Grid-enabling Geographically Weighted Regression: A Case Study of Participation in Higher Education in England

Geographically Weighted Regression (GWR) is a method of spatial statistical analysis used to explore geographical differences in the effect of one or more predictor variables upon a response variable. However, as a form of local analysis, it does not scale well to (especially) large data sets because of the repeated processes of fitting and then comparing multiple regression surfaces. A solution is to make use of developing grid infrastructures, such as that provided by the National Grid Service (NGS) in the UK, treating GWR as an “embarrassing parallel” problem and building on existing software platforms to provide a bridge between an open source implementation of GWR (in R) and the grid system. To demonstrate the approach, we apply it to a case study of participation in Higher Education, using GWR to detect spatial variation in social, cultural and demographic indicators of participation.

Harris, Richard, A.D. Singleton, Daniel Grose, Chris Brunsdon, and P.A. Longley. 2010. “Grid-enabling Geographically Weighted Regression: A Case Study of Participation in Higher Education in England.” Transactions in GIS 14 (1): 43–61.

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Classification through consultation: public views of the geography of the e-Society

Although viewed by business and commerce as successful solutions, geodemographic profiling of neighbourhoods has attracted wide-ranging criticism in the academic literature. This paper addresses some specific concerns that arise because the derivation of classifications is rarely transparent and open to scrutiny or challenge. The substantive focus of the research reported in this paper is a nationwide geodemographic classification of how people engage with new information and communication technologies (ICTs). In response to the critique of geodemographics as a ‘black box’ technology, we describe how the classification was opened up to public scrutiny and how we conducted a major consultation exercise into the reliability of its results. We assess the message of the 50,000+ searches and 3952 responses collected during the consultation exercise, in terms of possible systematic errors in the shape and detail of the classification. Unusually for Internet-based surveys, we also investigate the likely reliability of the response information received and identify ways in which the outcome of consultation might be used to improve the classification. We believe that this is the first-ever large-scale consultation survey of the validity and remit of a geodemographic classification and that it may have wider implications for the creation of geodemographic classifications.

Longley, P.A., and A.D. Singleton. 2009. “Classification Through Consultation: Public Views Of The Geography Of The E-Society.” International Journal of Geographical Information Science 23 (6): 737–763.

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Creating open source geodemographics: Refining a national classification of census output areas for applications in higher education

This paper explores the use of geodemographic classifications to investigate the social, economic and spatial dimensions of participation in Higher Education (HE). Education is a public service that confers very significant and tangible benefits upon receiving individuals: as such, we argue that understanding the geodemography of educational opportunity requires an application-specific classification that exploits under-used educational data sources. We develop a classification for the UK higher education sector, and apply it to the Gospel Oak area of London. We discuss the wider merits of sector specific applications of geodemographics and enumerate the advantages of bespoke classifications for applications in public service provision.

Singleton, A.D., and P.A. Longley. 2009. “Creating Open Source Geodemographics – Refining a National Classification of Census Output Areas for Applications in Higher Education.” Papers in Regional Science 88 (3): 643–666.

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Geodemographics, Visualisation, and Social Networks in Applied Geography

This review begins by acknowledging the success of geodemographics as an important area of activity in applied geography. However, it then develops a critique of the conceptual and computational underpinnings of the approach, and argues that changes in data supply and online communication have rendered current practices obsolete. It presents elements of a new perspective, entailing: changes in the specification, estimation and testing of online geodemographic systems; adoption of consultative practices from online folksonomies; automated generation of pen portraits; and

Singleton, A.D., and Paul A. Longley. 2009. “Geodemographics, Visualisation, and Social Networks in Applied Geography.” Applied Geography 29 (3): 289–298.

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SpatialKey looks a promising new GIS based start up built around geovisualisation. Of particular note are the heat map visualisation demos which link both time and place.

It appears to be built in the new Flex framework which I think w…

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Web Mapping 2.0: The Neogeography of the GeoWeb

Haklay, M., Singleton, A.D., Parker, C. (2008) Web Mapping 2.0: The Neogeography of the GeoWeb. Geography Compass.


The landscape of Internet mapping technologies has changed dramatically since 2005. New techniques are being used and new terms have been invented and entered the lexicon such as: mash-ups, crowdsourcing, neogeography and geostack. A whole range of websites and communities from the commercial Google Maps to the grassroots OpenStreetMap, and applications such as Platial, also have emerged. In their totality, these new applications represent a step change in the evolution of the area of Internet geographic applications (which some have termed the GeoWeb). The nature of this change warrants an explanation and an overview, as it has implications both for geographers and the public notion of Geography. This article provides a critical review of this newly emerging landscape, starting with an introduction to the concepts, technologies and structures that have emerged over the short period of intense innovation. It introduces the non-technical reader to them, suggests reasons for the neologism, explains the terminology, and provides a perspective on the current trends. Case studies are used to demonstrate this Web Mapping 2.0 era, and differentiate it from the previous generation of Internet mapping. Finally, the implications of these new techniques and the challenges they pose to geographic information science, geography and society at large are considered.

Haklay, M., A.D. Singleton, and C. Parker. 2008. “Web Mapping 2.0: The Neogeography of the GeoWeb.” Geography Compass 2 (6): 2011–2039.

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I have always struggled to find a nice easy way to create cartograms. That was until I found a relatively new tool called ScapeToad ( Within minutes I had generated a very appealing cartogram of London at Output …

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