The Northwest Earth Observation Network (NEON) is comprised of researchers from several institutions across the north-west of England with a shared interest in the application of Earth Observation data for scientific research. Current institutions participating in the network include Edge Hill University, The University of Salford, The University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (Lancaster), Lancaster University and Liverpool John Moores University. NEON members have a diverse range of interests and research applications, a taste of which can be seen below.

Dr. Chris Marston – Edge Hill University 

Chris Marston is a postdoctoral researcher at Edge Hill University. His research interests chrismarstonfocus on the application of satellite and airborne remote sensing datasets for landscape characterisation to investigate a variety of ecological and palaeoenvironmental problems with a particular focus on land cover mapping. Principle applications include (i) investigating spatio-temporal land cover change in sub-Saharan Africa and the potential ecological impacts of this change, (ii) the integration of modern remote sensing data with palaeoenvironmental reconstruction techniques to better inform our understanding of past environments through the analogous study of modern landscapes, and (iii) relating landscape and land cover characteristics to modelling disease transmission host distributions for the parasitic tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis.


Prof. Paul Aplin – Edge Hill University 

My central research theme is remote sensing of environmental paul-aplin-256x300distributions, with particular focus on spatial and temporal scales of observation, methods of land cover characterisation, and application to ecological problems. I was recently awarded the Royal Geographical Society’s Ralph Brown Expedition Award for monitoring peat swamp degradation in Malaysia, plus a NERC Airborne Research and Survey Facility gr
ant for acquiring hyperspectral and lidar data. I also hold a Discipline Bridging research grant to link remote sensing and palaeoecology for historic landscape reconstruction in southern Africa, and an associated South Africa National Parks research project. I am currently investigator on a project to investigate the environmental impact of exotic forest plantations in Chile, funded by the National Commission for Scientific Research and Technology. I engage widely in broader academic service and, after completing a term as Chairman of the Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society, I recently co-founded the Northwest Earth Observation Network (NEON), and before that the UK Tropical Peatland Working Group. I am an editorial board member or guest editor for the International Journal of Geographical Information Science, International Journal of Remote Sensing, ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, Land and Remote Sensing Applications: Science and Society; and I acted as Book Series Editor for the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing. I am active in knowledge exchange, recently leading the Natural Environment Research Council’s major Earth Observation Technology Cluster initiative.


Prof. F. Mark Danson – University of Salford

Mark Danson is Professor of Environmental Remote Sensing at Salford University. His mark dansonresearch interests are in mapping, modelling and understanding environmental change, specifically the effects of climate and human activity on the biosphere. His focus is on the application of Earth Observation satellite and airborne remote sensing imagery to monitor change in ecosystems. He pioneered the use of remote sensing to measure vegetation water content and applied these methods in research to predict wildfires in the Mediterranean and UK. Most recently, he developed the World’s first dual-channel full-waveform terrestrial laser scanner that is now being used to record the most accurate three-dimensional structural measurements of vegetation canopies ever made.


Dr. Daniel Morton – Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (Lancaster)

Dan works within the CEH Land Use group at Lancaster University.  Having previously worked as a theoretical ecologist, then ten years as geospatial software engineer, he decided to have a dabble at remote sensing.  His first project in this field involved developing processes for and then managing the production of LCM2007.  Dan constantly looks for ways to combine ecology, software and remote sensing to derive large scale analyses and products.  Recently he has worked with the Chilean government to develop methods for national scale monitoring of fruit crops, he has collaborated in the production UK wide agricultural map for 2015 (released in 02/2016) and was involved in a multi-organisation GB wide analysis to explore the decline of insect pollinators.  His current focus is the production of LCM2015 and developing automatic techniques for habitat and land cover monitoring from Sentinel satellites.


Dr. Elias Symeonakis – Manchester Metropolitan University

I am a Remote Sensing and GIS scientist with a Master’s degree in GIS (University College Elias_Symeonakis_photo_Beijing_smallLondon) and a PhD in Geography (King’s College London). Previously, I worked as a researcher or a lecturer in other institutions, such as the CSIRO (Australia), Royal Holloway, King’s College London, CGIAR/CIAT (Colombia), the University of Valencia (Spain) and the University of the Aegean (Greece). I have received funds for undertaking research in Europe, Africa, Australia and South America. More recently, I was awarded with a 4-year EU Marie Curie Career Integration Grant to carry out research in South Africa related with the monitoring of land degradation and desertification with the use of Earth Observation data. My research interests include mapping, monitoring and modelling of land use/cover change with Earth observation data and GIS, and land degradation and desertification in African and Mediterranean environments.


