Frank CANTERS

Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Department of Geography
Room F.4.51
Pleinlaan 2
1050 Brussels | Belgium

Phone: 
+32-2-629 33 81

I am professor of cartography, GIS and remote sensing at the Department of Geography of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and head of the Cartography and GIS Research Group. My research focuses on the development of remote sensing and GIS driven approaches for monitoring and modelling of urban dynamics, with a particular interest in urban ecology and urban sustainability issues. My published work covers a wide range of topics, including mapping and monitoring of urban sprawl, inferring urban land use from land cover, urban green monitoring, analysis of urban form, remote-sensing driven calibration of urban growth models, and impact of urban growth on runoff and groundwater recharge. Developing methods to extract information from remotely sensed data that is useful for local and regional decision making is an important concern in much of the work done by my lab.

Earlier in my career, my research focused on map projection topics. I am the author of two handbooks on small-scale map projection choice and map projection design. One of the best known outcomes of this work is the Canters projection, a minimum-error world map projection launched in the early 90s and still used in geography textbooks today.

My expertise includes:   

  • Urban remote sensing
  • Monitoring and modeling of urban dynamics
  • Uncertainty in spatial data
  • Map projection research

Developing a generic framework for library based multi-site mapping of urban areas (GENLIB)
STEREO III (Support to the Exploitation and Research in Earth Observation data 3), Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO)  | 2019–2022
Coordinator: Frank Canters (VUB)
Other partners: Ben Somers (KULeuven), Uta Heiden (DLR, Germany)

Co-producing nature-based solutions for urban regeneration (CO-NATURE)
Innoviris Anticipate Prospective Research for Brussels funding  | 2018−2022
Promotors: Frank Canters (VUB), Ahmed Z. Khan (ULB)

Ecosystem services for the sustainable development of the Brussels Capital Region: Towards an ecological approach for urban design and planning
Innoviris Prospective Research for Brussels funding  | 2014−2018
Promotors: Frank Canters, Marijke Huysmans, Ahmed Z. Khan (ULB)

Urban ecosystem analysis supported by remote sensing (URBANEARS)
STEREO III (Support to the Exploitation and Research in Earth Observation data 3), Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO | 2014–2018
Coordinator: Ben Somers (KU Leuven)
Other partners: Frank Canters (VUB), Robert De Wulf (UGent), Frieke Van Coillie (UGent), Martin Hermy (KU Leuven), Boud Verbeiren (VUB), Willy Bauwens (VUB)

Towards sustainable transport: The development of an external cost calculator for sustainable transport scenarios (dec²4sust)
OZR-Interdisciplinary Research Project  | 2012–2016
Promotors: Profs. Drs. Cathy Macharis, Frank Canters, Koen Putman

Drought related vulnerability and risk assessment of ground water resources in Belgium (GroWaDRISK)
Science for a Sustainable Development (SSD), Belgian Science Policy (BELSPO)  | 2012–2015
Coordinator: Okke Batelaan (VUB)
Other partners: Piet De Becker (Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek), George Tsakiris (National Technical University of Athens, GR), Bernard Tychon (ULg), Guy Engelen (VITO), Frank Canters (VUB), Boud Verbeiren (VUB)

Development of an activity-based land-use change model for Flanders
PhD scholarship of the Flemish Institute of Technological Research (VITO)  | 2011−2015
Promoter: Frank Canters
Co-promoters: Roger White (Memorial University Newfoundland), Guy Engelen (VITO), Lien Poelmans (VITO)

Selection of peer-reviewed articles

Priem, F., Okujeni, A., van der Linden, S., Canters, F. (2019). Comparing map-based and library-based training approaches for urban land-cover fraction mapping from Sentinel-2 imagery. International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, 78: 295-305, doi: 10.1016/j.jag.2019.02.003.

van der Linden, S., Okujeni, A., Canters, F., Degerickx, J., Heiden, U., Hostert, P., Priem, F., Somers, B., Thiel, F. (2019). Imaging spectroscopy of urban environments. Surveys in Geophysics, 40: 471-488, doi: 10.1007/s10712-018-9486-y.

