Professor Kevin Tansey

Kevin Tansey

Professor of Remote Sensing

Contact details

  • Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 3859
  • Email:
  • Office: Bennett Building F74

Research Interests

My research interests are in the analysis and investigation of Earth Observation data. I am particularly interested in the characterising vegetation on the Earth's surface and identifying the spatial, temporal and magnitude of disturbance (specifically fire, deforestation, degradation and drainage) of vegetation. I undertake these tasks at a range of spatial scales using existing and new SAR, LiDAR and optical remotely sensed data from the ground, aircraft or satellites in space. More recently I have become interested in the use of satellite data to identify agricultural activity and determine crop yield. I have published more than 70 journal papers in a career spanning over 25 years since commencing my PhD in 1995. I have successfully supervised 24 PhD students and currently supervise a further two research students. I have been involved in a number of projects that support these research interests. Furthermore:

  • I am Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Remote Sensing (IJRS).
  • I have been a former Head of Department of Geography, a former Postgraduate Research Director in the College of Science & Engineering and am currently the College of Science & Engineering Director of Enterprise and Knowledge Exchange.
  • I work closely with Leicester Innovation Hub on projects related to Earth Observation and Remote Sensing.
  • I will soon be working out of Phase 1 in Space Park Leicester.
  • I am a collaborator through the Chinese State Administration of Foreign Expert Affairs (SAFEA) programme with Peking University, China and also collaborate extensively with China Agricultural University.
  • I have receiving funding to undertake research from European Space Agency, European Commission, UKRI (NERC, ESPRC, STFC), InnovateUK, Royal Society, UK Space Agency and from private industry.
  • Former member of the Terrestrial Observation Panel for Climate (TOPC). TOPC is jointly sponsored by the UN WMO Global Climate Observing System (GCOS). Former member of the Global Observation of Forest and Land Cover Dynamics Fire Implementation Team (GOFC-GOLD Fire IT). GOFC-GOLD is a coordinated international program designed to provide on-going space-based and in-situ observations related to forests and other land cover. Former member of the Committee of Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) Land Product Validation (LPV) subgroup co-chair for burned area.
  • I am a contributing author to Chapter 2 (Drained Inland Organic Soils) of the 2013 Supplement to the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories: Wetlands.
  • I am a principal investigator for projects using ALOS PALSAR (JAXA), DMC, TerraSar-X and ESA data
  • I am an Associate of the Higher Education Academy (HEA)

Publications (10 most recent listed + 10 favourite!)