Prof. Peter Atkinson – Lancaster University

The main focus of my research has been in spatial data science Pete atkinsonand spatial and spatio-temporal statistics applied to a range of environmental and epidemiological phenomena using remote sensing and other big data. Four of the most significant themes of my research are in (i) remote sensing image downscaling and image fusion, based on explicit models of the space-time sampling framework, (ii) remote sensing of global changes in vegetation phenology and its climate drivers, (iii) spatial epidemiology of vector-borne disease transmission systems, including Trypanosomiasis and malaria, based on agent-based dynamic models and Bayesian mixed regression models, and (iv) spatial modeling of natural hazards and their impacts, including flood forecasting based on Kalman-filter variants, landslide susceptibility mapping based on mixed models, and near-Earth object impact simulation based on Newtonian orbital dynamics and big data. I have published 225 peer-reviewed articles on these topics in international scientific journals, my Thompson H-index is 38 in WoS, and I have led multiple large grants and supervised over 50 PhD students.


Dr. Angela Harris – The University of Manchester

Angela’s research interests focus on the innovative application of remote sensingAngela Harris Profile pic
for monitoring the impact of environmental change on vegetation communities, and to improve our understanding of ecosystem physical processes, particularly in climatically sensitive northern peatland ecosystems. She is interested in the novel use of Earth observation data across a range of temporal and spatial scales, which range from the collection of laboratory and in situ field spectroscopy data to the analysis of airborne and satellite imagery.


Ms. Julia Mcmorrow – The University of Manchester

My field is terrestrial remote sensing, specialising in the impacts of wildfire on peatland environments and subsequent restoration. I currently work on the spatial and temporal analysis of wildfire risk and carry out action research on wildfire knowledge exchange in the UK.  I hold a NERC Knowledge Exchange Fellowship.  The associated KE project, Knowledge for Wildfire; improving management of UK wildfire through knowledge exchange, involves liaising with fire, land management and academic stakeholders to join up emerging cross-sector interests, maximise the use of existing NERC-funded work, and promote new partnership research. I am a member of the England and Wales Wildfire Forum and other national stakeholder forums. I have also worked on remote sensing and GIS analysis of land cover change in tropical forests, and on the scholarship of interdisciplinary teaching and learning.

My research interests include wildfire and peatlands (Spatial and temporal analysis of wildfire risk; evaluation of satellite and fire service databases; wildfire and ecosystem services policy; and hyperspectral remote sensing of peat properties and (post-fire) peatland restoration) and tropical forests (remote sensing of tropical rain forest disturbance by fire, logging and agriculture; dynamics and policy drivers of land cover change in tropical forests; and remote sensing for precision agriculture of oil palm plantations).


Dr. Richard Armitage – University of Salford

My research interests centre round the application of GIS and Richard Armitageearth observation methods and technologies to the characterisation and interpretation of both the natural and human environment.  Part of my current work is looking at the impact of green spaces on the urban environment, with a focus on the role that they play in ecosystem services.  I also have research interests relating to more natural environments, and have been involved in work looking at fire risk in UK upland areas, and the development of new methods to characterise forest canopies using terrestrial laser scanning (TLS).  I am also interested in the looking at the potential of remote sensing for monitoring landscape change, and the impact that cloud cover has on operational applications of earth observation.  I have received research funding from a number of sources including: the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC); the European Union; Moors for the Future and various charities.  I actively engage in research supervision, and since joining Salford in 2003 have had eleven successful PhD completions.  I am also the current Vice Chairman of the Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society.


Prof. Serge Wich – Liverpool John Moores University

Serge Wich started his biology study at the University of Amsterdam, serge wichbut obtained his PhD in 2002 at Utrecht University. He worked as a post-doc at Utrecht University until 2005 when he joined Great Ape Trust of Iowa where he worked as a scientist until 2009 wh
en he joined the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program and the University of Zurich. He joined Liverpool John Moores University (Liverpool, UK) as a professor in primate biology in 2012. In 2014 he joined the UvA as a honorary professor for the conservation of the great apes. Serge is also a Founding Director of the non-profit,
His research focuses on primate behavioral ecology, tropical rain forest ecology and conservation of primates and their habitats. Research is strongly focused on the Indonesian island of Sumatra and Borneo and uses a mixture of observational and experimental fieldwork. At present the key species Serge studies is the Sumatran orangutan where he is involved in research at various field sites of wild and reintroduced orangutans. Serge is also involved in island-wide surveys and analyses of orangutan distribution and density and the impact of land use changes on their populations. Together with Dr. Lian Pin Koh he founded and uses drones for conservation applications.


