Dr Fleur Visser

FleurWebsite photo

Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography

Geography, Archaeology and the Environment

Contact Details

email: f.visser@worc.ac.uk
tel: 01905 855236 twitter:@visser_worcs

From Fleur's undergraduate degree in Physical Geography at the University of Amsterdam she gained strong field-based research skills, which she used to produce a sediment budget for tropical sugarcane land during my PhD project at the Australian National University and CSIRO Townsville. A subsequent opportunity to study soil erosion in a different way, using hyperspectral image data, sparked her interest in the use of Earth Observation (EO) image analysis for mapping and monitoring of the world around us.

Fleur's ongoing research investigates the possibilities for using very high and ultra-high resolution imagery (e.g. collected from drones) to detect and map submerged aquatic vegetation and algae in shallow river systems. Fleur uses Object-based image analysis (OBIA) and Structure from Motion (SfM) photogrammetry techniques, which makes it possible to remotely study river environments that until recently were beyond the reach of EO technology.

More recently Fleur has started using Sentinel-2 satellite data to map spatial ecological patterns and features, for example the mapping of glacial ponds in Herefordshire, UK. Fleur co-supervises two PhD students who use GIS and EO techniques, including Sentinel data analysis for habitat preference mapping. They are studying the recovery of brown bears in Lithuania and the presence of bumblebees in Worcestershire wildflower meadows.

Fleur's role as Chair of the Education & Training Committee of the Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society (RSPSoc), looks at ways to make a wider audience aware of the awesomeness of Earth Observation. As part of this she develops CPD sessions that provide teachers with ideas for using EO in their teaching and run popular hands-on sessions in primary schools.

Although Fleur spends a lot more time at her computer analysing data, she certainly has not lost touch with the field. Collection of relevant ground control data is essential for reliable image interpretation. In her teaching Fleur aims to bring across this important combination of field-based knowledge and Earth Observation as a tool to analyse and understand our environment.


PGCert (University of Worcester, 2008)

PhD (Australian National University, 2003)

MSc Physical Geography (University of Amsterdam, 1997)


2006-present Lecturer and Senior lecturer, University of Worcester

2004-2006 Research and teaching assistant, KU Leuven, Belgium

2003 Science education developer, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands



Member of the Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society (RSPSoc)
Member of Geo Informatie Nederland (GIN)

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

EO and GIS Skills

ArcMap, ArcPro, ArcOnline, QGIS, Trimble Ecognition, Agisoft Metashape, ENVI, Google Earth Engine

Teaching and Research

Current Teaching

Earth Observation and GIS applications (GEOG3314)
Geographical Information Systems and Research Methods (GEOG2310)
Dynamic Earth (GEOG1310)

Coordinator of the Dissertation module (GEOG3002)

Research Methods in River Science (MRSC4001)

Member of the Sustainable Environments Research Group: Sustainable Environments Research Group

Current PhD supervision

Andrea Tapia - Understanding bumblebee wildflower meadow habitat preferences using multi-scale remote sensing data. Co-supervisor with Dr Kate Ashbrook (Director of Studies, UW) and Dr Richard Comont (Bumblebee Conservation Trust)

Augustinas Bacys - Potential for recovery of brown bear (Ursus arctos) populations in Lithuania. Co-supervisor with Dr John Dutton (DoS, UW) and Dr Kate Ashbrook (UW)

Rebecca Collins - The evolution of form roughness and its influence on river bank erosion and channel change. Co-supervisor with Dr Ian Maddock (DoS, UW).

Former PhD students

Amy Woodget (completion 2015) - High resolution remote sensing and object-based image analysis for river habitat detection. Director of studies with co-supervisor Dr Ian Maddock (UW) and external supervisor Dr Patrice Carbonneau (University of Durham)

Caroline Wallis (completion 2014) - Defining the spatial and temporal dynamics of hydraulic river habitats. Co-supervisor with Dr Ian Maddock (DoS, UW) and external supervisor Professor Mike Acreman (CEH Wallingford)

Martin Wilkes (completion 2014) - Evaluating the microscale dynamics of hydraulic river habitats. Co-supervisor with Dr Ian Maddock (DoS, UW) and external supervisor, Professor Mike Acreman (CEH Wallingford)

PhD Project Ideas

PhD Studentships available at the University of Worcester are advertised on FindAPhD.com. I also welcome applications from self-funded graduates who would like to study for a PhD with me. The following list gives ideas for projects I could supervise:

Ultra-high resolution image data analysis for grassland species mapping

Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for Mapping Hydromorphology and Hydraulic Habitat

Mapping plant stress in submerged aquatic vegetation using very-high and ultra-high resolution multi-spectral imagery and structure from motion photogrammetry



Papers in peer reviewed journals

Visser, F., Woodget, A., Skellern, A., Forsey, J., Warburton, J. and Johnson, R. (2019) An Evaluation of a Low-cost Pole Aerial Photography (PAP) and Structure from Motion (SfM) Approach for Topographic Surveying of Small Rivers. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 40 (24). pp. 9321-9351. ISSN Print: 0143-1161, Online: 1366-5901 (https://eprints.worc.ac.uk/7964/).

