N.E., 2012. Climate, competition and connectivity affect future migration and ranges of European trees. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 21(2), pp.164-178.

Kondo, Y., Sano, K., Omori, T., Abe-Ouchi, A., Chan, W.L., Kadowaki, S., Naganuma, M., O’ishi, R., Oguchi, T., Nishiaki, Y. and Yoneda, M., 2018. Ecological Niche and Least-Cost Path Analyses to Estimate Optimal Migration Routes of Initial Upper Palaeolithic Populations to Eurasia. In The Middle and Upper Paleolithic Archeology of the Levant and Beyond (pp. 199-212). Springer, Singapore.

Friday 27 November 2020

Quintin Lake came to answer questions from members of the EEO-AGI, after completing his 5-year photography project, ‘The Perimeter’. The project entailed photographing 10,000km along the British coastline, entirely on foot. Taking questions from the audience, he discussed topics ranging from his earlier work, the beauty of the natural and urban landscapes he captured, to the highlights and challenges he faced.

One of the questions that came up was any of his observations of climate change along the way. He admitted that while he didn’t see any, he saw extreme contrasts of light pollution from the red hazy nights near cities compared to the star-lit skies over rural south-west Wales and north-west Scotland. He also noted evidence of an astonishing amount of pollution along the coasts, which we should be more respectful towards.

When asked about the spontaneity of his shooting, Quintin explained that he would shoot around 400 shots per day, covering 20-40km of ground for only 30 “keepers” and a few publishable photos. He did plan a few shots using a phone app for offline local Wikipedia pages, maps for the areas he was travelling by for each leg of the walk, and a photographer’s ephemeris. These would guide him along areas that had poor phone signal and would allow him to predict scenes for some amazing shots, such as:

"Dawn at Bamburgh Castle" - Northumberland. Copyright Quintin Lake, 2020. (Available to view here

Quintin mentioned accessibility to up-to-date maps of coastal paths as the southern English coastline rapidly eroded was a concern. Many areas of coastline were also on private estates, or MoD firing ranges. Whilst the former required diversions inland, the latter required permissions to cross.

 The photos from ‘The Perimeter’ are available to view on Quintin’s blog as he continues to update his final leg of his journey at His other work is also viewable on his website, .

Written by Séamus O'Donnell, MSc GIS, Edinburgh GeoSciences

Click here to view Past Blogs

2 October 2020 - Professor Michael Peterson

16 October 2020 - David Cameron-Macintosh

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