Dr. Irene Delgado-Fernandez – Edge Hill University

Irene Delgado-Fernandez is a Reader in Coastal Processes at Irene delgado-fernandezEdge Hill University with academic and work experience in Spain (BA, MSc Marine Sciences), Australia (MSc visiting student), Canada (PhD), and Ireland (NERC Post-doc). Her areas of interest are coastal dune dynamics, coastal geomorphology, wind turbulence and aeolian sediment transport. She acts as a reviewer for a number of international journals (including Geomorphology and Marine Geology) and grant agencies such as the Australian Research Cou
ncil. Her work has been recently featured as a research highlight in Eos (Transactions American Geophysical Union), published by the Journal of Geophysical Research (ranked in the top 10% of the Multidisciplinary Geosciences) and featured by Charles Choi, a reported for Scientific American, in Our Amazing Planet ( Irene currently works in collaboration with a number of institutions managing the Sefton Coast including Natural England and The National Trust.


Dr. Neil Entwistle – University of Salford

Currently a Lecturer at the University of Salford, I focus on teaching Neil Entwistleand researching physical geography. Specific areas of research are hydromorphology, river restoration, sediment transport dynamics, catchment connectivity, flooding and ecohydraulics. My research centres on Terrestrial and Aerial Laser Scanning (TLS and ALS), and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to map and subsequently model spatial and temporal changes in hydraulics, biotopes fluvial habitat and flooding often using 1, 2 & 3 dimension river simulation. Pre- and post- river restoration monitoring has been a specific academic research interest of mine and strong links have been formed with the UK River Restoration Centre and the development of their River Restoration Inventory ( A river restoration partnership project on the River Trent in Staffordshire has flourished and is so successful that we are finalists in the European River Restoration 2016 prize.
The significance of single thread, wandering and anastomosed systems are a particular research interest of mine, especially given the importance of WFD drivers and the push to achieve “reference conditions” with river restoration and flood mitigation.


Dr. Luis Carrasco Tornero – Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (Lancaster)

Luis is a Research Associate with the CEH Land Use group at Lancaster.  He is interested in luis torneroland cover change and its effects on biodiversity. He uses remote sensing and GIS techniques to create habitat maps and to model the distribution of animal species. During his PhD he spent four years in central Japan investigating how herons and egrets colonies distribute in agricultural landscapes.  He is currently working on the production of CEH’s new UK Land Cover Map 2015, and will be helping developing new techniques to exploit satellite data from ESA’s Copernicus programme.


Dr. Lucy Schofield – University of Salford

Lucy Schofield has recently completion her NERC-funded PhD research supervised by Lucy schofieldProf Mark Danson and Dr Neil Entwistle. Her thesis has focussed on the characterisation of the seasonal dynamics of UK woodland vegetation structure, using dual-wavelength terrestrial laser scanning. The work has involved developing a radiometric calibration for the SALCA instrument, investigating leaf-wood separation using dual-wavelength LiDAR, and quantitatively examining the spatial and temporal characteristics of foliage in a range of UK forest types. Lucy has a background in Physical Geography (BSc, University of Leicester), GIS (MSc, Sheffield Hallam University) and three years of experience working in environmental consultancies prior to commencing her PhD in October 2012.


Dr. Stefania Amici – The University of Manchester

Stefania Amici is Honorary Research Fellowship (The University of Manchester -SEED) andStefania Amici crop researcher at Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV) in Rome Italy. She has
worked on remote sensing for 20 years. Staring with BSc thesis on “Imaging spectroscopy of Saturn System: VIMS-V instrument and its calibration, (on board of Cassini Mission), she shifted focus to natural hazards in her first position at INGV. She completed her PhD at Department of Earth Science, University of Parma in 2010 on calibration and validation (CAL/VAL) of Remote Sensing data and spectral characterization of volcanic rocks. Involved in several EU research projects for environmental safety and monitoring, she has recently lead WP titled “Spectral characterization of open fire”, ASI-AGI n.0004190. Her research interests focus on natural hazards including forest fires, volcanic hazards, flooding.
At SEEd she is working od aerial high resolution hyperspectral data for validation of the peat moorland burn scar derived by Optical and SAR satellites.


