Deadline: 2016-01-25
Value of Scholarship: Loughborough
Level Of Study: PhD

PhD Studentship – Multi-sourced Structure-from-Motion photogrammetry for capturing the variation of challenging rivers in Iceland

Applications are invited for a PhD studentship funded by the NERC CENTA Doctoral Training Partnership to start in October 2016. The project will be based in the Department of Geography at Loughborough University.

Atmospheric warming is pronounced in high latitudes, which is fundamentally affecting the water cycle. However, high-latitude rivers are typically unstable and challenging to monitor. Established methods rely on in-situ measurements in river cross-sections, which are rarely reliable or even safe in dynamic, melt-driven rivers which daily braid across unvegetated, erodible landscapes and experience frequent flooding. Remote, non-contact methods of gauging river flow are therefore invaluable in these circumstances. Satellite imagery of sufficient spatial and temporal resolution is still not widely available, but terrestrial imaging and Structure-from-Motion (SfM) photogrammetry offers a potential way forward. The aim of this project is to evaluate the SfM photogrammetry approach as a method for capturing river level and cross-section geometry in the dynamic environment of Iceland. SfM has its roots in the well-established spatial measurement method of photogrammetry, but is becoming increasingly recognised as a means to capture dense 3D data to represent real-world, natural objects. The most accurate data are generated from imagery captured with digital SLR cameras, which provide a strong geometric configuration. The first part of this project therefore involves repeat photography and SfM modelling of river cross-sections in Iceland. River flow estimated from the cross-sectional geometry will be validated against downstream flow data from the Icelandic Meteorological Office. However, recognising that such surveys can only take place in limited locations and usually for restricted durations, the second part of the project involves the potential application of SfM to historical and crowdsourced tourist photography. Iceland is an ideal location for this approach, as it possesses a demanding and often hazardous river environment, but is frequently-visited, such that photo-sharing platforms such as Flickr or Picasa are potentially valuable repositories of environmental data. Further details of this project are available on the CENTA website. 

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The studentship is for 3.5 years and is intended to start in October 2016. The studentship provides a tax free stipend of £14,057 per annum for the duration of the studentship plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate and a research training support grant of £8,000.  Please note that due to restrictions imposed by the funder only students with a UK/EU fee status will be considered for this position.

Students will normally need to hold, or expect to gain, a 2:1 degree (or equivalent) in Geography, Earth or Environmental Science, or related science subject.  A Master’s degree and/or experience in a related area associated with the research will be an advantage.

General information about the Department of Geography can be found here  and more information about the project and CENTA can be found here. For informal enquiries about the project, please contact Dr Richard Hodgkins ([email protected]).

To apply:

  1. Complete a CENTA studentship application form in Word format, and then
  2. Complete the online application using the following link: During the online application process, upload the CENTA application form as a supporting document.

The closing date for applications is 25 January 2016
Interviews will take place in the week commencing 15 February 2016

Please quote CENTA-RH when completing your online application

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