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


Career Summary:

  • 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


Technical skills: ArcGIS Desktop GIS; QGIS Desktop GIS; ArcGIS Add-in development using C#.NET & ArcObjects; QGIS plug-in development in Python; PyQt GUI programming; PostgreSQL ORDBMS; SQLite Databases; Spatially-Enabled Databases (PostGIS / SpatiaLite / SQLServer); ANSI SQL and SQL/MM; PostGIS pgRouting application development; General software engineering in C#.NET and Visual Studio; Web Mapping Application Development (client-side: Google Maps API, Bing Map API, OpenLayers API; server-side: GeoServer) Web software engineering with JavaScript/CSS/HTML5.0); Information Systems development with ADO.NET / ASP.NET, Windows Forms, Web Forms, and MVC; Python coding and scripting in ArcGIS & QGIS; ERDAS Imagine.

Areas of Expertise: Quantitative and Computational Geography; Spatial Analysis; Spatial accessibility modelling and geographical accessibility metrics – particularly Enhanced Two-step Floating Catchment Area methodologies; Dasymetric mapping – principles, methods, and applications, particularly in areal interpolation and small-area population estimation; Population distribution modelling and the construction of population density surfaces; General geo-computation and spatial analytical modelling; Spatial databases: design and application; Spatial information systems: design and implementation. Software engineering particularly for 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
MSc Computing Scheme:
ICT Systems Development (Spatial Databases);
– Masters Project Supervision
B.Sc./MComp Computer Applications Development:
– C# Computer Programming;
– Database Development (spatially-enabled databases);
– Team Application Project with Professional Practice and Employability;
GIS and the Spatial Web (Mapping APIs, OpenLayers & GeoServer);
B.Sc./MComp Information Communications Technology:
– Database Development:
GIS and the Spatial Web;
– Student Project Supervision
HND Computing Scheme:
– Computer Programming (C#);
– Information Systems Analysis and Design

Active Peer Reviewer for International Scientific Journals; including recently:
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.

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

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. 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

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.

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: 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

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.

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, although I would also consider myself to be a computer scientist. My research interests are broadly based in 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 often the case for academics, my research has followed a winding pathway. In my earliest days, under the expert 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 of spores produced by fungi). The identification of pollen assemblages found trapped within mud cores extracted from lake floors and bog lands is an important scientific technique, allowing for the reconstruction of paleo-climates and paleo-environments. In other words, preserved fossil pollen help scientists to reconstruct past ecological and climatic conditions. Pollen analysis is also of considerable commercial value, often being used in the search for oil and gas reserves. It has on occasions been used in forensic criminal investigations too. The identification and counting of pollen is traditionally a highly skilled task using visual inspection of optical or scanning-electron microscopy imagery. This is time-consuming, costly, and requires the services of a highly trained expert. In the early 1980’s machine vision, pattern recognition and digital image processing were a niche area of computer science using powerful (for their time) digital computers. Professor John Flenley raised the question as to whether this embryonic technology could be used for pollen identification – which then became the topic of my Ph.D. studies. My published thesis established the basic principle that it was potentially possible to automate pollen identification through the computation of appropriate statistical image texture descriptors fed into 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. Nevertheless, over time it has proven to be the catalyst for on-going research pursuing 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., but the challenge was taken up by others and continued to be championed by Professor Flenley. With enormous advances in computing power, digital image processing is now an everyday activity, and automated palynology has also become a reality. So I am proud that my early research helped just a little in this development. Major advances in this area, and my own pioneering contributions include:

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., 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 J.R. 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 research activities and outputs have focused on the following main themes: the development, and evaluation and application 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) is a thorny problem intrinsic to a wide range of GIS applications. Solutions I have played a part in developing through my research have impacted on 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 accessibility to services); topics within the broad field of social science (crime analysis, environmental inequality, social deprivation estimation); and geographical information science (spatial accessibility, areal interpolation, spatial regression).

Research impact is always best judged by the value that is placed upon it by others. My publications have received well over 1000 citations to date, within peer-review articles published in a broad spectrum of academic journals, including: 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 main research interests 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.

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 in health geography, environment justice and environmental analysis

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