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Department of Geography



Graham Sadler

PhD Candidate, Polar Studies

My research work focuses on the monitoring of anthropogenic pollution in high latitudes using high resolution satellite imagery, with a specific focus on the activities of the oil industry in the Russian Arctic and sub-Arctic.



  • Independent Consultancy, Essex : 2020 – Present
    • Data Consultant – Supporting clients with data life cycle management and product delivery in the Energy & Resources sector. Recent projects include:
      • Satellite data analytics company – Advising on product development strategy including pricing and market analysis.
      • Upstream market analysis business – Reviewing content capture priorities and target markets.
      • Oil market intelligence business – Workshop focused on data sourcing best practice.
  • Wood Mackenzie Ltd, London : 2015 - 2020
    • Vice President - Head of Data Capture, 2019 - 2020 : Sourced content to underpin research across organisation. Identified potential data vendors and built relationships.
    • Vice President - Subsurface & GIS, 2017 - 2019 : Managed geotechnical data tools and a programme of subsurface data enrichment to be more competitive in the Exploration sector, together with the ongoing application of GIS technology.
    • Vice President - Upstream Research, 2015 - 2017 : Oversaw upstream data tools and ongoing application of GIS technology. Coordinated Geoscience Team based in Moscow (supporting PetroView® enhancement) and GIS Team (five locations).
    • Head of Petroleum Services Group, 2015 : Supported integration of Group into new organisation before moving into VP post. Co-led product roadmap project, assisted staff with transition into new roles and managed client relationships.
  • Deloitte LLP, London : 2008 - 2015
    • Managing Director, Petroleum Services, 2008 - 2015 : Headed Petroleum Services department of 80 staff in seven global locations, including both product and advisory sides of business, developing strategic business vision.
    • Director, Petroleum Services, 2002 - 2008 : Oversaw products component of solutions matrix. Led team of 47 staff. Ensured products retained market leader status by working closely with technical and business development teams. Explored opportunities for corporate deployment of Petroleum Service's offerings and presented capabilities to senior management at target companies.
  • Arthur Andersen, London : 1992 - 2002
    • Within Petroleum Services, as Experience Senior then Consultant, developed GIS tool for upstream oil and gas sector, becoming Manager for GIS Team then Senior Manager for all IT solutions (three teams), including product development and business strategy, and exploring options for wider GIS deployment across Energy & Utilities division.
  • University of London, London : 1987 - 1992
    • Roles in research, software analysis and database management at SERRL (South East Regional Research Lab) and Geography Department in Birkbeck College, London. Technician/programmer in Geography Department at UCL.


  • MBA (Distinction), Warwick University, 2005
  • BSc Geography (2:1), UCL (University College London), 1984


The Arctic region is a very remote and vulnerable ecosystem but also rich in natural resources, which have been exploited for many decades. Activity includes the extraction of oil and gas, and mineral resources such as bauxite, phosphate, copper, iron ore, gold, nickel, and diamonds.

Examples of the potential hazards when exploiting natural resources in such fragile environments and the detrimental impact on the polar ecosystem and communities are all too frequent. In the case of the oil and gas industry, spills caused by the failure of old pipelines are a very regular occurrence. The Arctic's ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to any industrial accident. The lack of infrastructure and remoteness of the region means it can take a considerable time to respond to a spill. The Arctic has short summers, low temperatures, and limited sunlight, so it can take decades for Arctic ecosystems to recover from anthropogenic pollution.

Cost effective, regular monitoring of oil infrastructure is critical to ensure any incident is quickly identified and the impact is swiftly contained, achieving a positive impact both environmentally and commercially. Given the geographical isolation of these activities, particularly in inaccessible Arctic and sub-Arctic areas, remote sensing is an obvious technology to underpin any effective monitoring solution. Increasing availability in the public domain, together with recent advances in resolution, suggest satellite imagery can play a key role in effectively monitoring oil spills. It is against this backdrop that I have formulated my PhD research topic.


Peer-reviewed articles

  • Paul Longley, Michael Batty, John Shepherd and Graham Sadler (1992). Do Green Belts Change the Shape of Urban Areas? A Preliminary Analysis of the Settlement Geography of South East England, Regional Studies, 26:5, pp. 437-452,

Conference articles

  • Sadler, G.J., M.J. Barnsley, and S.L. Barr, 1991. Information extraction from remotely-sensed images for urban land analysis. Proceedings of the Second European Conference on Geographical Information Systems (EGIS'91), Brussels, Belgium, April, EGIS Foundation, Utrecht, pp. 955-964.
  • Sadler, G.J. and M.J. Barnsley, 1990. Use of population density data to improve classification accuracies in remotely sensed images of urban areas. Proceedings of the First European Conference on Geographical Information System (EGIS'90), Amsterdam, The Netherlands, EGIS Foundation, Utrecht, pp. 968-977.
  • Barnsley, M., Sadler, G. and Shepherd, J.1989. Integrating remotely sensed images and digital map data in the context of urban planning. Proceedings of the 15th Annual Conference of the Remote Sensing Society, Remote Sensing Society (Remote Sensing Society, Nottingham), pp. 25–32.

Conference presentations

  • Graham Sadler (2022) Monitoring oil spills in the Russian sub-Arctic with high resolution satellite imagery. Presented at the GRSG Annual Conference & AGM 2022: Orbit to Outcrop, 11-14 December 2022, ITC, University of Twente, The Netherlands.
  • Sadler, G. and Rees, G. (2022) Monitoring anthropogenic pollution in the Russian sub-Arctic with high resolution satellite imagery: An oil spill case study, EGU General Assembly 2022, Online, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-10041,
  • Sadler, G. and Rees, G. (2022) Monitoring oil spills in the Russian sub-Arctic with high resolution satellite imagery. Poster presented at the LPS22 Symposium, Bonn, Germany, May 23-27, 2022.
  • Graham Sadler (2022) Monitoring anthropogenic pollution in high latitudes: An oil spill case study. Presented online at the Norilsk – International Arctic Conference, April 21-22, 2022.
  • Graham Sadler (2022) Monitoring anthropogenic pollution in high latitudes: An oil spill case study. Presented at the CHILE network research meeting, ASSW 2022, Tromsø, Norway, March 26-April 1, 2022.

External activities

  • Member of The South Georgia Association since 2022
  • Member of European Geosciences Union (EGU) since 2022
  • Committee Member of FoSPRI (Friends of Scott Polar Research Institute) since 2022
  • Member of Scottish Energy Forum since 2021
  • Member of RSPSoc (Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society) since 2020
  • Member of AAPG (American Association of Petroleum Geologists) since 2019
  • Fellow of Geological Society since 2019
  • Member of James Caird Society since 2018
  • Fellow of RGS (Royal Geographical Society) since 2012
  • Member of PESGB (Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain) since 2007