Researchers at UCD


Tine Ningal

Senior Technical Officer

School of Geography
E004, Newman Building, UCD
Dublin 4

Tel: +35317168103


2017 (6 February) till present: Permanent contract as Senior Technical Officer in the School of Geography, University College Dublin (UCD), Ireland.
2015 (1 April) to 2017: Temporary contract as Senior Technical Officer in the School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Policy (GPEP), University College Dublin (UCD), Ireland.
Education & Research 
2012-2015: Postdoctoral activities including teaching, research and working on a number of European projects, UCD, Ireland.
2006-2012:  PhD Scholar, University College Dublin (UCD), Ireland.
2005-2006:  Research Assistant, ISRIC, World Soil Information, Wageningen University, The Netherlands.
2003-2005:  MSc in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Wageningen University, The Netherlands. 
2000-2002:  Professional Masters (PM) in Cartography and Geovisualization, University of Twente, (formerly International Institute for Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation), ITC, Enschede, The Netherlands.
1994-1995: Bachelor in Cartography, University of Technology, Lae, Papua New Guinea.
1988-1991: Diploma in Survey Drafting, University of Technology, Lae, Papua New Guinea.
Research Interests
Urban Trees/Urban Forests 
Urban climate, form and Function
Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
Remote Sensing (RS) and Image Processing
Cartography and Geovisualization 
Air Quality Modelling at Street Level
Urban Environmental Quality Assessment
Constraint Mapping/Multi-criteria Mapping of Built and Natural Environments
Database-driven Web Mapping, Customizations and Python programming
Current Activities
Beside my job, I am actively involved in training students on GIS, providing guidance and mentoring students undertaking research on urban trees, green infrastructure and urban environment. I also train students for field data collection such as air quality sampling, urban tree inventory, ecosystem and habitat mapping, remote sensing image classification, GIS database creation and using drones to gather data.

I administer and manage several websites (Irish Geography online JournalUCD School of GeographyUCD Urban Environment Research Group). I run short GIS training courses both for students and outsiders. I am involved in research projects in Ireland, Europe and internationally. I have been part of a research team on the EU Cost Action project (Cost FP1204 - Green Infrastructure) from 2013 till 2017. I represented Ireland as an expert on urban trees with two other colleagues. There were a number of significant outcomes including research papers, database creation on the common species of urban trees in Europe and a book (The Urban Forest - Cultivating Green Infrastructure for People and the Environment) published by Springer. 

I am on the experts panel for HYPERCITY, a collaborative research project between three partner universities, Antewerp, Hasselt and Valencia University.  The project aims to explore the potential of hyperspectral reflectance and chlorophyll fluorescence as an indicator for air quality, both at leaf and at canopy level. The tasks of the experts are to critically evaluate their progress every six months and provide report to the funding agency - BELSPO (Belgian Science Policy Office). The project will end at the end of 2019.
Other Interests
I created and administer a Facebook group on Study & Scholarship Opportunities since June 2015 and the membership stands at 60,800 and counting. A number students have benefited from this group and are currently studying abroad in different universities including Australia, China and Europe.




Association: Irish Organization for Geographic Information - IRLOGI, Function/Role: Member
Association: Association of American Geographers - AAG, Function/Role: Member
Association: Washington Map Society - WMS, Function/Role: Member
Association: Geographical Society of Ireland, Function/Role: Member
Association: Papua New Guinea (PNG) Institute of Cartographers - PNGIC, Function/Role: Member



Peer Reviewed Journals

Ferreira, S., Akay, A., Brereton, F., Cuñado, J., Martinsson,P., Moro, M. and Ningal, T. (2013) 'Life Satisfaction and Air Quality in Europe'. Ecological Economics, (88):1-10. Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Ningal, T., Mills, G. and Smithwick, P.; (2010) 'An inventory of trees in Dublin city centre'. Irish Geography, 43 (2):161-176. Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Beconyte, G., Govorov, M., Ningal, T. F., Parseliunas, E., Urbanas, S., ; (2008) 'Geographic information e-training initiatives for national spatial data infrastructures'. Technological and Economic Development of Economy, 14 (1):11-28. Available Online [Details]
Ningal, T., A .E. Hartemink & A. K. Bregt.; (2008) 'Land use Change and Population Growth in the Morobe Province of Papua New Guinea between 1975 and 2000'. Journal of Environmental Management, 87 (1):117-124. Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Ningal T; (2002) 'A Case Study of Transition from Mental Map to Web Based Mapping in Papua New Guinea for Cartographic Education'. The Portolan, (53):7-16. [Details]

