Professor Kevin Tansey

Kevin Tansey

Professor of Remote Sensing

Contact details

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

Personal details

Impact, enterprise and outreach

  • I am an Associate Editor of the International Journal of Remote Sensing (IJRS)
  • I am part of the Chinese State Adminstration of Foreign Expert Affairs (SAFEA) programme with Peking University
  • 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 former Member of the Terrestrial Observation Panel for Climate (TOPC). TOPC is jointly sponsored by the UN WMO Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) and by the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) of the United Nations (UN) World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
  • I am a 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
  • I am a former member of the Committee of Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) Land Product Validation (LPV) subgroup co-chair for burned area
  • I am a principal investigator for projects using ALOS PALSAR (JAXA), DMC, TerraSar-X and ESA data
  • Article reviewer for International Journal of Remote Sensing, Geophysical Research Letters, Remote Sensing of Environment, IEEE Transactions in Geoscience and Remote Sensing, International Journal of Geographical Information Science, Global Change Biology, Computers and Geosciences, Journal of Biogeography, Biogeosciences, International Journal of Wildland Fire, Environment Research Letters, Remote Sensing (Open Access Journal), Land (Open Access Journal), International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, Ecological Indicators, IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing, International Journal of Earth Sciences, Journal of Maps
  • I am Guest Editor of a Special Issue in the journal Remote Sensing (Open Access Journals) on the topic of 'Quantifying the Environmental Impact of Forest Fires' following the hugely successful 9th EARSeL Forest Fire Special Interest Group Workshop, held at Coombe Abbey, Warwickshire (UK) in October 2013 which I convened
  • I have examined Doctoral thesis at UCL (UK), Reading (UK), Salford (UK), Nottingham (UK), Swansea (UK), Newcastle (UK), Kings College London (UK), University College Cork (Ireland), University College Dublin (Ireland) and Zaragoza (Spain)
  • Visiting scientist at the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission (2006)
  • I am member of the University of Leicester Centre for Landscape and Climate Research (CLCR)
  • teach Remote Sensing and Earth Observation at undergraduate and postgraduate level. I also conceived and designed the Workplace Geographies module at Leicester that raises awareness in students of the important issues and topics that Geographers are well-positioned to address
  • I am an Academic Associate of the Higher Education Academy (HEA)

Publications (20 most recent listed)

