The Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis


Melda Salhab

Thesis Title: Land Cover Mapping-as-a-Service (LC-MaaS): Automatic and Ubiquitous Land Cover Map Generation

Supervisor: Dr Ana Basiri

Second Supervisor: Dr Mat Disney

Funding: UCL Overseas Research Scholarship

Start Date: October 2019


Melda is a doctoral researcher at the Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis. Prior to commencing her PhD, she worked as a management consultant at Monitor Deloitte in Dubai, UAE, where she focused on economic development projects for public sector clients across the Middle East.

Melda has a BA in Economics and Peace & Justice Studies (double major) from Wellesley College, Boston, USA. She also has an MSc in Urban Economic Development and an MRes in Spatial Data Science & Visualisation, both from University College London, UK.  

Research Summary

Melda’s research focuses on automated landcover classification, change detection, and the spatialization of economic indicators. Driven by continuous difficulties in obtaining high-quality, timely, and relevant data for her work, Melda gained a first-hand appreciation for the extent to which lack of data hinders economic development efforts. She is interested in exploring how best to use remote sensing datasets and machine learning to fill in critical data gaps in developing countries. Her goal is to build a user-friendly tool that would generate land cover maps or land cover change data, on-demand, for any area of interest. In order to meet her objectives, Melda will research different classification methods, various public satellite datasets, optical and radar data, night-light imagery, data fusion techniques, spatial data quality evaluation, crowdsourcing approaches, etc.