Ph.D. (awarded 1989) “Applications of Digital Image Processing for Automation in Palynology”,
Department of Electronic Engineering, The University of Hull.
B.Sc. Hons. (awarded 1984) Physical Geography and Geology, The University of Hull.
- currently – Reader, Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Science, University of South Wales
- 2003-2013 Principal Lecturer, Faculty of Advanced Technology, University of Glamorgan.
- 1996-2001 Course Director, M.Sc. in Geographical Information Systems, The University of Leicester
- 1994, 1995, and 1997. Visiting International Scientist. The Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research, Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CGIAR – C.I.A.T.), Cali, Colombia, South America.
- 1991-2003 Lecturer, Department of Geography, The University of Leicester.
- 1989-1991 Research Associate, Midlands Regional Research Laboratory, The University of Leicester
- 1987-1989 Research Associate, Computers in Teaching Initiative, The University of Leicester
Areas of Expertise: Quantitative and Computational Geography; Spatial Analysis and spatial analytical modelling; Spatial accessibility modelling and geographical accessibility metrics – Enhanced Two-step Floating Catchment Area methodologies; Dasymetric mapping – principles, methods, and applications; Areal interpolation methodologies and small-area population estimation; Population distribution modelling and construction of population density surfaces; Spatial databases: design and implementation; Spatial information systems: design and implementation. Software engineering particularly in the development of geospatial add-in tools; Geographical Information Systems – ArcGIS, QGIS, JumpGIS, ERDAS Imagine; Environmental (in)equality and (in)justice; Environmental and social applications of remotely sensed imagery.
Ph.D. – External Examiner
Ph.D. – Internal Examiner
Ph.D. – Research Supervision
M.Sc. – Masters Project Supervision
B.Sc. – Undergraduate Project Supervision
Teaching: MSc Computing Scheme:
– ICT Systems Development (Spatial Databases);
Teaching: B.Sc./MComp Computing Scheme:
– Yr1: C# Computer Programming;
– Yr2: Database Development (spatially-enabled databases);
– Yr2: Team Application Project with Professional Practice and Employability;
– Yr3: GIS and the Spatial Web (Mapping APIs, OpenLayers & GeoServer);
Active Peer Reviewer for International Scientific Journals; including recently:
Applied Geography, International Journal of Geographical Information Science; Transactions in Geography; Geographical Analysis; The Professional Geographer; Computers, Environment, and Urban Systems; Applied Spatial Analysis and Policy; The International Journal of Science and Technology; British Medical Council Health Services Research; Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing; Habitat International; The Journal of Maps
Langford, M., Higgs, G. and Radcliffe, J. (2018) “The application of network-based GIS tools to investigate spatial variations in the provision of sporting facilities” Annals of Leisure Research. 21:2, 178-198. Published Online 13 Jan 2017. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/11745398.2016.1272059
Page, N., Langford, M. and Higgs, G. (2017) “Measuring spatial accessibility to services within indices of multiple deprivation: implications of applying an enhanced two-step floating catchment area (E2SFCA) approach” Applied Spatial Analysis and Policy Published Online 28 Dec 2017 https://doi.org/10.1007/s12061-017-9246-2
Thomas, H., Crocker, S., Wilton, J.,Davies, C., Langford, M.,and Higgs, G. (2017) “Childcare Capacity in Wales: Mapping childcare supply against potential demand” Government Social Research 65/2107. Welsh Government. http://gov.wales/statistics-and-research/childcare-capacity-wales ISBN 978-1-78859-804-0
Higgs, G., Jones, S. Langford, M. and Heley, J. (2017) “Assessing the impacts of changing public service provision on geographical accessibility: an examination of public library provision in Pembrokeshire, South Wales” Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy
Higgs, G., Zahnow, R, Corcoran, J. Langford, M. and Fry, R. (2017) “Modelling spatial access to General Practitioner surgeries: Does public transport availability matter?” Journal of Transport & Health. doi:10.1016/j.jth.2017.05.361 http://authors.elsevier.com/sd/article/S2214140516303243
Frew, R., Higgs, G. Harding, J. and Langford, M. (2017) “Investigating geospatial data usability from a health geography perspective using sensitivity analysis: the example of potential accessibility to primary healthcare” Journal of Transport & Health. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jth.2017.03.013
Page, N., Langford, M. and Higgs, G (2017) “Community-level Social Capital and Public Service Provision: A Position Paper and Research Agenda” 1639 Urban Services: Interactions, Mobilities, Engagements, Association of American Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting, The Hynes Convention Center, Boston, Massachusetts, 5th-9th April, 2017.
