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1989 Ph.D. “Applications of Digital Image Processing for Automation in Palynology”, The University of Hull
1984 B.Sc. Joint Honours in Physical Geography and Geology, The University of Hull


Career Summary:

  • currently – Principal Lecturer/Reader, Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Science, The University of South Wales
  • 2003-2013 Principal Lecturer, Faculty of Advanced Technology, The 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


Technical skills: ArcGIS Desktop; ArcGIS .NET Development using ArcObjects; QGIS; QGIS Python plugin development; PyQt GUI development; PostgreSQL ORDBMS; PostGIS spatially-enabled databases; ANSI SQL; SF-SQL and SQL/MM; SQLite and SpatiaLite; pgRouting; General software engineering in C#.NET, VB.NET and Visual Studio Programming; IS software engineering using ADO.NET and ASP.NET; Python Scripting in both ArcGIS and QGIS; ERDASImagine.
Areas of expertise: Dasymetric mapping techniques, Spatial/Areal interpolation, Small-area population estimation and distribution modelling; Spatial accessibility modelling and geographical accessibility metrics including: Enhanced Two-step Floating Catchment Area analyses; General geocomputation and spatial analytical modelling; Spatial database design and analytics; Spatial information systems – design, implementation, and operation. Software engineering; General information systems analysis and design; Spatial and geostatistical analyses; Geographical Information Systems; Environmental Equality and (In)Justice; Digital Remote Sensing


Ph.D. – External Examiner
Ph.D. – Internal Examiner
Ph.D. – Research Supervision
MSc Computing Scheme:
ICT Systems Development; Masters Project Supervision
B.Sc./MComp Computer Applications Development:
– Computer Programming; Database Development; Team Application Project/PPE; GIS and the Spatial Web;
B.Sc./MComp Information Communications Technology: Student Project Supervision
– Database Development; GIS and the Spatial Web; Student Project Supervision
HND Computing Scheme:
– Computer Programming (C#); Information Systems Analysis and Design


Langford, M., Higgs, G. and Fry, R. (2017) “The application of network-based GIS tools to investigate spatial variations in the provision of sporting facilities” Annals of Leisure Research. 

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: 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:

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.

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.

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

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.

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.


My research expertise is as a quantitative geographer and computer scientist. My primary research interests are in geostatistical analyses and spatial data modelling. This combination of interests has led to my research activities becoming focused within the fields of geographical and spatial analyses, geographical information systems and science, computer programming/software engineering, and digital image processing, including that associated with satellite-borne remote sensing devices.

However, in the earliest days of my research career I became, under the expert guidance and supervision of Professor John Flenley, something of a pioneer in the field of “automated palynology”!

Palynology is the study of the pollen grains and spores that are produced by plants and fungi. The accurate identification of pollen assemblages found trapped within the layers of mud cores that can be extracted from lake floors and such like, is an essential technique in allowing the reconstruction of paleao-climates and paleao-environments. These preserved fossil pollen are analysed to reconstruct local ecological and climatic conditions during past time periods. Pollen analysis also has considerable commercial potential, and is often involved in the search for oil and gas reserves. The identification and subsequent counting of pollen assemblages is traditionally a highly skilled activity based on the visual inspection of optical microscopy or scanning-electron microscopy images. It is a time-consuming and costly activity, requiring the services of a trained expert.

Back in the days when pattern recognition and digital image processing were considered to be a highly esoteric and very niche area of computer science, requiring the use of what at the time considered to be very powerful digital computers, Professor John Flenley had the vision to enquire if this embryonic technology could be applied to the identification of pollen grains. By the end of my Ph.D. studies I had established the basic principle that through the computation of appropriate statistical image texture descriptors fed into pattern recognition and classification algorithms, it was indeed potentially possible to automate the pollen identification task. Of course this pioneering work was very far from any kind of working solution, being limited to a tiny set of scanning electron microscopy imagery and just half a dozen or so pollen taxa. Nevertheless, it has since proven to be the catalyst for on-going research in pursuit of the ultimate goal of a fully automated pollen recognition system. My interests and research activities followed a different path after the completion of my Ph.D., as documented below, but the challenge was taken up by others. With the relentless improvements in computing power, digital image processing has turned into something of an everyday activity, and driven on by Professor John Flenley’s enthusiasm the quest for automated palynology has now made real progress. I am proud to know that my early research helped a little. More recent research in this area, together with my own modest, but pioneering, contributions include:

2015 Maros JR. 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, Niessner R, Panne U. Characterization and discrimination of pollen by Raman microscopy. Anal. Bioanal. Chem. 381
2004 Zhang Y 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. Spectrosc. 57
2002 Boucher A. et. al. Development of a semi-automatic system for pollen recognition. Aerobiologia 18
1999 Li P. and Flenley JR. Pollen texture identification using neural networks. Grana 38
1996 Stillman E. and Flenley JR. The needs and prospects for automation in palynology. Quat. Sci. Rev. 15, 1–5
1990 Langford M. Taylor GE. and Flenley JR. Computerized identification of pollen grains by texture analysis. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 64(1-4)
1988 Langford M. Some Applications of Digital Image Processing for Automation in Palynology. PhD thesis, University of Hull, UK.

Since my Ph.D. my principal research activities and outputs have focused on the following main themes: the promotion, development, and evaluation of spatial interpolation techniques, particularly those associated with small-area population estimation; the methodological development 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 the two-step floating catchment area (2SFCA) methodology. The spatial interpolation problem (i.e. the estimation of data values across incongruent geographical units of analysis) is a problem that is intrinsic to a huge range of practical GIS applications. Solutions that I have played a part in developing through my research have had an impact across an eclectic mix of research fields including: environmental analysis (e.g. flood risk assessment); medical geography (healthcare provision and the designation of medically under-served populations); urban geography (neighbourhood identification, small-area population density mapping; spatial access to services); topics within the broad field of social science (e.g. crime analysis, environmental equity/injustice, deprivation estimation); and geographical information science itself (spatial accessibility, areal interpolation, spatial regression).

The impact of research is best judged by the value placed upon it by others. My research publications have received something close to 1000 citations to date, in peer-review articles published across a 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 primary research interests at present are: Geographical accessibility and mobility modelling; The development of software tools to facilitate computation of E2SFCA accessibility metrics; The development and application of dasymetric mapping techniques; Population distribution modelling.

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