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Group members

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Dr Elias Symeonakis

Group Leader

Reader (Associate Professor) in Earth Observation & GIS, MMU

Elias is a Remote Sensing and GIS scientist with a Master’s degree in GIS (University College London) and a PhD in Geography (King’s College London). Previously, he worked as a researcher or a lecturer in other institutions, such as the CSIRO (Australia), Royal Holloway, King’s College London, CGIAR/CIAT (Colombia), the University of Valencia (Spain) and the University of the Aegean (Greece). He has received funds for undertaking research in Europe, Africa, Australia and South America. His research interests include mapping, monitoring and modelling of land use/cover change with Earth observation data and GIS, and  land degradation and desertification in African and Mediterranean environments.

Prof Steve Hoon

Emeritus Professor of Applied Science, MMU

Steve's research focuses upon understanding carbon cycling and soil fertility in biologically crusted dryland soils, particularly Kalahari Sand soils covered in biological soil crusts (BSC). He studies both physical and biological conditions and processes in the surface and near surface by in situ and laboratory based microcosm techniques. He has achieved important advances in  understanding the association and function of
bacterial and fungal species in the surface and sub-surface employing genetic analysis, most recently funded by the Leverhulme Foundation.


Assoc Prof Giorgos Stamou

Assoc Professor in Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning

National Technical University of Athens (NTUA)

Giorgos is an Associate Professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering Department of NTUA, in the area of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. His research interests include description logics, logic programming, fuzzy logic, neural networks, ontologies, digital archives, semantic annotation and semantic interoperability. 

Dr Ángel Marqués Mateu

Visiting Scientist

Senior Lecturer in GIS, UPV

Ángel is a Geomatics Engineer with a Marter's degree in Geomatics Engineering, a PhD in Geographical Information Science and a BSc degree in Agricultural Engineering. His research interests include soil mapping, colorimetry, digital image processing, computer programming and 3D modeling. He is a senior lecturer at the Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV) in Spain, where he teaches courses on Advanced Geographical Information Systems and Programming, and coordinates the course 'Programming for Geospatial Applications. Ángel is also a member of the Centre for Irrigation Studies of Valencia (CVER) where he has participated in several research projects related to soil science and environmental mapping.


Carlos Bedson

Spatial Ecologist, MMU

Carlos completed his PhD studying the environmental associations of mammal populations in the Peak District, England. His research compared species occurrence data with climate, topography and landcover variables.   He used regression and decision tree learning approaches to predict mammal distributions under current and future climate scenarios. He also investigated the influence of different land uses and habitat restoration on mammal densities. Carlos has considerable experience of peatland ecosystem ecology, from both ground-based studies and remote sensing sources.


Dr Iestyn Barr

Project Leader (cryosphere)

Senior Lecturer, MMU

Iestyn uses remotely sensed data (derived from satellites and unmanned aerial vehicles) to link climate, Earth Surface processes, and natural hazards. He has particular interest in climatic and environmental changes that span the present, extending from the recent past into the near future. His work has focused on glaciers, peatlands, soil erosion, flooding, deltas and volcanoes. 

Dr Tom Higginbottom

Postdoctoral Scientist

at the University of Manchester

Tom is a broad-ranging remote sensing scientist with interests in monitoring environmental change and open software development. He is currently half way through his part-time PhD at Manchester Metropolitan University, which focusses on exploiting the Landsat archive to assess land degradation processes in southern Africa. He also works as a research assistant for a range of additional projects covering, biofuel development, deforestation monitoring, and urban heat island mapping.


Prof Adolfo Calvo-Cases

Professor of Physical Geography, University of Valencia

Adolfo is a geomorphologist, with research interests in the field of hillslope forms and processes, mainly in soil erosion and land degradation in semiarid areas.

He has decades of experience in hillslope runoff monitoring and experimentation, and has recently incorporated the detailed mapping of hillslope erosional features by means of UAV imagery and SfM-MVS stereo techniques.