Langford, M., Higgs, G. and Fry, R. (2016) “Multi-modal Two-step Floating Catchment Area Analysis of Primary Health Care Accessibility” Health & Place. 38, 70-81. DOI:10.1016/j.healthplace.2015.11.007
Langford, M., Higgs G. and Fry, R. 2015 “USW-FCA2: An ArcGIS add-In tool to compute Enhanced Two-Step Floating Catchment Area accessibility scores” Software Package – ArcMap add-in Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/287198887_USW-FCA2_An_ArcGIS_add-In_tool_to_compute_Enhanced_Two-Step_Floating_Catchment_Area_accessibility_scores. DOI:10.13140/RG.2.1.3178.8884
Langford, M. Higgs, G and Fry R. 2015 “Measuring Assess to Primary Health Care using Two-Step Floating Catchment Areas and a Public/Private Multi-modal Transport Network” Plurimondi: An International Forum for Research and Debate on Human Settlement. Reflections on theoretical and quantitative geography (I) Vol. 8, No.16, 29-52.
Langford, M. Higgs, G and Fry R. 2015 “Measuring Assess to Primary Health Care using Two-Step Floating Catchment Areas and a Public/Private Multi-modal Transport Network” ECTQ2015: The XIX European Colloquium in Theoretical and Quantitative Geography Mediterranean Agronomic Institute Bari (MAIB), Bari, Italy. 3rd-7th September 2015.
Higgs, G. Langford, M. and Norman P. 2015 “Accessibility to sport facilities in Wales: A GIS-based analysis of socio-economic variations in provision.” Geoforum. 62, 105-120.
Frew, R. Higgs, G. Langford, M. and Harding J. 2015 “Assessing geographic data usability in analytical contexts: Undertaking sensitivity analysis of geospatial processes” Proceedings of the 23rd Annual GIS Research UK Conference, Leeds University 15th-17th April 2015, p38.
Langford, M., Higgs G. and Fry, R. 2014 “USWFCA : An ArcGIS (10.1/10.2) Add-In tool to compute Enhanced Two-Step Floating Catchment Area accessibility scores” Software Package (ArcGIS AddIn) Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/261398233_USWFCA__An_ArcGIS_(10.110.2)Add-In_tool_to_compute_Enhanced_Two-Step_Floating_Catchment_Area_accessibilityscores
Langford, M., Higgs G. and Fry, R. 2014 “USWFCA Installation and Usage Instructions” Installation Instructions available at:
Langford, M. (2013) “An evaluation of small area population estimation techniques using open access ancillary data.” Geographical Analysis. 45, 324-344.
Higgs, G., Langford, M. (2013) “Investigating the validity of rural-urban distinctions in the impacts of changing service provision: the example of postal service reconfiguration in Wales.” Geoforum. 47, 53-64.
Higgs, G., Langford, M. and Fry, R. (2013) “Investigating variations in the provision of digital services in public libraries using network-based GIS models.” Library & Information Science Research. 35, 24-32.
Langford, M., Higgs, G., and Fry, R. (2012) “Using floating catchment analysis (FCA) techniques to examine intra-urban variations in accessibility to public transport opportunities: the example of Cardiff, Wales.” Journal of Transport Geography. 25, 1-14.
Higgs, G., Fry, R. and Langford, M. (2012) “Investigating the implications of using alternative GIS-based techniques to measure accessibility to green space.” Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design. 39(2) 326 – 343.
