Dr Alastair Pearson
Buckingham Building, Lion Terrace, Portsmouth, Hants, PO1 3HE
Alastair graduated from the University of Leeds in 1982 and completed a postgraduate Diploma in Cartography at the University College of Swansea in 1983. Alastair then joined the staff at Portsmouth as Map Librarian and became Head of the Geographical Information Services Unit in 1987 before his appointment as lecturer in 1991. He was awarded his PhD in 1996 and made Principal Lecturer in 1997.
History of Cartography
Alastair’s recent research has concentrated on the history of cartography in the twentieth century, particularly international mapping (Pearson and Heffernan, 2009; Pearson and Heffernan 2008; Pearson et al, 2006). He has contributed to the Exploratory Essays Initiative funded by the National Science Foundation (Pearson, 2002). In 2007 Alastair was awarded the John S. Best Research Fellowship by the AGS Library to study the 1:1 Million Map of Hispanic America published by the AGS (see Project Outline) and has been awarded funding by the British Academy to present the results at the International Cartography Association Conference in Santiago, Chile in November 2009. He also presented the ‘Holzheimer Maps and America Lecture’ at the University of Wisconsin in May 2008 to mark the 30th Anniversary of the AGS Library at Milwaukee. He is a contributor to Volume VI of the History of Cartography edited by Mark Monmonier.
Alastair is currently working with Martin Schaefer and Bernard Jenny (ETH Zürich) on the terrain models of Joachim Eugen Müller (1752-1833) and the production of the "Atlas Suisse par Meyer et Weiss". Non-contact 3D laser scanning techniques are being employed to capture and assess the accuracy of the original models and evaluate the potential for using such techniques for archiving (Pearson, A.W., Schaefer, M and Jenny, B. (2009); Pearson, A.W., Schaefer, M and Jenny, B. (2008))
GIS for Monitoring Change
Alastair has worked with Dr Brian Baily to provide the first reliable measurements of vegetation change and rates of saltmarsh erosion through use of historical aerial photographs along the South Coast of England (Baily and Pearson, 2007) and, with colleagues, identified appropriate methods for the creation of digital terrain models using photogrammetry for geomorphological analysis (Baily et al., 2003).
GIS and Agricultural History
Alastair maintains a strong research interest in the application of GIS to the study of past agricultural landscapes from the west coast of Pembrokeshire to the flat Fenlands of Cambridgeshire (Pearson, 2006). He has published and presented several papers on the application of GIS to the study of agricultural productivity in the nineteenth century using multilevel modelling techniques (Pearson and Collier, 1998).
Alastair delivers GIS components of the undergraduate and postgraduate teaching in the Department and embeds much of his research within it. He is coordinator of four GIS units:
- Introduction to Geographical Information Systems
- Maps and Survey: A History
- Geographical Data Modelling and Manipulation
- Implementing Geographical Information Systems
Alastair leads a residential GIS field course to Malta and has recently returned from an expedition to Iceland where students assisted in the measurement of glacial retreat using GPS and photogrammetry.
I am happy to supervise research on any of the above topics and would suggest any prospective student to contact me by email.