UCL Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering


2019 Roger Tomlinson Prize Lecture

24 July 2019

2019’s Roger Tomlinson Prize Lecture was held in June, and saw Maynooth University’s Prof Chris Brunsdon give a talk on identifying local effects in global indicators. The prize itself recognised CEGE graduate Dr Huanfa Chen’s thesis as the best UCL PhD thesis in the GIS field.

Student receives prize from professors

Established at UCL by Jack Dangermond, founder of GIS company ESRI, the Roger Tomlinson Prize honours the work and research of Dr Tomlinson, who completed his PhD in the UCL Department of Geography in 1974. Dr Tomlinson is widely considered to be the ‘Father of GIS’ (Geographic Information Systems). 

The annual prize is awarded for the best PhD thesis submitted to UCL relating to the development or application of GIS. The prize is intended to support new PhD scholars in sharing their ideas around the world, and in developing their careers.

This year’s ceremony first saw a seminar hosted by Prof Paul Longley of UCL Geography, where Prof Brunsdon, Director of the National Centre for Geocomputation at Maynooth University, lectured on local measures providing local indicators of spatial association (LISAs). This was illustrated through two applications; identifying correlations in local crime rates and clusters in the population of people having a limiting long-term illness, as reported to the 2011 UK Census of Population.

Dr James Haworth, SpaceTimeLab member and programme director of CEGE’s Geospatial Sciences (GIS and Computing) MSc, commented that it was a “delight to be able to welcome as distinguished a colleague as Prof Chris Brunsdon to give this year’s prize lecture. Prof Brunsdon is world-renowned for his work on geographically weighted methods, which have had a significant impact on the field of GIS.”

The presentation of the 2019 Prize then followed, with recent Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering (CEGE) and SpaceTimeLab PhD graduate Dr Huanfa Chen, now of UCL CASA, presented with the award by Prof Peter Wood, UCL Emeritus Professor of Geography. 

Dr James Haworth noted that Dr Chen’s thesis, on police patrol routing optimisation, “has contributed to advancing network based GIScience and improving policing efficiency. It is a worthy winner of the 2019 Roger Tomlinson Prize.”

A reception in CEGE’s Chadwick Building brought the successful evening to a close. 


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  • Credit: Dr James Haworth
  • Caption: Dr Huanfa Chen receives the Roger Tomlinson Prize. From left to right, Prof Chris Brunson, Prof Paul Longley, Dr Huanfa Chen, Prof Tao Cheng (SpaceTimeLab Director) and Prof Peter Wood.