Georgios Maniatis

Dr, MSc Freshwater Systems Science, 5-y Environmental Engineering Diploma


Research activity per year

Personal profile

Scholarly biography

I am a fluvial geomorphologist interested in the measurement, mapping and prediction of sediment transport in rivers. My research focuses on three main areas:

- Sediment transport sensing using emerging technologies (smart pebbles)

- Advanced topographic sensing and detection of geomorphic change in rivers

- Hydromorphological classification for enhanced river management. 

My work relies on the application of advanced GIS and statistical modelling techniques and it has both a field and a laboratory experimental component. I also work closely with environmental protection agencies (e.g. SEPA). 

Approach to teaching

Like every aspect of our lives, the teaching process needs to keep up with a historical transformation: we are moving from a world of lack of information to a world that there is too much of it. I teach fundamental geographical Techniques and several topics of surface Geomorphology. My approach is underlined by the requirement for 'upgrading' information to some type of knowledge. I like re-thinking fundamental concepts, presenting the science before the tools and engaging in real and open research discussions.
There are ideas that take time to understand regardless how hard someone studies them. This is why context from real world problems and fieldwork should be a key part of teaching, especially for topics relating to applied disciplines like Physical Geography.

Research interests

I have a 5-year Diploma in Environmental Engineering (Technical university of Crete, Greece), a MSc in Freshwater Systems Science (University of Glasgow) and a PhD in Geography and Computing Sciences (University of Glasgow). MyPhD work embedded advancing Micro Electrical Mechanical Sensor (MEMS) technologies into the monitoring of sediment motion and combined several mathematical and electrical/mechanical engineering techniques during sensor development. I worked as a Research Associate in a NERC funded cooperation between Scottish Water (the largest water supplier in Scotland) and the University of Glasgow. I have also worked as Senior Hydromophologist for the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA). 


I have developed a track-record of peer reviewed publications addressing fluvial hydraulics, sediment movement and purpose specific sensor development. I am  also interested in various aspects of Geomorphic Change Detection an particularly interested in comparing data from different sensing techniques across scales. I have extensive fieldwork experience and during my placement in SEPA I provided scientific input in a range of regulatory, river management and river restoration projects. My interests lie on the intersection between coarse grain sediment transport, reach scale river dynamics, advanced sensor development, advanced statistical and numerical modelling of multiphase environmental flows and data coherence analysis for geomorphological applications. There are three problems on which I am focusing my efforts at the moment:


Smart pebbles and what we can learn from them (in geomorphology)

During the last decade, many scientists developed and deployed ‘’smart- pebbles’’ in fluvial (and other rapidly changing) environments in an attempt to monitor sediment dynamics. In parallel, Inertial Measurements Units (IMUs) have been tested in laboratory experiments focusing mainly on fluvial single grain entrainments and sort-term motions (simulating either costal or river hydrodynamics). Although all the IMUs are in principle the same (an assembly of micro-accelerometer, micro-gyroscope and micro-compass), the parameters that affect the results range from the sensor’s electrical and physical characteristics to the filtering of the derived measurements and from the modelling of inertial kinematics to the transformation of those to a useful and informative piece of data. I try to understand a) the key error sources in IMU sensing and its realistic range of applicability, b) how to develop coherent error compensation strategies for taking measurements in natural environments c) how smart pebbles can inform the theoretical descriptions for fluvial sediment transport d) how we can upscale this information to enhance our risk assessments for the critical infrastructure exposed to geomorphic hazards.


Advanced topographic sensing and Geomorphic Change Detection

We experience a revolution in terms of how we acquire and analyse topographical data. The integration of GIS with advanced sensing equipment has made the modelling of landscapes easier than ever before. One of the best examples is the deployment of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for mapping, a technique that has increased the rate and decreased dramatically the cost of creating accurate topographical models. However, UAVs (but also other innovative techniques) come with a number of limitations that become more apparent when we attempt to compare different maps of the same area (over time) in order to quantify geomorphic change (Geomorphic Change Detection). The mapping becomes even more complicated when fluvial environments are investigated. I am interested in the margin of error that we have to account for when using those techniques and how that associates with the modelling/mapping of reach scale river processes.  


Coherence in river classification

Researchers and regulators often use a classification in order to distinguish between different river typologies or assign a quality/health score to a river environment. The methodologies behind this scoring vary significantly from purely qualitative to highly technical and quantitative. I am interested in quantifying the variability in the interpretation of those classifications. More specifically, I want to measure how sensitive are these scores to user bias, the type/complexity of the associated calculations and the complexity of the natural environment scored using Deep Learning techniques.


Supervisory Interests

I am interested in supervising postgraduate research students in the following areas: fluvial geomorphology; hydraulics; statistical and numerical modelling for sediment transport; river managment and engineering; development of sensors for monitoring grain motion.

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Geography and Computing Science, University of Glasgow

Award Date: 3 Jul 2017

Master, Freshwater Systems Science, University of Glasgow

Award Date: 1 Sept 2012

Bachelor, 5y Diploma in Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Crete

Award Date: 15 Jul 2011

External positions

Honorary Research Associate, University of Glasgow

1 Mar 2018 → …


  • GB Physical geography
  • Fluvial Geomorphology
  • Sediment transport
  • Sensors
  • Statistical modelling
  • Resilience


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