Schoelynck, J. and Creëlle, S. and Buis, K. and De Mulder, T. and Emsens, W. and Hein, T. and Meire, P. and Okruszko, T. and Preiner, S. and Roldan Gonzalez, R. and Silinski, A. and Temmerman, S. and Troch, P. and Van Oven, T. and Verschoren, V. and Visser, F. and Wang, C. and Wolters, J. and Folkard, A. (2018) What is a Macrophyte Patch? Patch Identification in Aquatic Ecosystems and Guidelines for Consistent Delineation. Ecohydrology & Hydrobiology, 18 (1). pp. 1-9. ISSN 1642-3593 (https://eprints.worc.ac.uk/6024/).

Visser F., Buis K., Verschoren, V and Schoelynck J. (2018) Very high resolution remote sensing and Object Based Image Analysis for monitoring of submerged aquatic vegetation in rivers. Hydrobiologia, 812 (1). pp. 157-175. ISSN 0018-8158 Online: 1573-5117 (https://eprints.worc.ac.uk/4719/).

Verschoren V., Schoelynck J.,   Buis K, Visser F., Meire P., Temmerman S. (2017) Mapping the Spatio-temporal Distribution of Key Vegetation Cover Properties in Lowland River Reaches, Using Digital Photography. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 189 (6): Article 294. DOI: 10.1007/s10661-017-6004-5 (https://eprints.worc.ac.uk/5495/).

Woodget A.S., Visser F., Maddock I.P. and Carbonneau P.E. (2016) The Accuracy and Reliability of Traditional Surface Flow Type Mapping: Is It Time for A New Method of Characterising Physical River Habitat? Rivers Research and Applications doi:10.1002/rra.3047 (http://eprints.worc.ac.uk/4536/)

Visser F., Buis K., Verschoren, V and Schoelynck J. (2016) Very high resolution remote sensing and Object Based Image Analysis for monitoring of submerged aquatic vegetation in rivers. Hydrobiologia doi:10.1007/s10750-016-2928-y (http://eprints.worc.ac.uk/4719/)

Visser F., Buis K., Verschoren V. and Meire P. (2015) Depth estimation of submerged aquatic vegetation in clear water streams using low-altitude optical remote sensing. Sensors 15: 25287-25312. doi:10.3390/s151025287 (http://eprints.worc.ac.uk/4007/)

Woodget A. S., Carbonneau P.E., Visser F. and Maddock I.P. (2015) Quantifying submerged fluvial topography using hyperspatial resolution UAS imagery and structure from motion photogrammetry. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 40(1): 47-64. DOI: 10.1002/esp.3613 (http://eprints.worc.ac.uk/3187/)

Visser F. (2014) Rapid mapping of urban development from historic Ordnance Survey maps: An application for pluvial flood risk in Worcester. Journal of Maps 10(2): 276-288. DOI: 10.1080/17445647.2014.893847 (http://eprints.worc.ac.uk/4006/)

Visser F., Wallis C. and Sinnott A. (2013) Optical remote sensing of submerged aquatic vegetation: opportunities for shallow clear water streams. Limnologica 43(5): 388-389. DOI: 10.1016/j.limno.2013.05.005 (http://eprints.worc.ac.uk/2400/)

Wallis C., Maddock I.P., Visser F. & Acreman M. (2012) A framework for evaluating the spatial configuration and temporal dynamics of hydraulic patches. River Research and Applications. 28: 585-593 (http://eprints.worc.ac.uk/1355/).

Visser F., Roth C.H., Wasson R.J. and Govers G. (2007) A sediment budget for a cultivated floodplain in tropical North Queensland, Australia. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 32(10): 1475-1490 (http://eprints.worc.ac.uk/416/).

Papers in edited books

Wilkes M., Maddock I.P., Visser F. and Acreman M. (2013) Incorporating hydrodynamics into ecohydraulics: Incorporating hydrodynamics into ecohydraulics: the role of turbulence in the swimming performance and habitat selection of stream-dwelling fish. In: Maddock, I.P. Harby, A., Kemp P. & Wood P. (Eds.) Ecohydraulics: An Integrated Approach, Wiley. (http://eprints.worc.ac.uk/2530/).

Visser F. (2008) The day roads became rivers: A GIS-based assessment of flash floods in Worcester. In: Samuels, P. Huntington, S. Allsop, W. Harrop, J. (eds.) Flood Risk Management - Research and Practice, Taylor & Francis Group, London, pp. 1617-1621 (https://eprints.worc.ac.uk/548/).

Visser F. (2006) Erosion and deposition rates on ‘headlands’ in low-gradient sugarcane land in Australia. In: Owens P.N. and Collins A.J. (eds.), Soil Erosion and Sediment Redistribution in River Catchments: Measurement, Modelling and Management. CAB International, Wallingford, pp. 254-263 (http://eprints.worc.ac.uk/549/).

Visser F., Roth C.H., Wasson R.J. and Prosser I.P. (2002) Quantifying sediment sources in low-lying sugarcane land: a sediment budget approach. International Association of Hydrological Sciences Publication no. 276, Proceedings of the Alice Springs Symposium, pp. 169-175 (http://eprints.worc.ac.uk/550/).

