Centre for the Environment

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Stuart Marsh

Head of the NGI and Professor of Geospatial Engineering, Faculty of Engineering



An internationally recognised expert in developing geoscience applications for Earth Observation (EO) and, since 2013, Professor of Geospatial Engineering, Nottingham Geospatial Institute, University of Nottingham. Starting at the British Geological Survey (BGS) in 1991, I have developed EO applications to geological and soils mapping, 3D and elevation modelling, geological hazard mitigation, mineral, energy and water resources, waste management and environmental change.

From 2008-2013 I was responsible for leading the BGS's development of digital mapping, EO, shallow geophysical monitoring, 3D, property and process modelling and immersive, stereo 3D visualisation systems, directing on average £1M/year of BGS's NERC National Capability funding. During this time, I Chaired EuroGeoSurveys' Earth Observation Expert Group and the International Union of Geological Sciences' and UNESCO's joint Programme on the Geological Applications of Remote Sensing. I also helped develop, win and deliver a series of European Space Agency (6) and EC Framework Programme (10) research projects on the intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations (GEO) and the EC's flagship Copernicus (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) Programme. I supervised 3 PhD students whilst at BGS and my new group at Nottingham is growing; I will have 6 direct supervisions from autumn 2016. I have been external PhD examiner for the Universities of Durham, Imperial (2), Lisbon, Nottingham, Open (2), Kings, Portsmouth, Hull and Twente (3).

I have over 100 publications, from journal papers and books to BGS publications and maps, invited keynotes and international strategy documents. On behalf of the UK (selected by Defra, the UK Space Agency and the NERC), I currently sit on the GEO Programme Board.

Stuart Marsh is part of the Nottingham Geospatial Institute Research group.

Expertise Summary

I use satellite, aircraft and other remotely sensed data to study the earth, its properties and its processes.

Teaching Summary

I teach geology to the first year Chemical and Environmental Engineers and the third year Civil Engineers.

I teach hydrology and hydrogeology to the second year Chemical and Environmental Engineers.

I teach Chemical and Environmental Engineers on the Environmental Field Course.

Research Summary

The evolution of the former coalfields

I use satellite radar interferometry to measure and monitor the ground motion in the former coalfields and relate that to the processes operating. These include pillar collapse in mines and the movement of groundwater as pumping is stopped. The research is supported by a PhD sponsored by the Coal Authority, British Geological Survey and Geomatic Ventures Ltd and backed up by a second PhD.

The health of peat lands

I use satellite radar interferometry and optical data to study the growth or decay of peat lands, which is an indicator of their health. Healthy peat accumulates and so is characterised by uplift, whereas stressed peat breaks down, dries out and thus erodes, leading to subsidence. This can be measured for the first time by a new interferometry technique. Supported by one PhD looking at the physics of the interaction of radar signals with soils and another forcused on the application fo radar data to monitoring the health of peat lands. We also have a NERC grant that supports two postdoctoral researchers on this topic.


Another PhD student is using a combination of optical and radar data to study landslide hazards in Nigeria. Nigeria has its own remote sensing capability and this studentship backs that up by developing the remote sensing skills of a student from the national space agency.

Urban Heat Islands

We are studying the heating effect of the city on its local climate using a combination of satellite remote sensing and ground based data. The student is comparing and contrasting the situations in London and Baghdad as well as using a detailed groudn based dataset available for Birmingham.

Social Media and new Observing Systems

I have two postdoctoral researchers who are studying citizen science, using the example of modern slavery, and volunteered geographic information, looking for bias in the provision of open street map data. They are backed up by a PhD student who is co-sponsored by the British Geological Survey to look into the use of social media in an emergency and a visiting researcher from Turkey, who is considering the contribution of tweets in such events.

Recent Publications

Future Research

I welcome enquiries from potential PhD candidates from Home, EU and International countries who are interested in the following research areas: Geological mapping, Natural resources exploration, Mapping and monitoring of geohazards, Satellite, airborne and ground-based earth observation techniques.

Centre for the Environment

C/O School of Geography
The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0)115 846 7712