Langford, M., Fry, R. and Higgs, G. (2012) “Measuring transit system accessibility using a modified two-step floating catchment technique.” International Journal of Geographical Information Science. 26(2) 193 – 214.
Berry, R., Higgs, G., Fry, R. and Langford M. (2011) “Web-based GIS approaches to enhance public participation in wind farm planning.” Transactions in Geographical Information Systems. 15(2): 147–172.
Langford, M. and Higgs, G (2011) “Evaluating the performance of the binary dasymetric interpolation model at the lowest census dissemination level” 1416 Interpolation and Uncertainty in Small-Area Estimates 1, Association of American Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting, Washington State Convention Center, Seattle, Washington, 12th-16th April, 2011.
Langford, M., Fry, R., Higgs, G. (2011). “A modified two-step floating catchment area technique for measuring transit system accessibility”. Proceedings of the 19th Annual GIS Research UK Conference, Portsmouth University 27th-29th April 2011, 220-229.
Berry, R., Higgs, G., Fry, R., Langford, M. (2011). “Web GIS for enhancing public participation in wind farm planning”. Proceedings of the 19th Annual GIS Research UK Conference, Portsmouth University 27th-29th April 2011, 220-229.
Langford, M. and Higgs, G. (2010) “Accessibility and public service provision: evaluating the impacts of the Post Office Network Change Programme in the UK”." Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. 35(4), 585-601.
Higgs, G. and Langford, M. (2009) “GIScience, environmental justice, and estimating populations at risk: The case of landfills in Wales”." Applied Geography. 29, 63-76.
Langford, M., Higgs, G., Radcliffe, J., and White, S. (2008) “Urban population distribution models and service accessibility estimation”." Computers, Environment and Urban Systems. 32(1), 66-80.
Higgs, G., Berry, R., Kidner, D. and Langford, M. (2008) ) “Using IT approaches to promote public participation in renewable energy planning: Prospects and Challenges”." Land Use Policy. 25(4), 596-607.
Langford M. (2007) ) “Rapid facilitation of dasymetric-based population interpolation by means of raster pixel maps”." Computers, Environment and Urban Systems. 31(1), 19-32.
Berry, R., Higgs, G., Kidner, D., Langford, M. (2007). “Examining the potential of Internet-based Landscape and Visual Impact tools to promote public participation in wind farm planning. Proceedings of the 15th Annual GIS Research UK Conference, Maynooth, Ireland, 10th-13th April, 2007.
Berry, R., Higgs, G., Kidner, D., Langford, M. (2007). “Examining the potential of Internet-based geographical information systems to promote public participation in wind farm planning”. Royal Geographical Society – Institute of British Geographers (RGS-IBG) Annual Conference, London, 29th-31st August 2007.
Langford M. and Higgs G. (2006) ) “Measuring Potential Access to Primary Healthcare Services: The Influence of Alternative Spatial Representations of Population.” The Professional Geographer. 58(3), 294-306.
Langford M. (2006) ) “Obtaining population estimates in non-census reporting zones: An evaluation of the 3-class dasymetric method”." Computers, Environment and Urban Systems. 30(2), 161-180.
Langford M., and Higgs, G. (2005) “Measuring potential access to primary healthcare services in Wales: The influence of alternative spatial representations of population”, In BILLEN, R. et al (Eds.) Proceedings of the 13th Annual GIS Research UK Conference, University of Glasgow, UK. pp1-15.
Langford M. (2005) “Dasymetric mapping of industry and commerce across Wales, UK, using geospatial integration of national mapping agency products”. ACSM-CLSA-NALS-WFPS Congress on Surveying and Mapping, Las Vegas. USA.
Langford M. (2004) “Populated pixel maps: a simple method to facilitate dasymetric areal interpolation”. Proceedings of the 12th Annual GIS Research UK Conference, University of East Anglia, UK. pp370-372.
Langford M. (2003) “Refining methods for dasymetric mapping using satellite remote sensing”. In: Mesev, V. (Ed) Remotely Sensed Cities, Taylor & Francis: London. pp137-156.