Mossoux, S., Kervyn, M., Soulé, H., Canters, F. (2018). Mapping population distribution from high resolution remotely sensed data. Remote Sensing, 10 (9): 1409, doi: 10.3390/rs10091409.

Okujeni, A., Canters, F., Cooper, S.D., Degerickx, J., Heiden, U., Hostert, P., Priem, F., Roberts, D.A., Somers, B., van der Linden, S. (2018). Generalizing machine-learning regression models using multi-site spectral libraries for mapping vegetation-impervious-soil fractions across multiple cities. Remote Sensing of Environment, 216: 482-496, doi: 10.1016/j.rse.2018.07.011.

Crols, T., Vanderhaegen, S., Canters, F., Engelen, G., Poelmans, L., Uljee, I., White, R. (2017). Downdating high-resolution population density maps using sealed surface cover time series. Landscape and Urban Planning, 160: 96-106, doi: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2016.12.009.

Li, L., Solana, C., Canters, F., Kervyn, M. (2017). Testing random forest classification for identifying lava flows and mapping age groups on a single Landsat 8 image. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 345: 109-124, doi: 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2017.07.014.

Stessens, P., Khan, A.Z., Huysmans, M., Canters, F. (2017). Analysing urban green space accessibility and quality: A GIS-based model as spatial decision support for urban ecosystem services in Brussels. Ecosystem Services, 28: 328-340, doi: 10.1016/j.ecoser.2017.10.016.

Vanderhaegen, S., Canters, F. (2017). Mapping urban form and function at city block level using spatial metrics. Landscape and Urban Planning, 167: 399-409, doi: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2017.05.023.

Priem, F., Canters, F. (2016). Synergistic use of LiDAR and APEX hyperspectral data for high resolution urban land cover mapping. Remote Sensing, 8 (10): 787, 1-22, doi: 10.3390/rs8100787.

Cockx, K., Canters, F. (2015). Incorporating spatial non-stationarity to improve dasymetric mapping of population. Applied Geography, 63: 220–230, doi:10.1016/j.apgeog.2015.07.002.

Crols, T., White, R., Uljee, I., Engelen, G., Poelmans, L., Canters, F. (2015). A travel time-based variable grid approach for an activity-based cellular automata model. International Journal of Geographical Information Science, 29: 1757–1781, doi:10.1080/13658816.2015.1047838.

Li, L., Canters, F., Solana, C., Ma, W., Chen, L., Kervyn, M. (2015). Discriminating lava flows of different age within Nyamuragira's volcanic field using spectral mixture analysis. International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, 40: 1-10, doi: 10.1016/j.jag.2015.03.015.

Vanderhaegen, S., De Munter, K., Canters, F. (2015). High resolution modelling and forecasting of soil sealing density at the regional scale. Landscape and Urban Planning, 133: 133–142, doi: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2014.09.016.

Canters, F., Vanderhaegen, S., Khan, A.Z., Engelen, G., Uljee, I. (2014). Land-use simulation as a supporting tool for flood risk assessment and coastal safety planning: The case of the Belgian coast. Ocean and Coastal Management, 101: 102–113, doi: 10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2014.07.018.

Cockx, K., Van de Voorde, T., Canters, F. (2014). Quantifying uncertainty in remote sensing-based urban land-use mapping. International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, 31: 154–166, doi:10.1016/j.jag.2014.03.016.

Van de Voorde, T., Jacquet, W., Canters, F. (2011). Mapping form and function in urban areas: An approach based on urban metrics and continuous impervious surface data. Landscape and Urban Planning, 102(3): 143–155, doi:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2011.03.017.

Full list of publications

In Dutch:

  • Cartografie (BA Geografie)
  • Geo-informatiekunde (BA Geografie)
  • Kaartprojecties en coördinaatsystemen (MA Geomatica, UGent)

In English:

  • Geographical Research Methods I: Earth Observation (MA Geography)
  • Advanced Earth Observation Techniques (MA Geography)
  • GIS Programming (MA Geography)
  • GIS internship (coordination) (MA Geography)
  • Introduction to GIS (MA Marine and Lacustrine Science Management, MA Human Ecology, MA Herpetology)