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Sensing the World: Big Data in Geography

Venue: Online

This lecture will give an overview of the opportunities and challenges of Big Data analytics in the context of geography. Thanks to increasing computing power and ubiquitous GPS sensors, we can record and store an unprecedented amount of information about the world. Geographic information plays a crucial role in our society, contributing to planning, analysis and management in sectors as diverse as transportation, insurance, banking, telecommunications, logistics, energy, retail, agriculture, healthcare, urban planning and scientific research. The analysis of geospatial Big Data enables us to better tackle big challenges we face in the twenty-first century, simulating the dynamics of change in the natural and built environment, identifying suitable locations for renewable energy power plants and public services, and producing effective maps to visualise natural- and human-geography applications. However, this approach is not without flaws and many have criticised its unintended effects and potential drawbacks. How is Big Data reshaping the world and how can we minimise its negative effects?


This lecture is a taster session for the MSc Geographic Data Science programme at Birkbeck.

The event is open to all interests and aimed at offer holders and potential applicants for the MSc Geographic Data Science programme.

Contact name:

  • Dr Andrea Ballatore -

    Dr Andrea Ballatore is a Lecturer in Geographic Data Science at the Department of Geography interested in volunteered geographic information, big data analytics and geographic information retrieval, as well as media studies and the digital humanities.