Geospatial Systems -
David Gregg

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David Gregg

G.19a Cassie Building, Newcastle University, NE1 7RU


About David Gregg

My name is David, and I’m a research student at the CDT in Geospatial Systems at Newcastle University. Prior to this, I graduated with an MPhys in Theoretical Physics from the University of Sheffield. My studies focused primarily on mathematical and computational modules, and I became particularly interested in data science during my final-year dissertation. During this research, I had to model physical events taking place in simulations of a direct dark matter detection experiment, in order to characterise backgrounds. Then, I spatially visualised the resultant data to analyse the events. I found this aspect particularly interesting, leading me to pursue data science, both as a hobby and a potential career path.


Soon after I came across the CDT, and it seemed like the perfect place to further my strengths in data analysis and physical modelling. So far, I have enjoyed the collaborative nature of the CDT, the cohort arrangement allows for frequent interaction with people from a vast range of backgrounds and interests. I am also eager to work with and learn from industry during my time with the CDT.


In my PhD I will be working with the UK Hydrographic Office, pursuing the development of a very high-resolution hydrodynamic model around coastal areas, estuaries, and harbours in British waters, using the Port of Tyne as an initial case study. Best sea-surface height and surface current predictions are only possible with the use of three-dimensional, hydrodynamic models that calculate not only the changes in the sea surface elevation and ocean currents due to tidal forcing, but also their response to varying winds, including wind waves and swell. The three-dimensional distributions of temperatures, salinities and densities are also important for accurate tidal calculation, as is the ability to simulate the wetting and drying of the shore caused by tides and wind-driven surges, and so must also be accounted for in the model.



A wide variety of instruments and platforms will be utilised to collect all the necessary data. For successful tidal and surge forecasting, high-resolution bathymetry of the Tyne will be required, which will be obtained from echo sounder measurements and geodetic GNSS receivers on board a research vessel.  I also plan to obtain field data for calibration (to constrain the model) and validation (to perform a model assessment and provide uncertainty). Calibration and validation of the echo sounder measurements will be achieved using data acquired from bottom pressure recorders (BPRs) installed on the estuary bed. The BPRs will remain deployed for several months, which will also enable measurement of the tides and hence calibration and validation of the model’s nested, fine-resolution component. Similar tidal measurement for model calibration and validation will be obtained through the deployment of several GNSS buoy tide gauges along the Tyne estuary, and a GNSS Wave Glider that will be deployed in the North Sea within a radius of 20 nautical miles from the Tyne river mouth

PhD Research

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