  1. Ibrahim, S., Kaduk, J., Tansey, K., Balzter, H., and Lawal, U.M., 2021, Detecting phenological changes in plant functional types over West African savannah dominated landscape. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 42, 567-594,
  2. Han, D., Wang, P., Tansey, K., Zhou, X., Zhang, S., Tian, H., Zhang, J., and Li, H., 2020, Linking an agro-meteorological model and a water cloud model for estimating soil water content over wheat fields. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture, 179, 105833,
  3. da Conceição Bispo, P., Rodríguez-Veiga, P., Zimbres, B., do Couto de Miranda, S., Giusti Cezare, C.H., Fleming, S., Baldacchino, F., Louis, V., Rains, D., Garcia, M., Espírito-Santo, F.D.B., Roitman, I., Pacheco-Pascagaza, A.M., Gou, Y., Roberts, J., Barrett, K., Ferreira, L.G., Shimbo, J.Z., Alencar, A., Bustamante, M., Woodhouse, I., Sano, E.E., Ometto, J.P., Tansey, K., and Balzter, H., 2020, Woody Aboveground Biomass Mapping of the Brazilian Savanna with a Multi-Sensor and Machine Learning Approach. Remote Sensing, 12, 2685,
  4. Zhou, X., Wang, P., Tansey, K., Zhang, S., Li, H., Tian, H., 2020, Reconstruction of time series leaf area index for improving wheat yield estimates at field scales by fusion of Sentinel-2, -3 and MODIS imagery. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture, 177, 105692,
  5. Rasul, A., Ibrahim, G.R.F., Hameed, H.M., and Tansey, K., 2020, A trend of increasing burned areas in Iraq from 2001 to 2019. Environment, Development and Sustainability.
  6. Nie, J., Ren, H., Zheng, Y., Ghent, D., and Tansey, K., 2020, Land surface temperature and emissivity retrieval from nighttime middle-infrared and thermal-infrared Sentinel-3 images. IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters,
  7. Carreiras, J.M.B, Quegan, S., Tansey, K., and Page, S., 2020, Sentinel-1 observation frequency significantly increases burnt area detectability in tropical SE Asia. Environmental Research Letters, 15, 054008,
  8. Tanase, M.A., Belenguer-Plomer, M.A., Roteta, E., Bastarrika, A., Wheeler, J., Fernández-Carrillo, Á., Tansey, K., Wiedemann, W., Navratil, P., Lohberger, S., Siegert, F., and Chuvieco, E., 2020, Burned area detection and mapping: Intercomparison of Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 based algorithms over tropical Africa. Remote Sensing, 12, 334,
  9. Tian, H., Wang, P., Tansey, K., Zhang, S., Zhang, J., and Li, H., 2020, An IPSO-BP neural network for estimating wheat yield using two remotely sensed variables in the Guanzhong Plain, PR China. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture, 169, 105180,
  10. Zhou, X., Wang, P., Tansey, K., Zhang, S., Li, H., and Wang, L., 2020, Developing a fused vegetation temperature condition index for drought monitoring at field scales using Sentinel-2 and MODIS imagery. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture, 168, 105144,
  11. Zhou, X., Wang, P., Tansey, K., Ghent, D., Zhang, S., Li, H., and Wang, L., 2019, Drought monitoring using the Sentinel-3-based multiyear vegetation temperature condition index in the Guanzhong Plain, China. IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing, 13, 129-142,
  12. Hu, X., Ren, H., Tansey, K., Zheng, Y., Ghent, D., Liu, X., Yan, L., 2019, Agricultural drought monitoring using European Space Agency Sentinel 3A land surface temperature and normalized difference vegetation index imageries. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 279, 107707,
  13. Da Conceição Bispo, P., Pardini, M., Papathanassiou, K., Kugler, F., Balzter, H., Rains, D., dos Santos, J.R., Rizaev, I., Tansey, K., dos Santos, M.N., Spinelli, Araujoi, L., 2019, Mapping forest successional stages in the Brazilian Amazon using forest heights derived from TanDEM-X SAR interferometry. Remote Sensing of Environment, 232, 111194,
  14. Chuvieco, E., Lizundia-Loiola, J., Lucrecia Pettinari, M., Ramo, R., Padilla, M., Tansey, K., Mouillot, F., Laurent, P., Storm, T., Heil, A., and Plummer, S., 2018, Generation and analysis of a new global burned area product based on MODIS 250m reflectance bands and thermal anomalies. Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 10, 2015–2031,
  15. Ningthoujam, R.K., Balzter, H., Tansey, K., Feldpausch, T.R., Mitchard, E.T.A., Wani, A.A., and Joshi, P.K., 2017, Relationships of S-band radar backscatter and forest aboveground biomass in different forest types. Remote Sensing, 9, 1116,
  16. Padilla, M., Olofsson, P., Stehman, S.V., Tansey, K., and Chuvieco, E., 2017, Stratification and sample allocation for reference burned area data. Remote Sensing of Environment, 203, 240-255,
  17. Arellano, P., Tansey, K., Balzter, H., and Tellkamp, M., 2017, Plant family-specific impacts of petroleum pollution on biodiversity and leaf chlorophyll content in the Amazon Rainforest of Ecuador. PLoS ONE 12(1): e0169867,
  18. Konecny, K., Ballhorn, U., Navratil, P., Jubanski, J., Page, S.E., Tansey, K., Hooijer, A., Vernimmen, R., and Siegert, F., 2016, Variable carbon losses from recurrent fires in drained tropical peatlands. Global Change Biology, 22, 1469-1480,
  19. Chuvieco, E., Yue, C., Heil, A., Mouillot, F., Alonso-Canas, I., Padilla, M., Pereira, J. M., Oom, D., and Tansey, K., 2016, A new global burned area product for climate assessment of fire impacts. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 25, 619–629,
  20. Padilla, M., Stehman, S.V., Ramo, R., Corti, D., Hantson, S., Oliva, P., Alonso-Canas, I., Bradley, A.V., Tansey, K., Mota, B., Pereira, J.M., and Chuvieco, E., 2015, Comparing the accuracies of remote sensing global burned area products using stratified random sampling and estimation. Remote Sensing of Environment, 160, 114-121,

Take a look at my Google Scholar profile for a full list of publications.


