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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science

Today’s student geographers will learn mapping techniques in state-of-the-art facilities, thanks to a generous graduate

Published: 31 July 2019
GIS staff around new screen

A significant legacy from former student Dr David Robins has enabled geographers at the University of Southampton to update their suite of rooms where students master the mapping and analytical techniques of modern Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

GIS Team
GIS Team

David’s widow Anne opened the refurbished GIS suite and met academic colleagues. It now contains powerful high-specification computers and a specialist machine for intensive geospatial data processing and will be invaluable for postgraduate Masters and PhD students, researchers and staff as well as third year undergraduates and external people on continuous professional development (CPD).

“I was delighted to be invited to the University to see how you have used the legacy and I hope lots of interesting work will be carried out here,” she said. David used electronic resources during his career and I was impressed by the suggestion that his legacy should be used to improve geotechnical facilities.”


Professor Peter Langdon, Head of Geography, said: “Mapmaking has always been significant to Southampton’s geographers and we need to use the latest technologies to understand and analyse data from around the world. This investment will help us continue to lead in geospatial research and training and will be invaluable for our students and researchers.”

David completed his PhD in Geography at Southampton. He graduated in 1958 and pursued a career as a university lecturer and professor in the UK and South Africa before becoming a planning inspector.

Anne explained David was fascinated by cartography. His interest in the world around him began as a child when he would pore over maps to understand the progress of the second world war.

One of David’s ancestors was the 17th century surveyor Robert Shortgrave who worked at the Royal Society with Robert Hooke and produced a map of the effects of the 1666 Great Fire of London. He also contributed to three sections of John Ogilby’s Britannia Atlas in 1675, the forerunner of the iconic Ordnance Survey ‘inch to a mile’ maps.

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