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Professor Nick Drake obtained his BSc (Honours) in Environmental Science at Plymouth Polytechnic in 1983 and his Master of Applied Science in Geochemical Exploration from the University of New South Wales in 1986.

From 1986 to 1992, he worked as a research fellow conducting remote sensing research at the Department of Geography, Reading University. He worked on the development of improved algorithms for image classification and the characterisation of desert surfaces for geomorphological mapping using remote sensing. During this time he completed a part-time PhD entitled ‘Mapping and monitoring of surface cover types and processes in southern Tunisia using remote sensing’.

Nick joined King's Department of Geography in 1992, was made Reader in 2000 and a Professor in 2013. He has continued to develop his interests in theoretical and practical aspects of remote sensing while broadening his interests into geographical information systems and spatial modelling.

He is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Arid Environments, Origini (Journal of Prehistory and Protohistory of Ancient Civilizations) and the Journal of Geology and Geosciences. 


  • Remote sensing, geomorphological analysis and geochemical analysis of landforms and processes of landform change in semi-arid and arid environments
  • The palaeoclimate and geoarchaeology of semi-arid and arid regions
  • The role of the Sahara-Arabian deserts in human evolution and ‘out of Africa’ dispersals.
  • Soil erosion models and mixture models applied to remotely-sensed imagery.

During the last few years, Nick's interests have focussed on applying his expertise to arid lands and, in particular, the Sahara Desert. He is the leader of the Sahara Megalakes Project, an international project that involves nine universities and coordinates research on giant ancient lakes in Chad, Libya and Tunisia.



  • 5SSG2043 Environmental Remote Sensing
  • 5SSG2053 Principles of Geographical Enquiry II
  • 5SSG2049  Methods in Physical Geography
  • 5SSG2046 Fieldwork in Physical Geography
  • 6SSG3025 Desert Environments
  • 6SSG3070 Global Environmental Change I: Past and Present


  • 7SSG5176 Global Environmental Change I: Past and Present

PhD supervision

Principal supervisor

  • P. Breeze, 'GIS analysis of the effectiveness of human and animal dispersal routes out of Africa' (NERC) (2011- )

Second supervisor

  • N. Yan, 'Dune landscape transformations driven by vegetation changes in inland deserts, northern China.' (Centre for Doctoral Studies studentship) (2010- )

Further details

See Nick's research profile