  1. 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,
  2. 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,
  3. Ibrahim, S., Balzter, H., Tansey, K., Mathieu, R., and Tsutsumida, N., 2019, Impact of soil reflectance variation correction on woody cover estimation in Kruger National Park using MODIS data. Remote Sensing, 11, 898,
  4. Sun, Y., Wang, Q., Tansey, K., Ullah, S., Liu, F., Zhao, H., and Yan, L., 2019, Multi-constrained optimization method of line segment extraction based on multi-scale image space. ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information, 8, 183,
  5. Zheng, Y., Ren, H., Guo, J., Ghent, D., Tansey, K., Hu, X., Nie, J., and Chen, S., 2019, Land surface temperature retrieval from Sentinel-3A Sea and Land Surface Temperature Radiometer, using a split-window algorithm. Remote Sensing, 11, 650,
  6. Rodríguez-Veiga, P., Quegan, S., Carreiras, J., Persson, H.J., Fransson, J.E.S., Hoscilo, A., Ziółkowski, D., Stereńczak, K., Lohberger, S., Stängel, M., Berninger, A., Siegert, F., Avitabile, V., Herold, M., Mermoz, S., Bouvet, A., Le Toan, T., Carvalhais, N., Santoro., M., Cartus, O., Rauste, Y., Mathieu, R., Asner, G.P., Thiel, C., Pathe, C, Schmullius, C., Seifert, F.M., Tansey, K., and Balzter, H., 2019, Forest biomass retrieval approaches from earth observation in different biomes. International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, 77, 53-68,
  7. 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,
  8. Yan, Y., Yang, P., Yan, L., Wan, J., Sun, Y., Tansey, K., Asundi, A.K., Zhao, H., 2018, Automatic checkerboard detection for camera calibration using self-correlation. Journal of Electronic Imaging, 27, 033014,
  9. Adamu, B., Tansey, K., and Ogutu, B., 2018, Remote sensing for detection and monitoring of vegetation affected by oil spills. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 39, 3628-3645,
  10. Ibrahim, S., Balzter, H., Tansey, K., Tsutsumida, N., and Mathieu, R., 2018, Estimating fractional cover of plant functional types in African savannah from harmonic analysis of MODIS time-series data. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 39, 2718-2745,
  11. 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,
  12. 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,
  13. Rodriguez-Veiga, P., Wheeler, J., Louis, V., Tansey, K., and Balzter, H., 2017, Quantifying forest biomass carbon stocks from space. Current Forestry Reports, 1-18,
  14. 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.
  15. Grebby, S., Field, E., and Tansey, K., 2016, Evaluating the use of an object-based approach to lithological mapping in vegetated terrain. Remote Sensing, 8, 843,
  16. Ningthoujam, R.K., Balzter, H., Tansey, K., Morrison, K., Johnson, S.C., Gerard, F., George, C., Malhi, Y., Burbidge, G., Doody, S., Veck, N., Llewellyn, G.M., Blythe, T., Rodriguez-Veiga, P., van Beijma, S., Spies, B., Barnes, C., Padilla-Parellada, M., Wheeler, J.E., Louis, V., Potter, T., Edwards-Smith, A., and Bermejo, J.P., 2016, Airborne S-Band SAR for forest biophysical retrieval in temperate mixed forests of the UK. Remote Sensing, 8, 609,
  17. Ningthoujam, R.K., Tansey, K., Balzter, H., Morrison, K., Johnson, S.C.M., Gerard, F., George, C., Burbidge, G., Doody, S., Veck, N., Llewellyn, G.M., and Blythe, T., 2016, Mapping forest cover and forest cover change with airborne S-Band radar. Remote Sensing, 8, 577,
  18. Rodríguez-Veiga, P., Saatchi, S., Tansey, K., and Balzter, H., 2016, Magnitude, spatial distribution and uncertainty of forest biomass stocks in Mexico. Remote Sensing of Environment, 183, 265-281,
  19. Adamu, B., Tansey, K., and Ogutu, B., 2016, An investigation into the factors influencing the detectability of oil spills using spectral indices in an oil-polluted environment. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 37, 2166-2185,
  20. 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,

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


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.

I have published more than 60 journal papers in a career spanning almost 25 years since commencing my PhD in 1995. I have successfully supervised 18 PhD students and currently supervise a further 3. I have been involved in a number of projects that support these research interests.

I have also worked with industry on a number of collaborative and consultancy project (see below). I was extensively involved in a Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 impact case study where my research into global vegetation fire mapping and fire disturbances in Indonesian Peatlands has wider societal and economic benefits.

Projects and industry-facing consultancy

  • AGRI-TECH in China through the support of the STFC ATCNN+ programme and a Royal Society Newton Mobility grant. Collaborations in place with Peking University and China Agricultural University.
  • Assessment of fire severity in the KFCP REDD demonstration project area; Greenhouse Gas Peat Model Adviser; Finalisation of the KFCP peatland GHG analysis and provision of peatland GHG Information for INCAS (3 contracts) for Indonesia Australia Forest Carbon Partnership via DFAT - Australian Aid
  • AstroTROP - Utilizing virtual observatory technology to improve the frequency and coverage of tropical forest monitoring funded by STFC External Innovations - Challenge Led Applied Systems Programme (CLASP)
  • ESA Climate Change Initiative (CCI) - Fire ECV funded by the European Space Agency
  • GBA2000 - Global Burned Area 2000 funded by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission
  • Geoland2 - Operational Monitoring Services for our Changing Environment funded by the European Commission through FP7
  • GIONET - GMES Initial Operations Network for Earth Observation Research Training (GIONET) funded by the European Commission through FP7
  • CGLOPS - GMES (Copernicus) Land Operational Serviice - burned area product funded by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission via VITO
  • ISMORTASED - Identification of sites for micro-hydropower on rivers through applied satellite and environmental data funded by the Technology Strategy Board (Ref - 131545) with High Efficiency Heating Ltd. See Press Release here
  • L3JRC funded by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission
  • Marabu biomass estimation using remote sensing for Havana Energy Ltd.
  • PyroPower Africa project with the company Pyrogenesys to assess crop waste residue in Nigeria for power generation
  • RHEES - Rural hybrid energy enterprise systems funded as part of EPSRC and DST India's 'Bridging the urban rural divide' (BURD) programme
  • SIBERIA-I funded by the European Commission through FP4

