Professor Allan J. Brimicombe
Tel: 020 8223 2352
Fax: 020 8223 2918
See Publications in the RESEARCH section
Location Based Services and Geo-Information Engineering Out Now.
BA(Hons) Geography, Sheffield University
MPhil Applied Geomorphology, Hong Kong University
PhD Geographical Information Systems, Hong Kong University
C.Geog Chartered Geographer
Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society
Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society
Executive Committee, British Society of Criminology
AcSS Academician of Academy of Social Science
Allan had worked in the Far East first as an engineering geomorphologist by an international firm of consulting engineers, then being general manager of a subsidiary company – Engineering Terrain Evaluation Ltd. In 1989, he joined the Hong Kong Polytechnic University where he founded the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics. Here he pioneered the use of geo-information systems (GIS) and environmental modelling as spatial decision support systems. In 1995, he returned to the UK as Professor and Head of the School of Surveying at the University of East London. In 2001 he formed the Centre for
see Professor Brimicombe discuss Geographical Information Systems in relation to consultancy and knowledge exchange.
Knowledge as a raw material
A company's greatest asset is its data, and Professor Allan Brimicombe can help London's businesses and organisations tap into this rich seam
"We live in an age where knowledge is a raw material. Like any other raw material, knowledge has to be extracted. Knowledge is extracted from data" so says Professor Allan Brimicombe, Head of our Centre for Geo-Information Studies (CGIS).
The Centre specialises in all aspects of geographic information, and makes particular use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software for data handling, analysis, visualisation and modelling.
What Allan, and the Centre for Geo-information Studies, has to offer businesses and organisations is effective analysis of their data so that they can plan and respond.
Allan says: "An organisation's data is probably one of its most expensive assets. It contains so much knowledge about the organisation. Don't analyse it and it's all wasted." While organisations often don't have the know-how to analyse data, Allan and his team can transfer the pragmatic skills needed for analysis, as well as building a data infrastructure and culture in organisations, so that they have a more integrated and informed approach to the data they are collecting.
On graduating in the seventies in Geography from Sheffield University, Allan worked in the the Far East as an engineering geomorphologist, for a company now known as Black and Veatch. In the early eighties Allan opened a subsidiary company for them called Engineering Terrain Evaluation Ltd. His patch spanned Malaysia, Hong Kong and China.
Engineering geomorphology was a relatively new field then and these professionals were highly sought after, in every major engineering project, around the world.
Allan explains: "I was the first guy in on a project. I would map all the opportunities and constraints and carry out initial planning to ensure the right location was selected, and that it was going to be cost effective."
For twelve years Allan worked on projects, which often involved him in working alone in difficult and harsh environments, armed only with his geological hammer and compass-clinometer, to battle the elements. His field work alternated with running the company, attracting clients and managing his team.
In 1989, Allan founded the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. This was where he first came into contact with University of East London (UEL), since most land surveyors at that time had been trained at North East London Polytechnic (NELP), one of our predecessor institutions.
Here, Allan was combining GIS software with Environmental modelling, which at
the time was pioneering stuff.
In 1995, Allan moved to London and to UEL as the Head of School for Surveying. After spending nineteen years working as a tropical engineering geomorphologist in often hostile conditions and terrains, two things struck Allan most about London. The mountains he encountered were of data, that were collected and not analysed, and having come home to this affluent, dynmamic, powerhouse of a city, he saw that many Londoners were marginalised, underpriveleged and disengaged.
Allan explains: "Geomorphology is the analysis of a landscape and this can equally well be applied to cultural and economic mapping as that of a physical landmass." Today Allan works on largely social projects, such as crime, patterns of health, educational attainment, social exclusion and deprivation and residential segregation, but also the more physical studies such as, failures in water pipe systems for utitlity companies. In each case, data are integrated from a variety of sources and analysed for the knowledge they contain and studied spatially, against their location and occurrence.
This analysis can then be effectively used to tackle inequality and injustice. For example, Allan's team has worked in partnership with Newham Police to develop profiling of individuals who are regular victims of crime. This means in London where there is an incidence of domestic violence, on average, every seven minutes, being able to pick up on individuals for whom this is chronic, and then put in place a timely response, is vital.
Soon, the Centre for Geo-Information Studies will move into the Knowledge Dock building, and this newly-formed hive of interactivity for our research centres and budding entrepreneurs, promises to be particularly rewarding for all concerned.
Knowledge Dock's strength is in facilitiating the hybrid-working of many multidisciplinary teams such as SimLab, SmartLab and LERI with GIS. As Allan explains: "When we work with individuals from wide-ranging areas on complex projects we get more creativity, because each person looks at things from a completely different angle. Communication in the group becomes very exciting
and we are more likely to discover new oppportunities, solutions and ways of working."
Tel: 020 8223 2352
Fax: 020 8223 2918
Location: Rm K2.28, The Knowledge Dock, Docklands Campus
For a general description of these pages and an explanation of how they should work with screenreading equipment please follow this link:Link to general description
For further information on this web site's accessibility features please follow this link:Link to accessibility information
The following message does not apply to screenreader users:
You will still be able to access all the essential content of this web site, but it will not look, or function, exactly as intended.