Ross Purves

I research and teach in the Department of Geography at the University of Zurich. If you can't find the answer to a question you have for me, then feel free to get in touch using my contact details.

My research

My research is guided by a solid grounding in societally relevant research questions, with the fundamental aim of making significant theoretical, thematic and methodological contributions in Geographic Information Science. My research profile has three key, related pillars which have developed incrementally throughout my career.

The first area of research is Geographic Information Retrieval (GIR). Through my involvement in the pioneering EU-funded SPIRIT project, I was fortunate enough to be one of the first wave of researchers working in this field. GIR's focus is on enabling search and analysis of textual information through geography, and I have made a series of contributions to this research field. Through this area of research I have developed an extensive network of collaboration with researchers from information science, computer science and computer linguistics. Since 2004, I have initiated and co-organized the continuing annual series of GIR Workshops linked to key conferences of the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery).

The second pillar of my research is concerned with exploring ways of modelling, representing and analysing geographic information associated with vagueness, ambiguity and uncertainty. Research in this area is central to improving our ability to make informed decisions using rich spatial data which are more closely aligned with ways in which we communicate and, ultimately think, about space. Research in this field has led to the development of collaborations with researchers in a range of application domains (e.g. landscape research) and from different methodological perspectives (e.g. linguistics).

Finally, I have a long history of research related to the modelling of environmental processes, mostly but not exclusively in cryosphere related areas. This research area continues to be a fruitful area of collaboration, and forms a key foundation for the research themes I have developed subsequently.

You can find out more about the research my group and I do at our group homepage. Google Scholar does a fairly good job of maintaining my list of publications.

Contact Ross

I'm happy to answer e-mails with questions and queries. Note though, that I receive lots of unsolicited queries about PhDs and research stays. If these appear to be speculative mails with little or no relation to my research, then I am unlikely to be able to respond.

If you prefer more traditional means of communication, my telephone number is +41 44 635 6531. My office is 25J88, and you can find directions here.