Robinson S, Langford M. and Tate N. (2002) “Modelling Population Distribution with OS LandLine.Plus data and Landsat Imagery”. Proceedings of the 11th Annual GIS Research UK Conference, University of Sheffield, UK. pp320-325.
Langford M. and Harvey J. (2001) “The Use of Remotely Sensed Data for Spatial Disaggregation of Published Census Population Counts”. Proceedings IEEE/ISPRS Joint Workshop on Remote Sensing and Data Fusion over Urban Areas, Spazio Congressi, Rome. pp260-264.
Martin D, Tate N, and Langford M. (2000) “Refining population surface models; experiments with Northern Ireland census data”. Transactions in Geographical Information Systems. 4(4), 342-360.
Langford, M. and Tate N. (2000) “Enhancing models of dasymetric population mapping”, RSS2000, Leicester University, UK.
Cockings, S., Fisher, P. and Langford, M. (1997) “Parameterisation and visualisation of the errors in areal interpolation”. Geographical Analysis. 29(4), 314-328.
Langford, M. and Bell, W. (1997). “Land cover mapping in a tropical hillsides environment: A case study in the Cauca region of Colombia”. International Journal of Remote Sensing. 18(6), 1289-1306. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/014311697218421
Langford, M., Bell, W. (1997) “A comparison between an image processing approach and a GIS approach to improving land cover mapping using multi-source satellite imagery”. Proceedings of the 5th Annual GIS Research UK Conference,, University of Leeds, UK. pp56-64.
Fisher, P. and Langford, M. (1996) “Modelling sensitivity to accuracy in classified imagery: A study of areal interpolation”. The Professional Geographer. 48(3), 299-309.
Fisher, P and Langford, M. (1995) “Modeling the errors in areal interpolation between zonal systems by Monte Carlo simulation”. Environment and Planning A. 27, 211–224. https://doi.org/10.1068/a270211
Langford, M. and Unwin, D. (1994) “Generating and mapping population density surfaces within a geographical information system”. The Cartographic Journal. 31, 21-26.
Strachan A. and Langford, M. (1994) “Diploma/M.Sc. in GIS – The Leicester Experience”. Proceedings EGIS’94, Paris, France. pp812-821.
Langford, M., Dykes, J., Wood, J (1994) “The design and implementation of a flexible GIS teaching resource”. Proceedings EGIS’94, Paris, France. pp243-251.
Langford, M., and Fisher P. (1994) “Measuring the Accuracy of Cross Areal Population Estimates”. Proceedings AGI93, Birmingham, UK. 3.22.1-3.22.8
Unwin D, Langford, M. (1993) “The life and death of LIPS: Some lessons from the design and use of courseware for teaching digital image processing”. IEE Colloquium on Teaching of Digital Image Processing in Universities, London UK. 21-21 Oct. 1993
Langford, M., Fisher, P. and Troughear, D. (1993) “Comparative Accuracy Measurements of the Cross Areal Interpolation of Population”. Proceedings EGIS’93, Genoa, Italy. pp663-674.
Derbyshire, E., Unwin, D, Fang, X and Langford, M. (1992). “The Fourier frequency-domain representation of sediment fabric anisotrophy”. Computers and Geosciences. 18, 63-73.
Langford, M., Maguire, D. and Unwin, D. (1991) “The areal interpolation problem: Estimating population using remote sensing in a GIS framework” In Handling geographic information: Methodology and potential applications. I. Masser and M. Blakemore. London, Longman: pp55-77.
Langford, M. and Strachan, A. (1991) “Getting Started in GIS: cost effective solutions and academic support”. AGI91 Conference Papers, Section 3.7
Langford, M., Taylor, G. and Flenley, J. (1990). " Computerised identification of pollen grains by texture analysis." Review of PalaeoBotany and Palynology. 64, 97-203. https://doi.org/10.1016/0034-6667(90)90133-4
Langford, M., Maguire, D. and Unwin, D. (1990) “Cross area population estimation using remote sensing and GIS”. Proceedings of the 4th International Symposium on Spatial Data Handling, Zurich, Switzerland. Vol.1, 541-550.
