Barend van der Merwe

email: [email protected]
Tel: +27 (0) 12 420 3699
Office: Geography Building 2-11
Monday: 10:30 - 12:30
Thursday: 14:30-16:30
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Research profile

Barend's research interests are mainly in the application of computational strategies and techniques to solve geographical problems (i.e. geocomputation). As part of his PhD, he is investigating the use of convolutional neural networks (CNN) to classify barchan images into categories of increasing asymmetry. This is part of a larger project which aims to greatly reduce the amount of time that researchers have to spend in collecting barchan morphometric data from satellite imagery.


  • BSc (Environmental Science), University of Pretoria
  • BSc Honours (Geography), University of Pretoria
  • MSc (Geography), University of Pretoria

Courses presented in 2022

  • ENV 201 - Environmental Sciences 201
  • GGY 168 - Introduction to Physical Geography
  • GGY 718 - Applied Geomorphology

Conference Presentations/Webinars

  • Classifying barchan shape and asymmetry using convolutional neural networks, Oral Presentation, Society of South African Geographers and Southern African Association of Geomorphologists 2021 Joint Biennial Conference (6-8 September).
  • The Performance of Different CNN Architectures on Barchan Asymmetry Classification, IAG Regional Webinar (Africa), International Geomorphology Week 2021.
  • Barchan shape as an aid to process explanation: An historical overview, Society of South African Geographers (SSAG) centennial conference 2016, 25-28 September, Stellenbosch, South Africa
  • Using Geometric Morphometrics to Quantify Barchan Shape from Satellite Imagery, Oral Presentation, South African Association of Geomorphologists (SAAG) 2015 Conference, 19-20 September, Sani Mountain Lodge, Lesotho

Research publications (since 2012)

ORCID ID | Google Scholar | LinkedIN | Twitter | GitHub

  • van der Merwe, B., Pillay, N. and Coetzee, S. (2022). An application of CNN to classify barchan dunes into asymmetry classes, Aeolian Research, 56, 100801, doi: 10.1016/j.aeolia.2022.100801.
  • Van der Merwe, B.J. (2021). The relationship between barchan size and barchan morphology: A case study from Northern Namibia, South African Geographical Journal, 103, 119-138, doi: 10.1080/03736245.2021.1876753.
  • Van der Hoven C, Ubomba-Jaswa E, van der Merwe B, Loubser M, Abia, ALK (2017) The impact of various land uses on the microbial and physiochemical quality of surface water bodies in developing countries: Prioritisation of water resources management areas, Environmental Nanotechnology, Monitoring and Management, 8, 280-289.
  • Hansen C, Meiklejohn, K, Nel W, Loubser MJ, van der Merwe BJ (2013). Aspect-controlled weathering observed on a blockfield in Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica, Geografiska Annaler Series A: Physical Geography, 95, 305-313.
- Author Barend vd Merwe
Published by Barend van der Merwe

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