Michael Martin

PhD student, MMU

Michael is a PhD student with focus on glacier-volcano interactions, which he explores using remote sensing satellite data. He holds a BSc (University of Mainz, Germany) and a MSc (University of Tübingen, Germany) in Geosciences. His main interests are in how glaciers and volcanoes interact before, during and after volcanically active phases and if this behaviour can be linked to the type and timing of the activity. To investigate these processes, he works with mostly freely available satellite imagery using google earth engine and GIS. Future steps of his work will include building up of a training database of satellite imagery to automatize feature detection on glaciers. This will help to develop a satellite based predictive tool for monitoring future eruptions.


Antonis Korkofigkas

PhD Candidate

National Technical University of Athens (NTUA)

Antonis is a PhD candidate in Deep Learning at the Artificial Intelligence and Learning Systems Laboratory Lab of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at NTUA. He has participated in EU and state research projects as part of the Institute for the Management of Information Systems of the Athena Research Center. He has worked as an iOS Lead Developer at multiple startups, and helped build web crawling and spatial big data systems. He is currently transitioning into the area of Deep Learning through his postgraduate studies. He holds an engineering diploma from the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at NTUA. 


Dr Yannis Kougkoulos

Research Fellow

Rights Lab, University of Nottingham

Yannis holds a PhD (Earth Science - MMU), and two Masters degrees (Geography - Pantheon Sorbonne University; Risk Management -  Arts et Métiers ParisTech).

His main research focuses on natural disaster modelling and analysis using numerous methods ranging from Remote Sensing to Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis and GIS.

He is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Geography) in the University of Nottingham looking at innovative methodologies to tackle modern slavery using satellite data.


Iliya Nababa

PhD student, MMU

Iliya's  PhD research assesses mangrove condition in the Niger Delta region (NDR) of Nigeria and its inter-relationship with the fisheries ecosystem service . Additionally, his research seeks to understand the drivers resulting in mangrove degradation and loss within the NDR as well as to predict future changes in mangrove extent and condition in the next 50 years. 


Joana Borges

PhD student, MMU

Joana is a PhD student at MMU studying the eastern black rhino population in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA), specifically the drivers behind its low numbers. She is investigating black rhino feeding ecology by determining the diet composition as well as looking at the long-term vegetation changes from the 1980s until today, using remote sensing data from several satellites. Additionally, she is studying the genetic diversity of the rhino population in the NCA which hasn’t been investigated before. She will determine the paternity between individuals and measure the inbreeding levels which are suspected to be high.'


Dr Eva Arnau-Rosalen

Marie S. Curie Postdoctoral Scientist, MMU

Eva is an eco-hydro-geomorphologist, highly skilled in lab and field techniques. She is currently a H2020 Marie Sklodowska  Curie postdoctoral scientist on the PantEOn project which aims to produce a multi-scale Earth Observation indicator system for land degradation assessment of transitional Mediterranean climates.


Christina Karakizi


PhD Candidate at NTUA


H2020 Marie S. Curie Postdoctoral Fellow, MMU

Christina is a Surveyor engineer with a MSc in Geoinformatics. She is currently a PhD candidate at NTUA working on the topic of detailed land cover mapping from multitemporal satellite data using state-of-the-art machine learning methodologies and rigorous validation schemes. Christina has participated in several research projects and has collaborated with the Hellenic Cadastre PLC as a GIS expert/RS Scientist for the production and verification of Copernicus products (CORINE LC 2018, HRL's 2015, Urban Atlas2012) for Greece.

Kyriaki Petroulaki

MSc in GIS

Research Assistant, MMU

Kyriaki is a Geographer with an MSc in GIS from the University of the Aegean. She's currently employed by MMU to carry out research related with bush encroachment in the NWP.

Dr George Vasios

Research Associate, University of the Aegean

George is a multidisciplinary scientist with a PhD in Environmental Science, an MSc in Geography and Applied Geo-Informatics, an MSc in Environmental Policy and Management, and a BSc in Agricultural Economics.  His scientific interests include rural environmental management, biotic resources, nature conservation planning, spatial analysis and geostatistics, facilitation tools on decision making. His current research focuses upon developing computational algorithms for advance spatial analysis on biodiversity conservation and rural management.

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