School of GeoSciences

EEO-AGI(S) Series Programme

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

2020-21 Programme

Old Library, Geography, Drummond Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9XP

Unless otherwise indicated, all talks are held at 4.30pm in the Old Library, Institute of Geography , University of Edinburgh, Drummond Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9XP.

These are then followed by AGI Geo-Drinks in Teviot Library Bar, EH8 9AJ at 5.45 allowing plenty room for informal professional networking.


Friday 2nd Oct 2020, 5-6pm, Zoom

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Prof. Michael Peterson

University of Nebraska at Omaha

Title: Evaluating Feature Density on Large Scale Online Maps

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Comparing large scale maps from services like Google, Microsoft Bing, and Mapbox serves to evaluate both the rendering of the maps and the quality and completeness of the underlying vector data. A method is introduced to evaluate feature density for online mapping services. The comparison procedure generates map pairs at random locations using the Application Programmer Interface (API) for the different mapping services. The quality of each representation is then evaluated for feature and label density. The comparison is done for three different continents. For North America, it was found that maps from Google had consistently higher feature and label densities than those from Microsoft Bing and Mapbox. Google’s advantage in Europe was slightly less pronounced. Maps from Microsoft Bing were more detailed in Sub-Saharan Africa in comparison to both Google Maps and Mapbox. Maps from Mapbox, that relies exclusively on OpenStreetMap data, had the lowest feature and label density for all three areas compared to the other two services.

About the Speaker:

Michael Peterson is a professor of geography at the University of Nebraska at Omaha in the US. He has held appointments at a number of universities around the world including the University of Washington in Seattle, the University of Hawaii in Honolulu, Hawaii, the Freie University of Berlin, the Technical University of Vienna, Austria, the Applied University in Munich, Germany, Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, and Wuhan and Lanzhou Jiaotong universities in China. His published work is most closely related to maps and the Internet.  His first book, "Interactive and Animated Cartography," appeared over 25 years ago.  Other titles include "Maps and the Internet," "International Perspectives on Maps and the Internet," "Multimedia Cartography," and "Online Maps with APIs and Webservices." His most recent book is entitled "Mapping in the Cloud" and represents a guide on how to introduce online mapping in the classroom.

He is currently on leave from his university and has been living in Edinburgh since December 2019. 


Friday 16th Oct 2020, 5-6pm, Zoom

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David Cameron-Mackintosh

Survey Solutions Scotland

Title: Modern Surveying: Tech and Technique

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About the Talk:

David will give a fast-paced overview of modern survey data collection and data processing techniques. As well as touching on developments in GNSS receivers, total stations, laser scanning systems and photogrammetry he will look at the integration of these technologies at the equipment level and at the data processing level. 

About the Speaker:

David Cameron-Mackintosh is a Sales Director at Survey Solutions Group, one of the largest survey equipment suppliers in Scotland, who provide surveying equipment to many of the large infrastructure projects in Scotland such as the recent M8 upgrades, the new Queensferry Crossing and the Edinburgh Trams project as well as supplying many of the Scottish land survey companies. Their main focus is to allow their users to use the latest surveying technologies successfully.

As a graduate of Glasgow University he has been a guest lecturer for their Civil Engineering Surveying course in recent years. After several years as a land surveyor and a land survey manager he has been working with Survey Solutions Group for the last 17 years. 

Friday 13th Nov 2020, 5-6pm, Zoom

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María Arias de Reyna


Past President, OSGeo Foundation

Title: Integration Processes for Serverless Hybrid Cloud

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Most of our software is fueled by data; we need a flow of data passing through it. When we have to interconnect different decoupled components (databases, web services, streams,...), we usually write scriptish code as middleware to make that workflow of data. In this custom code, we are coupling something that should be decoupled. Could it be possible to decouple the systems while they are connected? Integration Processes are the "glue" between these software components. Automating the data flows, adding conditional steps, handling credentials in a secure way,... That's usually a tedious and repetitive task lots of developers do again and again. With Integration Processes frameworks we can make it simpler and reuse expertise from other developers. We could even build entire workflows without throwing a single line of code.

About the Speaker:

María is a Software Engineer and FOSS Advocate. She has been active on technological communities as speaker and organizer since 2004. She has been a community manager and core maintainer of several FOSS projects. Between 2017 and 2019 She was elected President of OSGeo, a foundation that serves as an umbrella for the most used geospatial free and open source software. She is also well-known as a feminist and Women In Tech activist. You can find more about her at:


Friday 27th Nov 2020, 5-6pm, Zoom

Special One-Off QnA Event

Quintin Lake

Architectural and Landscape Photographer and Geographer/Explorer

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Format - A Special Q&A Session:

A novel format  for EEO sees us welcome Quintin Lake who has recently completed his 5 year walk around the coastline of Britain and has since been kept busy with numerous radio and TV appearances.  During his epic journey Quintin has traversed a variety of landscapes, met a variety of people linving in these isles and created a fantastic archive of beautiful photography along the way.  You can submit questions in advance to and we'll put these to Quintin on the day accompanied by his stunning images.  In the year of Covid we hope this first in a duo of Getting Back to Nature events makes a welcome boost as we come towards the end of what has been a challenging year for so many.