Conference Publications

Brereton, F, Ferreira, Moro, M and Ningal, T. et al. (2011) Life-satisfaction and the Environment: The Case of Europe Understanding European Diversity: Cross-National Analysis of Human Values, Attitudes and Behaviours Berlin, 8th-10th September 2011 [Details]
Brereton, F, Ferreira, S and Moro, M, Ningal, T et al. (2011) GIS Analysis, Mapping and Linking of Contextual Data to the European Social Survey Understanding European Diversity: Cross-National Analysis of Human Values, Attitudes and Behaviours Berlin, 8th-10th September 2011 [Details]
Ferreira, S., Akay, A., Brereton, F., Cuñado, J., Martinsson,P., Moro, M. and Ningal, T. (2012) Life Satisfaction and Air Quality in Europe 2nd International Conference on the European Social Survey, Cyprus [Details]
Ningal, T. & Mills, G; (2010) The Geography of Trees in Dublin City Centre 2010 American Association of Geographers conference Washington DC, , 14-SEP-10 - 18-SEP-10 [Details]
Ningal, T.; (2009) The role of Urban Forestry in Air Pollution Mitigation - A case study, Dublin City, Ireland 2009 American Association of Geographers conference Las Vegas, , 22-MAR-09 - 27-MAR-09 [Details]
Ningal, T.; (2008) A three-dimensional model of Dublin for modelling air quality Irish Geographers Conference , 09-MAY-08 - 11-MAY-08 [Details]
Ningal, T., A .E. Hartemink & A. K. Bregt.; (2007) Land Use Change and Population Growth in the Morobe Province of Papua New Guinea Between 1975 and 2000 Pacific Islands GIS/RS User Conference University of South Pacific, Suva, Fiji, , 04-DEC-07 - 07-DEC-07 , pp.117-124 Available Online [Details]
Ningal, T. & Govorov, M.; (2001) Transition of Spatial Communication in Papua New Guinea International Cartographic Conference ICC2001 Beijing, China, , 06-AUG-01 - 10-AUG-01 , pp.164-172 Available Online [Details]
Ningal, T. & Govorov, M.; (2000) Web Site Mapping for Cartographic Education in Papua New Guinea The role of Universities in the Developing World: Building New Futures Lae, Papua New Guinea, , 12-SEP-00 - 14-SEP-00 , pp.96-102 Available Online [Details]
Ningal, T. & Govorov, M.; (2000) Case Study of Transition from Mental Map to Web Based Mapping in Papua New Guinea for Cartographic Education Spatial Business Beyond 2000 Sydney, New Aouth Wales, Australia, , 03-DEC-00 - 06-DEC-00 [Details]


Ningal, T.; (2001) Evaluation of WebGIS Software: Architectures, Web-Design and Customizations. Enschede, The Netherlands: Dissertations/Theses [Details]


Research Interests

My main research interest is on assessing the environmental roles of trees, particularly the ability of trees in sequestering carbon dioxide (CO2) in urban environments for air quality. In this context, the improvement of the broader urban environmental quality within the Inner City Dublin. An inventory was carried out in Dublin City Centre to gather data on trees within the Royal and Grand Canals. Over 10,000 trees were recorded from Remote Sensing satellite imageries using Geographic Information systems (GIS) technology and over 2,500 street trees were registered through fieldwork, where roadside trees were systematically documented and photographed. This is a novel approach towards creating a unique GIS database on Dublin's urban trees, which planners, policy makers, geographers, architects, researchers and other interested stakeholders can use to support their decisions or analyses.

The carbon content of street trees was converted to CO2 (sequestered from the atmosphere) and was related to CO2 emission form traffic. The results showed that the sequestration potential of street trees in Inner City Dublin is insufficient (see results on my blog) and require other measures such as planting more trees, regulating traffic, improving technology or employing a number of alternative options. However, urban trees provide a number of important social, environmental/ecological and economic benefits and services. Trees must be incorporated into decision making and planning processes for the development of cities such as Dublin and for climate change policies towards a greener, healthier and sustainable urban environments. The first step before incorporating trees in decision making requires a comprehensive inventory to know the content and value of the tree resources within the area of interest - Dublin City Centre to justify funding support and maintenance among others.

My initial research agenda was on assessing urban air quality in Dublin. The shift to undertake an inventory and create Dublin's first urban trees GIS database was motivated by a lack of comprehensive data on Dublin's urban trees. My initial research on urban air quality, however,  have generated a number of useful datasets such as urban morphology, traffic, air quality, meteorology and land use. Related sub domains such as urban heat island, solar access (daylight availability and urban thermal comfort), energy use and water balance are also of interest in my overall research scheme. 

GIS is the main technology used in collating,  storing, retrieving, processing, analyzing and presenting results in this research. Other software packages used include remote sensing applications such as Erdas Imagine, eCognition and IDL Envi. Statistical applications were MS Office Excel and SPSS. Additional applications include Google SketchUp, Matlab and Solweig.
My main research interest remains in the application of tools and technologies (GIS, GPS, remote sensing, database management, ICT-Internet etc.) to manage the built and natural environments to improve quality of life and satisfaction levels of the affected inhabitants. This translates to reducing the sources of pollution and therefore aiming at improving quality of life in urban areas.



Teaching Philosophy

Teach Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and related topics in Geography, Planning and Policy while continuing my research on assessing the role of urban trees as a biotechnology to improve quality of life and contribute towards the debate on global warming and climate change.

