It is project proposal season again so here are few ideas

In the current academic year I have a team of ten forensic undergraduates working on their dissertations with me.  They are exploring different aspects of footwear evidence from taphonomic studies through wear of branded shoes and real time experiments using instrumented shoes.  The team is contributing to the research of one my Doctoral students and to my own work in this area.  Co-creating knowledge is fun.  It is great to have a team and we meet each week to monitor progress and to provide feedback and support.

For a geographer it is perhaps surprising, however, that I don’t have any geography projects this year.  I am keen to correct this and to use the same team-based approach I am using this year.  So in the spirit of building a group of students working on related projects I thought I might throw out a few ideas.  They are all linked by their use of digital elevation models whether derived from satellite data or created by near-surface photogrammetry.  If any of these interests you then get in touch!

Project ideas that interest me at the moment:

  • Moraine volumes in Snowdonia. The Younger Dryas was associated with a number of small cirque glaciers in Snowdonia as evidenced by a range of moraine fields.  The moraine fields vary in volume and form.  This project will use high resolution DEM’s to estimate moraine volumes and explore/explain this variation in relation to data on the dynamics of these former glaciers and geological data.
  • Hillslope and climate: homage to Troy (1977). In a seminal paper in 1977 Terrance Troy established a model of slope form and its relationship to climate.  It was a beautifully designed project, at least in my view, but is now a bit dated.  The aim of this project is to replicate this work using modern DEM’s to explore Troy’s original conclusions.
  • Scratch Dials: Before the advent of train timetables local time used to vary across small county areas and clocks were not ubiquitous. Scratch Dials were carved into the sides of churches and a stick placed in the centre to tell the time in a similar fashion to a sun dial but vertical not horizontal.  Clergy would mark on the times of service.  Scratch Dials can be found in Dorset and elsewhere in the country.  The aim of this project is to capture these dials via photogrammetry and explore local time zones.
  • Volcanic morphology in the East African Rift. Sections of the East Africa Rift Valley floor contain numerous small monogenetic volcanoes.  The aims of this project are to explore their morphology, spatial arrangement (faults?) and age using high resolution DEMs.
  • Volcanic morphology of sector collapses. I have previously worked on volcanic debris avalanches and would like to extend this work through morphological description of examples around the world looking for common morphological traits using DEM’s.  Debris avalanches are significant volcanic hazards in some regions.
  • Near-surface photogrammetry in geomorphological monitoring. Structure from motion is a type of photogrammetry in which DEM’s are created from a selection of oblique photographs and is something we have expertise in at Bournemouth.  I am interested in exploring its application to a range of environmental monitoring projects from footpath erosion, cliff recession/weathering and beach morphology.  This may involve the use of drones.
  • Fossil footprints at White Sands National Monument. I have ongoing research at White Sands National Monument (New Mexico) into terminal Pleistocene footprints both human and megafauna (mammoth, camel and sloth).  For those interested and with the resources to do an overseas project this is a fantastic opportunity to gain field experience and first-hand knowledge of conservation with the National Park Service in the US.
  • Inventory of Dinosaur Footprints in the UK. Again for students willing and able to travel this time around the UK we are in the process of digitising in 3D dinosaur footprint sites around the UK in order to develop a digital resource.  There are a number of student projects possible around this theme.


In addition we will be offering a range of forensic projects next year all based around the use of photogrammetry in footwear, document forgery, and suspect height profiling from CCTV footage.  Drop me a line if any of these interest and I will add to this list as ideas come to mind.

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