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Improving flood extent mapping in urban areas


School of Geography, Geology and the Environment

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Dr S Johnson No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Around 1 billion people globally are exposed to flooding. This can devastate homes and businesses and lead to significant loss of life. It is therefore critical that timely information on flooding events is made rapidly available enabling emergency responders to move or rescue vulnerable populations.

Satellite imagery provides an effective way of monitoring flood events by mapping the extent and evolution of flood waters. In particular, radar imagery which can penetrate cloud cover and can see at night is especially valuable in these scenarios. However, radar imagery is acquired obliquely and since the greatest risk to life generally occurs in urban areas, shadows from tall buildings, urban vegetation and underlying terrain may obscure the visibility of the flood waters. This often leads to incorrect classification of water in these areas.

Hence, there is an urgent need to improve flood mapping in urban environments and provide enhanced reliability in the flood extent retrieval algorithms.

This project seeks to enhance the existing flood extent retrieval approaches by including knowledge of the satellite viewing parameters along with knowledge of topography and lidar-derived building height into existing flood mapping retrieval algorithms to significantly enhance the accuracy of urban flood maps. By modelling the relationship between the satellite viewing parameters and the structure and layout of the urban environment, areas of low confidence can be identified and removed from the prediction.

The project also provides an opportunity to explore and characterise how the algorithm is affected by the height, separation, and structure of local buildings, under different topographic scenarios and in urban areas in different countries with significantly different structural forms.

The student will work closely with flood modelling specialists at Previsico Ltd, to support improvement of existing flood mapping approaches, leading to enhanced validation of their flood models.

Applicants will be expected to have a good numerate first degree with excellent programming skills (ideally Python but R might be considered). Some experience with two or more of the following is required: image processing, remote sensing, geographic information systems (GIS), radar. We are looking for someone with excellent teamworking skills who is happy to collaborate with partners in industry as well as academia.

Funding
This Industrial Mphil is funded by the Leicester Innovation Hub (through European Development Fund monies) and the sponsoring organisation, Previsico Ltd.

The studentship provides:
- Stipend of £1,166.67 for 12 months (total Stipend £14,000)
- Tuition Fees at UK/EU rates for 12 months.

The Leicester Innovation Hub (through European Development Fund monies) and the sponsoring organisation, Previsico Ltd., fund this Industrial Mphil.

The studentship provides:
- Stipend of £1,166.67 for 12 months (total Stipend £14,000)
- Tuition Fees at UK/EU rates for 12 months.

Entry requirements

- UK Bachelor Degree with at least 2:1 in a relevant subject (e.g. engineering, physics, computer science or physical geography) or similar or overseas equivalent.
- Experience in working in a business environment is an advantage.
- The University of Leicester English language requirements apply where applicable.

Skills needed to Deliver the Project Objectives
Applicants will be expected to have excellent programming skills (ideally Python but R might be considered). Some experience with two or more of the following is required:
- image processing,
- remote sensing,
- geographic information systems (GIS),
- radar

How to apply
Please refer to the full studentship information and link to the online application at
https://le.ac.uk/study/research-degrees/funded-opportunities/erdf-lih539-johnson-geog

In the funding section of the application please indicate you wish to be considered for LIH539 MPhil Studentship

In the proposal section please provide the name of the supervisor and project title.

Include a CV and a personal statement explaining your interest in the project and why we should consider you together with all other relevant application documents.

Application enquiries to [Email Address Removed]

Additional requirements
The Leicester Innovation Hub is part-funded by European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The MPhil student:
- must be a UK or EU (European Union) national;
- have graduated within the last 3 years in a related discipline;
- sign a contract with the University before the start of the project which sets out the project obligations, including but not limited to confidentiality and assignment of the intellectual property generated during the project;
- base their MPhil degree thesis on the research outcomes of the project;
- work closely with the SME company to undertake the research project;
- deliver monthly progress reports and a comprehensive project report to the University and sponsoring SME in addition to the MPhil thesis.


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