Conference presentations

Visser, F. (2018) Remote Sensing Magic: developing tools to make the invisible visible for a range of audiences. RSPSoc Annual Conference, September, Birmingham, UK.

Visser, F., Woodget, A., Skellern, A., Forsey, J., Warburton, J., Johnson, R. (2017) A multi-platform surveying data comparison: is a ‘camera-on-a-stick’ the new must-have tool for geomorphologists? RSPSoc Annual Conference, September, London, UK.

Visser, F., Verschoren, V., Schoelynck, J., Buis, K. (2016) Visible light imagery versus near infrared imagery for the detection of Submerged Aquatic Vegetation in rivers using Object Based Image Analysis. RSPSoc Annual Conference, September, Nottingham, UK.

Visser, F., Verschoren, V., Schoelynck, J., Buis, K. (2016). Development of a knowledge driven Rule Set for Classification of Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV) in a Clear Water Stream: Where do you draw the boundaries...? GEOBIA 2016, September, ITC Twente, the Netherlands (https://proceedings.utwente.nl/381/).

Woodget, A.S., Austrums, R., Visser, F., Maddock, I.P. and Carbonneau, P. (2016) Quantifying fluvial substrate size using UAS-SfM derived point clouds. Small Unmanned Aerial Systems for Environmental Research, June, University of Worcester, UK.

Woodget, A.S., Visser, F., Maddock, I.P. and Carbonneau, P. (2016) Quantifying fluvial substrate size using hyperspatial resolution UAS imagery and SfM-photogrammetry. Proceedings of the 11th International Symposium on Ecohydraulics, 7-12 February 2016, Melbourne, Australia (https://eprints.worc.ac.uk/5094/).

Visser F. and Woodget A. (2012) Object-based image analysis of very high resolution image data for detection and mapping of submerged aquatic vegetation. Proceedings of the 9th International Symposium on Ecohydraulics, Vienna. (http://eprints.worc.ac.uk/2534/).

Visser F. and Hill R.A. (2011) Application of hyperspectral image data for species detection and biomass estimation of submerged macrophytes in UK chalk streams. Proceedings of the 7th EARSeL Workshop on Imaging Spectroscopy. Edinburgh, April 11-13 2011. URL: (http://eprints.worc.ac.uk/2404/).

Visser F. and C. Wallis (2010) Object-based analysis and multispectral low-altitude remote sensing for low-cost mapping of chalk steam macrophytes. The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences, Vol. XXXVIII-4/C7

Visser F. and Smolar-Žvanut N. (2009) Detecting Submerged Macrophytes in a UK Chalk Stream Using Field Spectroscopy. In: Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society, 8-11 September 2009, Leicester, pp. 541-547 (http://eprints.worc.ac.uk/700/).

Visser, F. (2008) An assessment of the historic development of Worcester in relation to pluvial and fluvial flooding. University of Worcester Research Focus One-Day Conference, Landscape and Heritage, November 2008.

Other publications

Visser, F. (2018) UAS4ENVIRO 2017 and some thoughts on the future of RSPSoc. Sensed (Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society (RSPSoc) Newsletter) No. 68 pp. 7-9.

Visser, F. (2013) A sediment budget for an area of sugarcane cultivation on the Herbert River floodplain, NE Australia. Key Concepts in Geomorphology Vignette (http://serc.carleton.edu/69570).

Maddock, Ian and Visser, Fleur and Hill, Graham and Holliday, Richard and Wynn, Duncan (2007) Assessing the Viability of Complex Electrical Impedance Tomography (EIT) with a Spatially Distributed Sensor Array for Imaging of River Bed Morphology: a Proof of Concept (Study). Project Report. University of Worcester (http://eprints.worc.ac.uk/173/).

Visser, F., Govers, G., Van Oost, K., Cerdan, O., Quine, T. and Vandekerckhove, L. (2005) Analysis of the crop productivity - soil erosion relationship using hyperspectral data. K.U.Leuven, Final Report HYMAP2004.

  1. Visser (2003) Sediment budget for cane land on the Lower Herbert River floodplain, North Queensland, Australia. PhD thesis, Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies, Australian National University, 257 pp. (http://eprints.worc.ac.uk/4826/)

Roles and Responsibilities

External Roles

Trustee of the Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society (RSPSoc), chair of Education & Training committee

STEM Ambassador

Editorial Roles

Associate editor Journal of Maps

Guest editor for special issue of the International Journal of Remote Sensing: ‘Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for environmental applications’

Member of the Remote Sensing journal reviewer board

Reviewer for over 20 different academic journals and funding bodies

PhD examiner

Newcastle University (2018)

Universiteit Antwerpen, Belgium (2016)

University of Worcester (2019)

Other roles

Royal Geographical Society CPD session: ‘Using Earth Observation data in your teaching’

External Validation Panel member for Faculty of Engineering and Science, Greenwich University (2018).

External Validation Panel member for Gloucestershire College (2008)

Associate Lecturer and Part-time Staff representative, University of Worcester branch, Universities and Colleges Union