• School of Engineering and Applied Science, Aston University

      B4 7ET Birmingham

      United Kingdom

    Accepting PhD Students

    PhD projects

    Please feel free to contact me with proposed topics including applied GIS and remote sensing, biodiversity informatics, mapping and monitoring of surface water and deforestation, technical aspects of citizen science and citizen observatories (air and water quality, biodiversity, etc.), data quality and metadata.

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    Personal profile

    Biography

    I am a Senior Lecturer in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. My teaching includes data analytics, software engineering and professional /ethical aspects of computing. I am a highly interdisciplinary researcher and have developed an international collaboration network including microbiologists, Primary Care Trusts and the Health Protection Agency, economists and social scientists, forensic linguists, protected area managers, conservation policy makers and local Wildlife Trusts. I am inspired by urban ecology and green/blue infrastructure, not least because of its practical impact on quality of life for large numbers of people in the world's cities. I want to use my University role to support and develop participatory democracy and citizen science wherever possible.
    As a consultant, I work with local SMEs on medical technology, lean management software and infrastructure mapping projects, and have contributed analysis expertise to sustainability initiatives such as ‘Low Carbon Communities’.
    I joined the School in 2003 after 3 years as a software developer, where I focussed on maintaining map data integrity and currency for field workers who may only have intermittent communication with a central GIS server. As a lecturer at Aston, I engage extensively with schools, industry and community groups and have received Excellence Awards for my teaching.

    On a recent secondment to the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, I combined software development and remote sensing experience to coordinate developments on the Digital Observatory for Protected areas (DOPA). The DOPA team develop and publish a range of sustainability and biodiversity indicators using global datasets, open source spatial analysis software, cloud platforms and distributed processing approaches. I liaised closely with end-users to mobilise spatial data for conservation decision making and to downscale global indicators in an appropriate and reliable manner.
    In June 2016, the Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Dr. de Souza Dias, wrote a letter of thanks for DOPA’s support in developing 196 country data dossiers which identified focussed actions for the implementation of Aichi targets 11 and 12.

    Where did this start?... having worked for the Birmingham Urban Wildlife Trust as a school leaver, I developed an interest in urban ecology and green corridors which led to a PhD on the spatial pattern and dispersal of plant species within the urban mosaic of remnant and emerging habitat fragments. Patch quality, geometry and isolation were modelled to compare the occupancy of available habitat to that predicted by metapopulation models. The thesis also identified apparent source-sink effects in the woodland herb Melampyrum pratense, within Sutton Park, Birmingham. During this time I also completed an MSc in GIS at the University of Leicester, publishing my dissertation on sub-pixel classification methods for handling 'mixed pixels' in remotely-sensed imagery.  

    My first postdoctoral post was on the EU-supported project FLIERS (Fuzzy Land Information from Environmental Remote Sensing) at the University of Leicester. This was a European-funded collaboration applying fuzzy set approaches to landcover monitoring. I carried out extensive vegetation survey, novel classifications of remote sensing, and developed an innovative Java-based toolkit for the interactive visualisation of fuzzy landcover classification.

    Research Interests

    • Essential Biodiversity Variables - how to compute them using robust and reproducible workflows
    • Data and metadata standards for citizen science
    • UncertWeb: Uncertainty-enabling the 'Model Web'.
    • Assessing the effects of real-world uncertainty on conservation planning tools. (in partnership with RMIT, Australia)
    • Mapping and modelling of disease: e.g. spatio-temporal clustering of community-associated MRSA in the West Midlands.
    • FAIR exchange of data quality information (via XML schemas such as UncertML) - Web Processing Service approaches to automated interpolation for emergency mapping.
    • Carbon/traffic impacts of transporting municipal waste to EfW (Energy from Waste) facilities.

    Teaching Activity

    • CS2SE : Software Engineering
    • CS1PSA: Professional and social aspects of Computing
    • DC4400: project module for MSc apprectices in Data Analytics and other IT specialisms
    • Final year / Masters GIS/ Computer Science / Environmental Science projects.

    Modules developed in recent years:

    • CS3210: Geographical Information Systems.
    • CS3160: Enterprise Application Technology .
    • CS2040: Multimedia Science 
    • EM4010: MSc Quantitative Methods

    Qualifications

    • BSc with First Class Honours in Zoology, University of Nottingham, 1991
    • MSc with Distinction in Geographical Information Science, University of Leicester, 1995 (ESRI Prize)
    • PhD in Spatial Population Ecology, University of Birmingham, 1996
    • Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, Aston University, 2009

    Employment

    • 2020-present: Senior Lecturer in Computer Science, Aston University
    • 2015-2020: Lead Developer of DOPA and East African lead for the BIOPAMA project, Joint Research Centre of the European Commission.
    • 2011 - present: Senior Lecturer in Computer Science, Aston University
    • 2010 - 2011: Senior Researcher, Global Environmental Monitoring Unit, Joint Research Centre of the European Commission.
    • 2004 – 2010: Lecturer, School of Engineering and Applied Science, Aston University
    • 2001 – 2003: Senior Software Developer, Tadpole-Cartesia (now ESRI UK)
    • 1999 – 2000: Lecturer in GIS, Nottingham University
    • 1996-1999: Research Associate, FLIERS, University of Leicester

    Membership of Professional Bodies

    Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

    Contact Details

    Phone number: +44 (0)121 204 3560
    Email: l.bastin@aston.ac.uk
    Room Number: MB211M

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