3D Stereo Virtual Reality Theatre

New to Leicester in 2006 and updated in 2010, is the department's virtual reality theatre, seating 12 people. We will be using 3d methods to visualise the way in which GIS methods work to achieve everyday tasks and to portray how landscapes have evolved over time connected, for example, with the department’s physical geography field trip to Almeria in Spain. Here at Leicester however, developing Virtual Reality projects is not just for staff; two former BSc students have received student bursaries to develop Virtual Reality projects while another third year BSc student has undertaken a dissertation on visualising vegetation and topography relationships in the Tabernas badlands of South East Spain.VR Students

The Environmental Stable Isotope Laboratory

The department was recently awarded a grant to install a state-of-the-art research laboratory dedicated to environmental stable isotope research. The facility is ideally suited for organic compound specific (biomarker) d13C and dD analyses. In addition to this, the facility will be used for the determination of d13C, d15N, d18O and dD on bulk organic samples and the isotopic composition of carbonates, water and air. In addition, the laboratory houses a stand alone quadruple GC/MS system for the identification of biomarkers in complex organic extracts. Several methods are available to analyse samples for their chemical composition including an elemental analyser for C, N measurements (e.g. total organic carbon, nitrogen and C/N ratios) and a Varian Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer (AAS) 200HT unit typically used for the determination of Na, K, Cl, Mg, Sr, and Cd in soil and water samples. A Beckman Coulter LS230 laser particle size analyser is available for determining particle size distributions of soils and sediments.Research Lab 12

The Palaeo-ecology Laboratory

A key approach to understanding long-term ecological and environmental change is the analysis of micro-fossils such as pollen, diatoms and ostracods. These are preserved in sedimentary deposits and peat bogs and changes in their species composition and abundance allow us to interpret past (palaeo) environmental changes. Their analysis requires careful extraction from sediments and rocks, which is performed in our specialised palaeo-ecological laboratory, fully refurbished in 2012.Pollen Lab 8

The Geochronology Laboratory

The analysis of long-term landscape evolution and palaeo-environemntal change is predicated on the availability of reliable numerical dating (“geochronology”). In 2012 we established a new laboratory for this purpose, which focusses on the technique of optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating. This, and the allied technique of thermoluminescence (TL) dating, allows us to estimate the time elapsed since sediments were last exposed to sunlight (burial duration) or heated (e.g. fired in a kiln). As such, they provide chronological information relevant to both landform/landscape evolution and archaeological research over timescales of several decades to c. 200,000 years.Luminescence Lab

The Geomorphological Hardware Modelling Laboratory

The Geomorphological Hardware Modelling Laboratory

This laboratory is an experimental facility that allows us to study processes of erosion by water under carefully controlled conditions. It consists of a rainfall simulator that can simulate rainstorms of differing duration and intensity and a flume channel. The former is used to study processes of soil erosion on hillslopes whilst the latter facilitates the study of river channel processes.


MSc Teaching and Computer Laboratories

GIS Teaching and Research Laboratory

Teaching and laboratory facilities for postgraduate courses in the Department are excellent. You will have exclusive access to two dedicated study rooms in the Department both equipped with PCs. Other facilities include digitising tables, printers, plotters and scanners. Software resources such as ESRI’s Arc/Info and ArcView, ERDAS Imagine, ENVI IDL and IDRISI are all available. The department has installed LINIX and SUN work-stations alongside a virtual reality theatre in newly refurbished computing laboratories in our CETL.

Other Equipment

As a department we are well stocked with basic equipment such as recording devices (loggers), digital cameras, pH kits, flowmeters, surveying equipment, soil temperature and moisture probes etc. We also have a range of GPS equipment including a differential unit capable of providing centimetre location accuracy. We have a significant number of hand-held PDA's so that you can make and record measurements and view satellite data whilst in the field. In addition, we have interview recording and transcribing equipment.

The Department's Map Library has over 100,000 accessions (including aerial photographs and atlases) most of which are on a computer query-and-loan database. A new eddy covariance flux tower was purchased recently to measure carbon, energy and water fluxes between vegetation and the atmosphere.


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Contact Details

School of Geography, Geology and the Environment
Bennett Building
University Road
University of Leicester

T: 0116 252 3933

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