Dr. Gail Millin-Chalabi – The University of Manchester

Gail Millin-Chalabi is the GIS and Remote Sensing officer for the School of Environment, gail3Education and Development (SEED) at The University of Manchester. She has worked in the geospatial industry for over 10 years. Gail has recently completed her JISC / University of Manchester funded PhD research supervised by Ms. Julia McMorrow and Prof. Clive Agnew  titled ‘Radar Multi-Temporal and Multi-Sensor Approach to Characterise Peat Moorland Burn Scars and Assess Burn Scar Persistence in the Landscape’. Her research explores the effect of environmental parameters such as precipitation, land cover and slope on the SAR signal and how these variables can both enhance/inhibit the detection of burn scars after a wildfire. Gail is also interested in assessing the effect of the various radar parameters themselves on burn scar detection such as radar frequency, incidence angle and polarization. She has recently won the Copernicus Masters Sustainable Living Challenge award for the EnviroSAR initiative which aims to create a targeted service to facilitate the management of wildfires in UK moorlands and heathlands.


Ms. Ghada Ahwaidi – University of Salford

Ghada Ahwaidi is a postgraduate researcher at Salford University. Her research focuses on the application of satellite to detect the vegetation change in north east Libya and identify the factors that effect on vegetation cover change. It focuses on: i) investigating climate change in the area and its effect on vegetation change over 50 years; and ii) the effect of human activity on vegetation change. For this research, she uses the time series Landsat imagery starting from 1972 to present, and uses three vegetation indices (NDVI, SAVI and EVI) to map out images for correlation and linear regression of the area. Additionally, image classification uses to determine land cover change. This research used ERDAS Imagine and ArcGIS to examine the Landsat images and generate new maps for the area.


Mr. Ibrahim Gumel – Edge Hill University

Ibrahim Gumel is a PhD candidate at Edge Hill University.Ibrahim Gumel crop His research interest is on urban remote sensing with special focus on the global south. The focus of his research revolves around using historical and modern remotely sensed data-sets to map land cover and land use, perform change detection analysis and critique urban planning. He is currently looking at the growth of planned cities in Africa with Abuja, Nigeria as a case study.


Mr. Nicholas O’Keeffe – Edge Hill University

Nick O’Keeffe is a postgraduate researcher at Edge Hill Nick O'KeefeUniversity. His research interests concern coastal geomorphology, aeolian processes and sand dune evolution. More specifically, the role blowouts play as sediment transport pathways in foredune evolution.

Having completed his BSc in Geography in 2014 Nick returned to Edge Hill as a Graduate Teaching Assistant. His PhD research project entitled ‘Characterising sediment transport through blowouts, their role in bypassing frontal dunes in beach-dune interaction and the impact these transport pathways have on coastline evolution’ was registered with the university in January, 2016.

His research to date has utilised remotely sensed data and has focused on changes in the levels of bare sand on the Sefton coast, the relationship of these changes to climate and anthropogenic factors, along with potential implications to future management practices.


Mr. Peter Kabano – The University of ManchesterPeter Kabano_profile pic (2)

Peter Kabano is a postgraduate researcher at The University of Manchester. Having successfully completed his Masters, he was inspired and motivated to further pursue his Masters dissertaion topic in detail on a PhD position. His research focuses on using remote sensing to assess the influence of tropical urban climates on vegetation dynamics (phenology) in the tropics using Kampala as a case study city. The study spatially and temporally characterises the urban climate to better establish the drivers of observed phenology patterns.


Mr. Aneurin O’Neil – Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (Lancaster)

Nye O’Neil is currently a GIS/ Remote Sensing scientist in the nyeLand Use Group at CEH Lancaster, working on Land Cover Map 2015. Previously, he worked as a casual Research Assistant in the Edge Hill University Geosciences department between October 2015 and February 2016. His background is Geography (BSc, Edge Hill University) and Conservation Management (MSc, Edge Hill University), where his thesis classified historical aerial photography of Ainsdale National Nature Reserve, Sefton Coast, monitoring the decline of bare sand and the associated vegetation encroachment, considering the influence of changing climatic conditions and management history.