I teach or have taught on the following modules in recent years:

  • GY1423: Exploring our Digital Planet - Undergraduate year 1 module delivered by BSc and BA Geography students.
  • GY3439: Understanding the Tropical Forests of SE Asia - Undergraduate year 3 module.
  • GY7705: Remote Sensing - Taught postgraduate module.

I have further taught Remote Sensing at undergraduate level, led field course modules and managed postgraduate thesis modules. I led the development of the Workplace Geographies module.

Supervision of Research Students

Research areas for PhD supervision

  • Earth observation & remote sensing
  • Land use and land cover change
  • Fire disturbance and burned area mapping
  • Landscape degradation and deforestation
  • Agri-Tech, crop yield and crop stress detection

Enquiries: If you are interested in studying for a PhD in one of these research areas, please make informal enquiries via

Find out more information about Geography PhDs including more research areas, how to apply, funding and entry requirements.

Current studentThesis Title
Pablo Gallego-Anex Improving fire hazard assessment in California using Sentinel-2 data (MPhil)
Mohammed Al-Hedyan Change detection of land use and land cover, using high repeat frequency satellite data (PhD)

Student completedThesis TitleLevel of AwardYear Awarded

Akram Abdulla

Using remote sensing to assess the effect of time of day on the spatial and temporal variation of LST in urban areas PhD 2021
Tom Potter Mobile laser scanning in forests: Mapping beneath the canopy PhD 2019
Sa'ad Ibrahim Remote sensing of tree/grass fractional cover using phenological signal decomposition of MODIS time series data PhD 2018
James Wheeler Forest extent monitoring in the Congo Basin using L-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR) PhD 2018
Andrew Tewkesbury A comparison of remote sensing change detection methods for urban creep identification in Norwich (UK) PhD 2017
Pedro Rodríguez-Veiga Large-scale mapping of forest aboveground biomass retrieval from maximum entropy using SAR and optical satellite data and topographic variables PhD 2016
Bashir Adamu Broadband multispectral indices for remote sensing of vegetation affected by oil spills in the mangrove forest of the Niger Delta, Nigeria PhD 2016
Ramesh Ningthoujam Retrieving forest characteristics from high-resolution airborne S-band radar data PhD 2016
Claire Burwell The effect of 2D vs. 3D visualisation on lidar point cloud analysis tasks PhD 2016
Penelope Kourkouli DInSAR/PSI hybrid methodologies for ground-motion monitoring PhD 2016
Narissara Nuthammachot Detecting forest degradation in tropical forests using Earth observation satellites PhD 2016
Mustafa Kose Improving population estimates using remotely sensed and Ordnance Survey datasets PhD 2015
Abdel Rahman Rakad Al-Shabeeb A modified analytical hierarchy process method to select sites for groundwater recharge in Jordan PhD 2015
Paul Arellano Hyperspectral remote sensing for detecting vegetation affected by hydrocarbons in the Amazon Forest PhD 2014
Sarah Owen Geological origins of sugarloaf mountains in eastern Brazil and their environmental significance as refugia for the Mata Atlantica rainforest PhD 2014
Matthew Waldram Characterising disturbance in tropical peat swamp forest using satellite imaging radar PhD 2014
Stephen Grebby Novel applications of airborne LiDAR and multispectral data for high-resolution geological mapping of vegetated ophiolitic rocks and sedimentary cover, Troodos Range, Cyprus PhD 2011
Bashar Dahdal The use of interferometric spaceborne radar and GIS to measure ground subsidence in peat soils in Indonesia PhD 2011
Milton Romero-Ruiz Influence of land use, climate and topography on the fire regime in the eastern savannas of Colombia PhD 2011
Cici Alexander Classification of full-waveform airborne laser scanning data and extraction of attributes of vegetation for topographic mapping PhD 2010
Sultan Al-Harbi Suitability of DEMs derived from SAR interferometry and ASTER stereoscopy for hydrological applications using GIS. A case study of Al-Jafer basin, Jordan PhD 2009
Agata Hoscilo Fire regime, vegetation dynamics and land cover change in tropical peatland, Indonesia PhD 2009
Amir Alwan Mapping bracken boundaries using remotely sensed data and GIS MPhil 2008
Matthew Adepoju Land use and land cover change detection with remote sensing and GIS at metropolitan Lagos, Nigeria (1984-2002) PhD 2007

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School of Geography, Geology and the Environment
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T: 0116 252 3933

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