Geospatial Systems -
Dr Alistair Ford

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Dr Alistair Ford

G.14 Cassie Building, School of Engineering, Newcastle University,


About Ali

I joined Newcastle University in 1998 as an undergraduate in Geographic Information Science, going on to work as a researcher applying GIS to a number of diverse applications, including land-use change, climate simulations, urban classification, transport modelling, and risk assessment. Since 2019 I have been a Lecturer in Geospatial Data Analytics in the Geospatial Engineering group. I have been a member of a number of multi-disciplinary projects, both widening my experience of working with researchers from other disciplines and broadening my understanding of a diverse number of application areas.


I am a member of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, having worked on the Tyndall Cities programme conducting urban integrated assessment of climate change adaptation and mitigation in London. This work led to the EPSRC ARCADIA project, examining and modelling urban climate impacts, and the FP7 RAMSES project, conducting cost assessments of urban climate adaptation options. These projects allowed me to develop collaborations in London, Shanghai, Antwerp, Bilbao, and Newcastle with city decision-makers, industrial stakeholders, and NGO organisations.


The focus of my research is the provision of tools and models to aid decision-makers. Currently, I am developing spatial analytical tools within GIS for integrated spatial modelling and assessment of climate change impacts and socio-economic/land-use change. I am funded by the Alan Turing Institute on a project developing Strategic Digital Twins for sustainable urban planning, applying these approaches in the Oxford Cambridge Arc and the Northern Powerhouse regions of the UK.


Parallel work has developed these concepts further to include the direct and indirect impacts of climate events on city systems in the form of heatwaves or flood events. In ARCADIA, I have examined the impact of extreme temperatures on railway networks and the knock-on effects these disruptions can have on the wider urban economy. This work was further developed in RAMSES, including new climate hazards (e.g. extreme rainfall and air quality) in order to better understand the true costs of future climate change to urban areas. I have also supervised PhD students working on exploring the impacts of climate events on urban systems, particularly transport networks (see publications).


I have presented my work widely at national and international conferences and symposia, and facilitated and moderated at events such as the ICLEI Open European Day in Bonn and the 2015 ECCA conference in Copenhagen.


I also contribute to undergraduate and postgraduate teaching, delivering lectures on GIS, spatial modelling, and climate change in urban areas. I am currently module leader of CEG1702 (Geographic Information Systems) and CEG3717 (Applied Geospatial Data Handling). I have also delivered a number of courses to local governments and consultancies involved in climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts.


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