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Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing.
Penrhyn Road
Kingston upon Thames
Surrey KT1 2EE

Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 9000

Prof. Nigel Walford

School/Department: Natural & Built Environments
Position: Professor of Applied GIS


Nigel Walford is Professor of Applied GIS at Kingston University, leader of the People, Place and Environment research group and Director of the Centre for Earth and Environmental Sciences Research. He joined Kingston University in 1989 from the ESRC Data Archive at the University of Essex where he had worked on a number of data dissemination and analysis projects, including acting as the Census Officer. His main research and teaching interests reflect this longstanding focus on geographical and spatial data especially in relation to geodemographics, population ageing, counterurbanisation, agriculture and environmental planning. Over some 30 years he has an extensive publication record of journal papers, books and book chapters, computer-based teaching materials, conference proceedings and conference papers. Wiley-Blackwell published his latest book in January 2011, entitled Practical Statistics for Geographers and Earth Scientists. His research has been supported by the ESRC, Scottish Executive, Department of Communities and Local Government, Nuffield Foundation and British Academy. Current ongoing research relates to older people's use of unfamiliar space, the development on an online spatial analysis service for census datasets and mid-20th century agricultural change.

Educational and Professional Qualifications

  • 2003 - present Chartered Geographer, Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers
  • 2002 - present Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • 1981 - 2005 Member of the Agricultural Economics Society
  • 1980 - present Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers
  • 1980 - present Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers
  • 1977 - 1981 PhD London University
  • 1974 - 1977 BA Geography University of Sussex

Research Interests

The Geography of London's Population: Populating Places with Historical Census Statistics (Senior Research Fellowship funded by The British Academy/The Leverhulme Trust)
Ease of access to records of historical population censuses in the form of scanned images of the enumerators' returns and census schedules has fuelled enthusiasm for genealogical research. Although the published volumes of census statistics are included in the Vision of Britain website, the individual and household level data for a sizeable settlement have not been systematically exploited to investigate the micro-scale population geography locked into these important historical data
sources. The research will link together historical and modern geospatial data for street addresses with 1901 and 1911 population census records and with street maps of Booth's survey of London. The resultant integrated database will be exploited to explore micro-scale changes in London's population geography in the first decades of the 20th and 21st centuries. From an analytical perspective this database will enable the effects of aggregation from individual and household data
to different types of comparable spatial unit to be assessed.

Older People's Use of Unfamiliar Space (OPUS) (UK Research Councils' award Ref. RES-352-25-0003)
A collaborative project with Prof. Judith Phillips and Dr Mike Lewis (Swansea), Ann Hockey (Anglia Ruskin) and Prof. Nigel Foreman (Middlesex) under the UK Research Council's New Dynamics of Ageing Programme ( that has explored the mechanisms and strategies used by older people to navigate unfamiliar spaces as pedestrians. It has also investigated the influences on someone's ability to cope with unfamiliar environments and examined the extent to which they curtail autonomy and independence, and lead to social (and environmental) exclusion. The project also explores how technologies can assist in enabling older people to adapt to or ameliorate change in their environment.

Web-based Spatio-temporal Interpolator for Census Area Statistics (ESRC award Ref. RES-348-25-0012)
This project has been supported under the ESRC/JISC Census Development Programme to develop a demonstrator system with the facility to perform an integrated set of spatial analytic procedures in order to generate consistent spatial units spanning recent British censuses based on Census Output Area geography and associated estimates of census counts. Each of the recent censuses has added to the UK's historical legacy of digital boundary data and small area population statistics, although each also comprises a discrete data collection event set in a specific economic, political, social and technological context. The demonstrator has been designed with input from the Census Data Units and piloted with a group of currently registered users of the data sources.

An investigation into residential development on back gardens in England: back garden developments understanding the issues (Department of Communities and Local Government).
A collaborative project with Kingston University colleagues (Sayce, S, Garside, P, Harris, C, Villars, N, Phipps, P and Vickers, A) that sought to quantify the extent of development of occurring on garden land in England and to explore differences in perception of this type of development as an issue of public concern in different parts of the country.

Teaching Area

Level 5: Analysis and Display of Spatial Data Levels 6/7: GIS for People and Environments Level 7: Research Methods and Skills

Other Professional Activity

Member of ESRC Peer Review College (2010-)
Treasurer Commonwealth Geographical Bureau (2009-present
Independent Evaluator for European Commission Framework Programme 7 (2008-2013)
Member of Advisory Board of the Bulletin of Geography (2009-present)
Chair Rural Geography Research Group (2013-)
Treasurer Population Geography Research Group (2009-present)
Treasurer Council of British Geography (2008-present)
Initial Assessor for Chartered Geographer, Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers (2004-present)
AGI Nominated Member of the EUROGI Working and Advisory Group (WAG) on Datasets (INSPIRE) (2004-2007)
British Science Association Recorder (Section E - Geography) (2003-present)
Rural Geography Research Group Committee Secretary (1986-90), Treasurer (1993-01) and Ordinary Member (1985-86, 2001-2010)
South East Region Computer Users' Committee (2002-07)
Joint Editor of GeoByte, Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers (2000-04)
Editorial Board of Human Geography Abstracts (1997-99)
Kingston Branch Secretary, Geographical Association (1990-96)
ESRC Census Working Party sub-group on Samples of Anonymised Records from the 1991 Population Census (1988-90)
Inter University Software Committee Working Party on Large Scale Datasets (1982-87)


    +Professional Experience



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