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School of Geography

Lex Comber Prof Lex Comber

Contact details

Room 10.118, Irene Manton Building
School of Geography
University of Leeds
Leeds LS2 9JT   UK


+44 113 343 9225 (internal: 39225)

Student hours:
My office hours are really varied this year. Please email me for an appointment.

Research overview

My research in Spatial Data Analytics develops methods that integrate and analyse high volumes of spatial data to uncover hidden patterns / correlations. It provides spatial insight for social and environmental applications. The context for this work is the limitless demand for and capture of spatial data: from smartphone apps, social networks and more traditional activities related to planning, human rights, environmental justice, public health, climate change, agriculture, land use, etc.  

Current research is developing models for analysing spatial data generated by GPS-enabled devices in the context of environmental monitoring. This extends concepts of 'crowd sourcing' into the  'citizen sensor', supporting community empowerment, resilience and adaptability. 



Recent Publications

Benitez-Paez F, Comber A, Trilles S and Huerta J (in press). Creating a conceptual framework to assess and improve the re-usability of open geographic data in cities. Paper accepted for publication in Transactions in GIS(April 2018)

Comber Aand Kuhn W (2018). Fuzzy difference and data primitives: a transparent approach for supporting different definitions of forest in the context of REDD+. Paper accepted for publication in Geographica Helvetica,  73: 151-163, Paper: Data and code at

Fu W, Lü Y, Harris P, Comber Aand Wu L (2018). Peri-urbanization may vary with vegetation restoration: A large scale regional analysis. Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, 29: 77-87.

Luo Y, Lü Y, Fu B, Harris P, Wu L and Comber A(2018). When multi-functional landscape meets critical zone science: advancing multi-disciplinary research for sustainable human well-being. National Science Review,

Hu, J, Lü Y, Fu B, Comber AJand Harris P (2017). Quantifying the effect of ecological restoration on runoff and sediment yields: A meta-analysis for the Loess Plateau. Progress in Physical Geography, DOI:10.1177/0309133317738710

Harris, R., O’Sullivan, D., Gahegan, M., Charlton, M., Comber, L., Longley, P., Brunsdon, C., Malleson, N., Heppenstall, A., Singleton, A. Arribas-Bel, D. and Evans A (2017). More bark than bytes? Reflections on 21+ years of geocomputation. Environment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City Science44(4), pp.598-617

Li T, Lü Y, Fu B, Comber AJ, Harris P and Wu L (2017). Gauging policy-driven large-scale vegetation restoration programmes under a changing environment: their effectiveness and socioeconomic relationships. Science of the Total Environment, 607-608: 911-919, DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.07.044

Tsutsumida N, Harris P and Comber A(2017). The application of a geographically weighted principal components analysis for exploring 23 years of goat population change across Mongolia. Annals of the American Association of Geographers, 107(5): 1060-1074,

Comber A, Brunsdon CF, Charlton M and Harris P (2017). Geographically weighted correspondence matrices for local change analyses and error reporting: mapping the spatial distribution of errors and change. Remote Sensing Letters, 8(3): 234-243,

Comber A, Harris P and Tsutsumida N (2016). Improving land cover classification using input variables derived from a geographically weighted principal components analysis. ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, 119: 347–360, doi:10.1016/j.isprsjprs.2016.06.014.

Comber A, Mooney P, Purves RS,Rocchini D and WalzA (2016). Crowdsourcing: It Matters Who the Crowd Are. The Impacts of between Group Variations in Recording Land Cover. PlosONE, 11(7): e0158329, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0158329

Comber A, Davies H, Pinder D, Whittow JB, Woodhall A and Johnson SCM (2016). Mapping coastal land use changes 1965-2014: methods for handling historical thematic data. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, DOI: 10.1111/tran.12128

See L, Mooney P, Foody G, Bastin L, Comber A, Estima J, Steffen F, Kerle N, Jiang B, Laakso M, Liu HY, Milčinski G, Nikšič M, Painho m, Pődör A, Olteanu-Raimond AM and Rutzinger M (2016). Crowdsourcing, Citizen Science or Volunteered Geographic Information? The Current State of Crowdsourced Geographic Information, ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information, 5:55

Comber A, Balzter H, Cole B, Johnson S, Oguto B and Fisher P, (2016). Methods to quantify regional differences in land cover change. Remote Sensing,8, 176; doi:10.3390/rs8030176

Comber A, Fonte C, Foody G, Fritz S, Harris P, Raimond A-M and See L, (2016). Geographically weighted evidence combination approaches for combining discordant and inconsistent volunteered geographical information. GeoInformatica, 20(3): 503-527. Doi: 0.1007/s10707-016-0248-z



Curriculum Vitae - read more
Publications - read more