MSc - Birkbeck, Uni. London, 2007-09



Assignment One
Assignment Two
Assignment Three
Assignment Four


In this project, I sought to identify areas of the Isle of Man (IoM) that were at greater risk of hosting a destructive outbreak of Dutch elm disease (DED). The IoM possesses the largest remaining healthy population of elm in Europe, and the disease has been present since 1992. The IoM government instituted a vigorous policy of immediate fell and burn of infected trees, which has meant losses have still not exceeded 1,200 trees, as compared to over 25 million in Great Britain. But the disease is now firmly established on the IoM, and there is a significant risk that the currently succesful campaign might fail to cope if key conditions change.

The distribution of the beetles that carry the disease is influenced by (among other things) elevation, and this factor led to the successful implementation of a DED control zone in East Sussex in the 1970s which still holds good

I inverted and applied this lesson the the topoography of the IoM, and, using ArcGIS (with Spatial Analyst), MapInfo, SPSS and the Agent-based modelling package StarLogo TNG, established a means of identifying areas whose elevation and spatial neighbourhood presents a risk that were DED to penetrate to these areas, it would prosper and generate a bloom of infection that might burst out of control.

The dissertation led to two conference papers, which were delivered in Sydney and London.

This dissertation was awarded a distinction, and the feedback from the two markers is linked to below.

Full text

GeoComputation 2009 (Sydney, Australia)


GISRUK 2010 (UCL, London)



Dissertation Feedback - Dr Joana Barros, Dr Maurizio Gibin