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Department facilities

The Geography Department is well equipped and has experienced support staff to advise and assist students at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. 


There are dedicated computing facilities based in the department available for Geography undergraduate and postgraduate use, outside of teaching bookings for GIS, geomorphology and digital media techniques. The brand new Geospatial and Visual Methods Lab (GVML) opened in 2014, and consists of top-of-the-range Macs and PCs,scanners, Geographical Information Systems, and advanced cartographic and image handling packages, as well as up-to-date audio-visual editing software. These facilities are supervised by a dedicated Computer Technician to whom students can turn for help in developing computing and word processing skills. You can also take advantage of basic or advanced computer courses run by the College Computer Centre. 


There is a cartographic suite housing specialist large format printing, laminating and scanning services.  This facility is supervised by a cartographic technician who can advise on all aspects of cartography and imaging.  Guidance can also be sought for producing diagrams, data display and pictures for publication. 

The Departmental Educational Support Officer is in charge of the Department Reading Room, housing the small departmental library, offprint and map collection. These are provided solely for Geography students, and are extensively used in the preparation of work for essays, tutorials and seminars.

The Bedford Library houses the main collection of Geography books and journals, and is situated near the Department. Students also have access to the world-class libraries of the University of London. 

Laboratory Suites 

All students gain ‘hands on’ experience of these facilities supervised and supported by dedicated technical staff. Students are actively encouraged, following training, to use them in independent research project work at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.  The Laboratory Suites have been recently refurbished and include facilities for the following- 

  • Advanced chemical analysis of soils, sediments and water.

Equipment: F-GFAAS (Flame and Graphite Furnace Atomic Absorption Spectrometer), Ion Chromatography, Automated Segmented Flow Colorimeter used for analysing soil, water and soil extracts.

  • C/N/S Analyser for soil and plants
  • Preparation and analysis of palaeoecological microfossils. 
  • Physical analysis of sediment and soil.

Facilities: wet and dry sieving facilities for micro and bulk samples, low and high temperature drying areas, clean laboratory for preparation of microscopic proxies and <2mm sediment samples using various published methods, most of which have been developed and refined in-house.

Dedicated tephrochronology facilities permit separation of micro-tephra particles from sediment and the subsequent analysis of shards.

Particle size analysis: using Malvern Mastersizer laser granulometer and Sedigraph X-ray equipment.

Thin-section suite: This facility permits the preparation of thin-sections for microscopic analysis, from unconsolidated sediments for the investigation of the sedimentary and/or soil forming processes to reconstruct recent palaeo-environments.

Also available: Aggregate stability rig; Calcimeter; Furnace suite.

  • Image analysis 

Facilities: high and low magnification microscope suite, including image analysis equipment for creation of images for publication, display or visual analysis.  

Comparative collections: a range of collections across many proxies are kept in the department with some currently under conservation and preparation for use by visiting students and researchers.  More to follow in 2013…

  • Qualitative Methods laboratory for human geography.

Hardware and software for: 

  • Qualitative data recording: audio, audio-visual and static photographic.
  • Qualitative data analysis: data storage, transcript analysis, audio, visual and audio-visual editing.
  • Qualitative data presentation, visual figures, sound extracts or clips, video footage and film making, web page authoring.



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