Langford, M., Unwin, D. and Maguire, D. (1990) “Generating improved population density maps in an integrated GIS”. Proceedings EGIS’90, Amsterdam, Netherlands. pp651-660.
Langford, M., Taylor, G. and Flenley, J. (1986) “The application of texture analysis for automated pollen identification”. Proceedings of the Conference on Identification and Pattern Recognition, Toulouse, France. Vol.2. 729-739. Universite Paul Sabatier.
2017. “Analysing the Sporting Infrastructure of Wales”. Commissioned by the Sports Facilities Review Programme, Department for Economy, Skills and Natural Resources, Welsh Assembly Government.
2016. “Childcare Provision Gap Analysis” commissioned by the Social Research and Information Division of the Welsh Assembly Government. The primary purpose of this contract was to undertake analyses of the spatial distribution of childcare provision relative to potential demand across Wales. The programme consisted of a series of advanced spatial statistical models using Two-Step Floating Catchment Areas Analysis, to evaluate the total capacity of childcare providers against the likely demand arising within local geographical levels (specifically Output Area and Lower Super Output Area). The research has had impact in terms of its use by the Welsh Government to explore geographical gaps in current childcare provision and to inform future policy development in regard to a manifesto pledge for free childcare provision for all working parents.
2015. “A customised GIS system for investigating inequalities in access to sporting facilities
in Wales”. Commissioned by SportWales. This project consisted of the development of a customised tool for use in ArcMap to provided bespoke accessibility analyses. The tool was bundled with a geodatabase containing pertinent open access data and 2011 census statistics which allowed the client to analyse variations in the spatial availability of sporting facilities across Wales and to investigate potential associations in provision with socio-economic characteristics of the local population demographics.
My primary research expertise is as a quantitative geographer and a computer scientist. My research interests are broadly based in the fields of spatial data modelling and geostatistical analyses, while my research activities and outputs have been focused in the fields of geographical and spatial analyses, geographical information systems/science, computer programming/software engineering, and digital image processing of satellite-derived remotely sensed data.
As is typical for academics, my research has followed a winding path. In my earliest days, under the guidance of Professor John Flenley, I became a pioneer in the field of “automated palynology”. Palynology is the study of the pollen grains produced by plants (and spores produced by fungi). The identification of pollen assemblages trapped in mud cores extracted from lake floors and bog lands is an important scientific technique. It allows the reconstruction of paleo-climates and paleo-environments. In simple terms, preserved fossil pollen help scientists to reconstruct and better understand past ecological and climatic conditions. Pollen analysis has considerable commercial value, often being used in the search for oil and gas reserves, and occasionally has been employed in forensic criminal investigations too. The analysis of pollen assemblages is traditionally a highly skilled task using visual identification of optical or scanning-electron microscopy imagery. This is time-consuming, costly, and requires the services of highly trained experts. In the early 1980’s machine vision, pattern recognition, and digital image processing were all niche areas of computer science. Professor John Flenley had the vision to question whether this embryonic technology could be applied to pollen identification – and this became the topic of my Ph.D. My Ph.D. thesis established the basic principle that potentially pollen identification could be automated by computing statistical image texture descriptors fed in to pattern recognition and classification algorithms. This pioneering work was far from a working solution, being limited to a small set of scanning electron microscopy imagery and half a dozen pollen taxa, but its publication in the Journal “Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology (“Computerized identification of pollen grains by texture analysis”, 1990, 64(1-4):197-203) has proven to be a catalyst for much on-going research and has now been cited in over 50 international peer-reviewed publications that continue to pursue the goal of a fully automated pollen recognition system. With enormous advances in computing power, digital image processing has since become an everyday activity, and automated palynology appears now to be a reality….