About the Speaker:

Quintin Lake is a British Architectural and Landscape Photographer. He originally trained as an architect and his interest in geometry and serenity informs all his photographic work. When not working on assignment for clients worldwide he creates photographic art works in series based on long landscape walks and aspects of the built environment which are available as signed prints.  He has worked with over 300 clients including architects, building owners, interior designers, contractors, developers and engineers. His architectural photography has been published internationally and is represented by VIEW, the specialist architecture and interior design picture library.

Walked Landscapes

Quintin is inspired by the serenity of elemental wilderness landscapes travelled on foot. He undertakes multi-day walks alone, carrying a tent, which helps him discover unexpected features of the landscape and allows the spirit of the place to get under his skin. Walking becomes integral to the creative process. His photographic expeditions have taken him to 70 countries with a special emphasis on singular environments such as junglesdeserts and the arctic.

In more recent years his main area of interest has been the British Landscape. A walk from the source of the Thames to London led to walks along the Ridgeway, a 20 day journey across the mountains of Wales and then to a walk from the source of the Severn to the sea. In 2015 he embarked on a 10,000km walk around the British coast in sections called The Perimeter which he has recently completed resulting in being in great demand as a speaker.


Friday 4th Dec 2020, 5-6pm, Zoom

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Emma Hall

Kingston University

Title: Re-Wilding the City – a post pandemic re-think of urbanscape wildlife connectivity

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2020 has been the year we stopped, and nature carried on. “Re-wilding the city” isn’t just a concept anymore, it became a reality for many towns and cities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Globally, as urbanisation continues to fragment, degrade and destroy habitats, wildlife and biodiversity are in major decline: we need to re-think how we co-exist with nature in a post-pandemic world, while we are utilising ecosystem services more than ever (e.g. accessing our local parks and green spaces to maintain our mental health). To mitigate our fragmented city landscapes, we need to reconnect wildlife, and offer safe corridors of passage between more favourable habitat areas. Circuitscape software, based on graph theory, measures resistance to movement: can we use this desktop tool to run conservation mitigation scenarios aimed at improving wildlife connectivity in our cities, and can analysis of this data help decision makers create impactful change on the ground?   

About the Speaker:

Emma is an experienced GIS professional who has worked in public, private and academic sectors in consulting, teaching, and research-based roles. After completing her Bachelor’s degree in GIS at Newcastle University, she started her career as a GIS Technician, in a local government GIS team. Emma then became a GIS Specialist for the world’s first green energy company (Ecotricity). In this fast growing organisation, aside from providing GIS expertise to the development team, she also took on many other roles including community activism and ecological field work. It was during this time that she began to realise the importance of maintaining a balance with nature. In 2017, Emma entered academia as an industry expert for the Department of Applied Sciences at UWE Bristol where she taught GIS and remote sensing to environmental science students. Alongside this, she developed her own research interests, in particular how GIS could be used to tackle environmental and social problems. Now, Emma uses GIS as a spatial tool in conservation-based research at Kingston University, London. Her current funded work is modelling the effects of climatic, land-use, and land cover change on endemic flora in Madagascar. In July this year, her "Re-wilding the city" research poster won the Esri User Conference Map Competition in the "Communicating Science Spatially" category.


Friday 15th Jan 2020, 5-6pm, Zoom

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Dr. Kirsty Millican

Aerial Survey Projects Manager, Heritage Directorate, Historic Environment Scotland

Title: Remote sensing and archaeological landscape survey: introducing the Rapid Archaeological Mapping Programme


This talk will introduce the Rapid Archaeological Mapping Programme, an ongoing project at Historic Environment Scotland (HES) developing applications of remote sensing for archaeological landscape survey. As the lead publicly-funded body for the historic environment in Scotland, HES’ role includes the identification, recording, understanding and interpretation of the historic environment. This includes the archaeological mapping of sites and landscapes, a key role established for over a century. This function has benefited from the routine use of traditional aerial photography for over 70 years, but increased availability of other remote sensed data such as airborne laser scanning (ALS/Airborne LiDAR) and satellite data presents new opportunities. It is in this context that the Rapid Archaeological Mapping Programme has been developed as a research and development project that aims to develop protocols for creating systematic archaeological data across large areas, drawing heavily on remote sensed data. This talk will outline the project, the datasets used and the challenges encountered, presenting preliminary results for survey areas completed.

About the Speaker:

Dr Kirsty Millican is an archaeologist with expertise in aerial and cropmark archaeology. She has a BSc, MPhil and PhD in archaeology. As Aerial Survey Projects Manager at Historic Environment Scotland she is responsible for the aerial survey programme at HES, airborne mapping of cropmark archaeology and is a key member of the RAMP team. More widely, her research interests include Neolithic and Early Bronze Age Scotland, cropmark and landscape archaeology.

Friday 29th Jan 2020, 5-6pm, Zoom

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Dr. Petr Pridal

Founder & CEO, MapTiler

Title: To follow - Big Data Earth Observation, Machine Learning for Cartography, Vector Tiles and 3D