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About us

The vision of the Geoanalytics and Modelling Group (GAM) is that spatial thinking and computing contribute to a great variety of research areas, spanning from the natural sciences to the social sciences and the humanities. GAM promotes the adoption of geographic information as a powerful integrator for multidisciplinary approaches to address fundamental challenges in human and natural systems. We use quantitative and computational methods to investigate social and natural phenomena, including urban dynamics, crime, and coastal erosion.

Recent funded projects

  • Localising governance in Facebook groups (2020-2021): This project is led by Dr Scott Rodgers in collaboration with Dr Susan Moore and Dr Andrea Ballatore, funded by a grant from Facebook Research. The project is a systematic study into how Administrators and Moderators govern contributions in Facebook Groups relating to named places (e.g. villages, towns, neighbourhoods). While they can be vibrant arenas of constructive local discourse, local Facebook Groups also often host polarised exchanges, harmful content and even the possibility of offline harm. Focusing on 16 active place-named Facebook Groups in and around London, UK, this study will combine qualitative and data analytics approaches towards an original and focused analysis of how Administrators and Moderators govern content.
  • Searching for unique places (2020) This project of Dr Andrea Ballatore develops a framework for the search and recommendation of places. Unlike entities with clear boundaries, places such as neighbourhoods and towns are configurations of geo-located objects with fuzzy and arbitrary borders. This project has two aims: (1) Develop an approach to, given a user-defined geographic area as a query and a set of dimensions, identifying and recommending similar areas at a suitable scale. (2) Develop an approach to quantifying the “uniqueness” of geographic areas with respect to the dimensions of interest. Use cases are in the OS GetOutside initiative, which encourages citizens to engage with the outdoors and the approach will enable users to explore the British landscape in a novel way, highlighting to what extent areas are similar to other areas or unique.
  • Deer as vectors of bovine TB (2015-2018): This Wellcome Trust ISSF study by Dr Shino Shiode confirmed that the spatial distribution of estimated deer population shared some degree of similar geographical pattern with that of bTB herd breakdown ratios. This association becomes more evident when their distributions are reaggregated to areal units confined by the physical barriers (e.g. motorways, railway tracks, rivers) that affect deer’s movements, as opposed to using the original aggregate unit of church parishes.
  • Human-wildlife encounters (2017-19): Globally, where populations of wild animals survive outside protected areas, traumatic encounters with humans occur, resulting in both physical and psychological traumas and damage to livelihoods and the harming of wild animals. Working in India and southern Africa, Dr Simon Pooley’s Wellcome Trust-funded ISSF grant investigated how people understand, represent and communicate about traumatic encounters with wild animals, and the after-effects, in particular places and cultural contexts.
  • Public transport in London and São Paulo (2015-18): Dr Joana Barros’s RESOLUTION (Resilient Systems for Land Use and Transportation) Project looked into the interplay between transport accessibility and socio-spatial inequalities in the metropolitan areas of two megacities, London and São Paulo. It was funded by ESRC and FAPESP (Brazil) and was a collaboration between Birkbeck, the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA, UCL), the University of São Paulo (USP), the Federal University of ABC (UFABC) and the Brazilian National Institute for Spatial Research (INPE).
  • Crime Geosurveillance (2013-2015): Dr Shino Shiode’s British Academy funded project developed a new crime geo-surveillance method that can rapidly detect and alarm at the individual street-address level, where and when a problem is emerging. Through empirical analyses, the project confirmed that crime tends to concentrate at very small places, although the size of their concentration may vary greatly.