2016 Peter Burrough medal awardee: Peter Atkinson


Professor Peter Atkinson, Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology at Lancaster University, has produced world leading research in remote sensing image analysis, geostatistics, and epidemiology. Early in his career, Peter’s research included sub-pixel land-cover mapping, artificial neural networks, and generalised linear modeling. In the early 2000s, he shifted his focus to examine scale effects and uncertainties associated with the remote sensing of diseases, analyzing the distribution and transmission of Malaria in Africa, and investigating access to health care. More recently, Peter has extended his research to downscaling in remote sensing, disease transmission, and characterising land surface phenology. Examples of Peter’s publications addressing spatial uncertainty include, “Issues of scale and uncertainty in the global remote sensing of disease” (Advances in Parasitology, with A. J. Graham), “Non-stationary approaches for mapping terrain and assessing prediction uncertainty” (Transactions in GIS, with C. D. Lloyd), “Geographical information science: geostatistics and uncertainty” (Progress in Physical Geography), and “Assessing uncertainty in estimates with ordinary and indicator kriging” (Computers & Geosciences, with C. D. Lloyd). Along with Giles Foody, Peter co-edited the frequently cited text Uncertainty in Remote Sensing and GIS. Peter is an elected Fellow of the Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society and has served on the editorial boards of Computers and Geosciences and Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation. Peter was a member of the scientific program committee for several Spatial Accuracy Symposia and presented an invited keynote address at the 2008 Spatial Accuracy Symposium in Shanghai titled, “Uncertainty in super-resolution mapping and the design of an inter-comparison study” (International Journal of Remote Sensing, 2009). The title of his Burrough Award Keynote address at the 2016 Spatial Accuracy Symposium is, “Spatio-temporal sub-pixel mapping of time-series images.” Peter Atkinson’s research in the area of spatial uncertainty applied to remote sensing, geostatistics, and epidemiology has improved the ways in which spatial data and methods are employed to solve critical real-world problems. Peter’s accomplishments are exemplary of the award selection criteria established to honor the career and contributions of Peter Burrough. Peter Burrough’s legacy continues not only through being the namesake of the Burrough Medal, but also through new research and publications building upon the foundations of his work. The recently published third edition of Burrough, McDonnell, and Lloyd’s Principals of Geographical Information Systems (see particularly Chapter 13 on spatial uncertainty and error propagation) is a prominent example of Peter Burrough’s ongoing influence.


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