Enhancement of Teaching

Review and Enhancement of Curriculum

One approach I employed to enhance student learning, particularly in a topic such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS), where a series of instructions are given to students is to create video examples and post them YouTube links. In that way, students can follow the instructions at their own pace and use the YouTube video examples to consolidate their knowledge and understanding of the various topics in GIS. Some of the links are shown below:

  1. Linking Excel table to ESRI Shape file and creating thematic maps in ArcGIS - Part 1.

  2. Linking Excel table to ESRI Shape file and creating thematic maps in ArcGIS - Part 2.

  3. Select by Attributes - Practical 2a.

  4. Select by Attributes - Practical 2b.

  5. Creating inset and performing clip operation - Practical 3a.

  6. Creating inset and performing clip operation - Practical 3b.

  7. Map Symbology with different classification methods - Practical 4a.

  8. Map Symbology with different classification methods - Practical 4b.

  9. Map Symbology with different classification methods - Practical 4c.

  10. Map Symbology with different classification methods - Practical 4d.

Developing as a Teacher

Innovation & Leadership


Internal Collaborators

  1. Dr. Gerald Mills - School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Policy. Urban trees, urban climate, anthropogenic emissions and mitigating strategies using trees as biotechnology for Dublin city.

  2. Dr. Mary Forrest  - School of Biology and Environmental Science. Dr. Urban Forest. 

  3. Dr. Finbarr Brereton - School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Policy. 
    • Level of happiness and subjective well-being funded by the European Social Survey (ESS) - 2011.
    • Nuclear energy sources in Europe learning from the experiences of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan - ongoing.

  4. Dr. Michael Brennan and Dr. Gerald Mills from the School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Policy.
    Extending the work of my PhD research on Dublin's trees. Recently (2013), we have carried out a number targeted surveys in St. Pius, Terenure area, Marino in Clontarf area and UCD in Belfield. These tree inventory surveys along the data of my PhD research over Dublin City, form a comprehensive data of Dublin to date. Discussion is underway with Dublin City Council and other local authorities (Fingal, South Dublin and DLR) to extend the work using a combination of tools and technologies such as Remote Sensing, GIS and fieldwork.
    The above work links to other urban environmental projects carried out by Dr. Mills and partners in NUI Maynooth on measuring and assessing the CO2 fluxes and energy consumption in Dublin city and surrounding suburbs.



External Collaborators

  1. Dr. David Nowak - USDA Forest Service 
    Dr. Nowak is a leading scientist on Urban Tress/Urban Forests and has published widely in this area. Dr. Nowak and his team at USDA developed i-Tree, a state-of-the-art, peer reviewed software suit that provides urban forestry analysis and benefits assessment. I am testing i-Tree for Dublin's urban trees. Dr. Nowak also provides advice and technical assistance with his staff on data analysis for i-Tree. This collaboration is ongoing and there is potential for i-Tree to be further developed to include countries outside of U.S. such as Ireland.

  2. Dr. Fredrik Lindberg - Department of Geography, King's College London (KCL).
    Dr. Lindberg is a research fellow at KCL and works with the Environmental monitoring and Modelling Group. Dr. Lindberg is one of the developers of SOLWEIG Model that is able to generate continuous images of sky view factors (SVF) and calculate spatial variations of 3D radiant fluxes and mean radiant temperature in complex urban settings. I am collaborating closely with Dr. Lindberg on generating sky view factors and radiant temperature for Dublin by exploiting the Matlab codes in SOLWEIG. The outcomes would be useful for assessing solar access, urban comfort and energy consumption. This is an ongoing collaboration and will involve publications in the near future. 

  3. Dr. Mirko Moro - Division of Economics, Stirling University, Scotland, UK.
    I collaborate with Dr. Moro on a couple of projects together with Dr. Brereton on the Level of Happiness and Subjective well-being as well as the nuclear project. I was attached to the Economics Division of university of Stirling for 3 months (Sep-Nov 2013) to work on data generation, GIS database development and analysis for nuclear power plants in Europe. The project is ongoing and will end in June 2014 with reports and presentations. This project is funded by the government of Switzerland and coordinated by Professor Heinz Welsh in Oldenburg University, Germany.

  4. Prof. Dr. Heinz Welsh - Department of Economics and Law, Oldenburg University, Germany. Professor Welsh is the team leader of the nuclear project who was instrumental in securing the funds. Prof. Welsh oversees the progress of the project and calls up meeting to discuss relevant issues such as, logistics, individual progress and meeting deadlines among others.

  5. Associate Professor Dr. Susanna Ferreira - College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of Gerogia, USA.
    I have been collaborating with Dr. Ferreira on a couple of projects along with Dr. Brereton and Dr. Moro on subjective well-being and happiness. Dr. Ferreira was the team leader of the the Happiness project which was funded by the European Science Foundation (ESF) which we successfully completed and presented. A number of papers resulted from this project. Currently, Dr. Ferreira is a senior team member in the nuclear power plan project.