If you represent a business or industry and are interested in discussing how we can help, then please get in touch.


Research areas for PhD supervision

  • Earth Observation
  • Remote Sensing
  • Burned Area
  • Tropical Forest
  • Tropical Peatland
  • Agri-Tech
  • Digital Elevation Modelling
  • Off-grid Electricity, Hydro-power

I am interested in supervising students on the following topics:

  • Mapping vegetation fires using Sentinel-1/-2 and Landsat-8 data
  • Real-time methods to characterise disturbance of tropical peatlands using Earth Observation data
  • New methods for the use of Earth Observation data for Agri-tech applications
  • Estimation of local flow rates and other channel and catchment properties from Earth Observation data

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.

PhD Project with the CENTA DTP NOW AVAILABLE. Click Here for more information.


Find out more about our current research postgraduates.

StudentThesis Title
Pablo Gallego-Anex Improving fire hazard assessment in California using Sentinel-2 data
Mohammed Al-Hedyan Change detection of land use and land cover, using high repeat frequency satellite data
Akram Abdulla Land surface temperature estimation at solar maximum at high resolution


StudentThesis TitleLevel of AwardYear Awarded

Sa'ad Ibrahim

Remote sensing of tree/grass fractional cover in African savanna using phenological signal decomposition of MODIS time-series PhD 2019
Tom Potter Estimating aboveground forest biomass in voxel space: a multi-sensor approach PhD 2019
Andrew Tewkesbury A comparison of direct classification and change vector analysis for complex urban change detection PhD 2018
James Wheeler Forest cover classification in the Congo Basin using L-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR) PhD 2018
Pedro Rodríguez-Veiga Large-scale mapping of forest above‑ground biomass retrieval from maximum entropy using SAR and optical satellite data PhD 2017
Bashir Adamu Broadband multispectral indices for remote sensing of vegetation affected by oil spills in the mangrove forest of the Niger Delta, Nigeria PhD 2017
Ramesh Ningthoujam Retrieving forest characteristics from high-resolution airborne S-band radar data PhD 2016
Claire Burwell The effect of 3D versus 2D visualisation on the accuracy of lidar point cloud analysis 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
Paul Arellano Hyperspectral remote sensing for detecting vegetation affected by hydrocarbons in the Amazon Forest PhD 2015
Mustafa Kose Improving population estimation models using remotely sensed and Ordnance Survey datasets PhD 2015
Abdel-Rahman al-Shabeeb A modified analytical hierarchy process method to select sites for groundwater recharge in Jordan PhD 2015
Sarah Owen Geological origins of sugarloaf peaks in eastern Brazil and their environmental significance as refugia for Mata Atlantica preservation 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' (NERC CASE studentship with the British Geological Survey) PhD 2011
Bashar Dahdal The use of interferometric spaceborne radar and GIS to measure peat subsidence 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
Sultan Al-Harbi Suitability of DEMs derived from SAR interferometry and ASTER stereoscopy for mapping topographic structure within a GIS environment PhD 2010
Cici Alexander Classification of full-waveform airborne laser scanning data and extraction of attributes of vegetation for topographic mapping PhD 2010
Agata Hoscilo Fire regime, vegetation dynamics and land cover change in tropical peatland, Indonesia PhD 2010
Amir Alwan Mapping bracken boundaries using remotely sensed data and GIS MPhil 2008
Matthew Adepoju Monitoring urbanization in Lagos, Nigeria using remote sensing and GIS PhD 2007

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