2016 Gonçalves at. al. Feature Extraction and Machine Learning for the Classification of Brazilian
Savannah Pollen Grains. PLoS ONE 11(6): DOI10.1371/journal.pone.0157044
2015 Maros J.R. et. al. Automated pollen identification using microscopic imaging and texture analysis. Micron 68
2009 DellAnna R. et. al. Pollen discrimination and classification by Fourier transform infrared
(FT-IR) microspectroscopy and machine learning. Anal. Bioanal. Chem. 394
2005 Ivleva N. et. al. Characterization and discrimination of pollen by Raman microscopy.
Anal. Bioanal. Chem. 381
2004 Zhang Y. et.al. Towards automation of palynology 3: pollen pattern recognition using Gabor
transforms and digital moments. J. Quat. Sci. 19
2003 Pappas C. et. al. New method for pollen identification by FT-IR spectroscopy. Appl. Spectroscopy 57
2002 Boucher A. et. al. Development of a semi-automatic system for pollen recognition. Aerobiologia 18
1999 Li P. and Flenley J.R. Pollen texture identification using neural networks. Grana 38
After my Ph.D. my research activities and outputs focused on the following themes: the development, evaluation and application of spatial interpolation techniques particularly those associated with small-area population estimation; methodological developments and practical applications of dasymetric mapping techniques; the creation of population density surfaces for cross-areal estimation purposes; and the computation and application of spatial accessibility metrics particularly those derived from two-step floating catchment area (2SFCA) methodologies.
Spatial interpolation (the estimation of data across incongruent geographical units) is a thorny problem intrinsic to a wide range of GIS applications. I have again made some pioneering contributions in this field. Most notably, with Professor David Unwin and our 1994 Cartographic Journal article titled “Generating and mapping population density surfaces within a geographical information system! (Carto.J. 31(1):21-26: DOI10.1179/caj.19188.8.131.52). This widely cited paper (300+ citations according to Google Scholar, 2018) was the first to re-ignite interest in the use of a hitherto largely unknown cartographic method named dasymetric mapping. We illustrated how it could be applied to the task of population estimation for small areas by using so-called intelligent areal interpolation techniques. Since 1994 there has been an explosion of interest and publication activity in the fields of dasymetric mapping and areal interpolation techniques.
Research impact is best judged by the value placed upon it by others. My research has impacted on an eclectic mix of research fields including environmental analysis, medical geography, urban geography, social science and geographical information science. This is evidenced by over 1250 citations to date in peer-review articles that have been published across a very broad spectrum of academic journals. These include: Applied Geography; Applied GIS; Annals of the Association of American Geographers; Australian Journal of Primary Health; Automation in Construction; BMC Health Services Research; The Canadian Geographer; Cartographica; Cartography and Geographic Information Science; Chinese Science Bulletin; Computers Ecological Modelling; Computer Vision and Image Understanding; Energy Policy; Environment and Urban systems; Environment and Planning A; Epidemiology; Geography Compass; Geographical Analysis; GeoJournal; GeoCarto International; GIScience and Remote Sensing; Health and Place; International Journal of Geographical Information Science; Journal of Quantitative Criminology; International Journal of Health Geographics; International Journal of Population Geography; Journal of Geographical Systems; Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved; Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Planning; Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology; Land Use Policy; Journal of Maps; Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences; New Zealand Geographer; Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing; Population and Environment; Population Research and Policy Review; Population, Space and Place; The Professional Geographer; Quaternary Science Reviews; International Journal of Remote Sensing; Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A; Renewable Energy; Social Science Research; Social Science and Medicine; Spatial Science; Science in China – Series E: Technological Sciences; Science of the Total Environment; Urban Geography; Vetinary Research; The International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation; International Journal of Geographical Information Science, Transactions in GIS.
My current research interests are: Geographical accessibility and mobility modelling; The development of GIS software tools to facilitate computation of accessibility metrics; The application of dasymetric mapping techniques; Population distribution modelling and small area estimations.
Areas of Expertise
Quantitative Geography, Spatial Analysis, Geocomputation and Geographical Information Science
Geospatial data modelling, Geospatial software development, Spatial Database Design and Implementation
Dasymetric mapping and Areal interpolation, Spatial accessibility to services, GIS applications, particularly in health geography, environment justice and environmental analysis
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