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U•Geo at GISRUK 2012

February 16, 2012

We will be presenting the U•Geo project findings, and the Browser app, at GISRUK 2012in Lancaster this April. This is the UK’s largest GIS research conference, and a great chance to show off what we’ve done and bolster awareness of the issues our work has highlighted. The abstract is included below, and the full paper will be published in the conference proceedings later in the year. Hope to see you there.

Unlocking the geospatial potential of survey data

National survey data presents a hugely valuable, but currently underused resource for researchers, learners and teachers using geospatial methodologies. Spatial units are the fundamental method of georeferencing survey data and the integrity of any analysis or visualisation relies on their appropriate usage. Building on the UK Data Archive’s expertise in the preservation and dissemination of social science data, we looked in-depth at ways of increasing the value of UK Data Archive services to GIS users. Our developments include a novel web application which assists in the location, interpretation and linkage of spatial unit variables in datasets.

What GISRUK 2012
Where Lancaster, UK
When Apr 11, 2012 – Apr 13, 2012

Budget note

This presentation is funded from the dissemination budget of the JISC-funded U·Geo project, costed at £800 for conference registration (£265pp) and train travel for 2 people.

EDIT: Paper presented and well recieved. The slides from the presentation are available here: .


Unconference @ JISC Geospatial Event 28-29 Nov 2011

December 2, 2011

Recommendations to JISC from the Unconference sessions at the JISC Geospatial event on 29 Nov 2011.

During the second Unconference session of the day, focussing on common themes running through the projects. 6 themes were identified for geospatial data:

  • Create
  • Manage
  • Repurpose
  • Analyse
  • Share
  • Express

We discussed theme: managing geospatial data (table 2)

We = Scott Orford and Richard Fry, WISERD Geoportal ; Tom Ensom and myself, U.Geo proejct.

Key topics we discussed: metadata, standards, INSPIRE, linking, security, disclosure

Key recommendation:  providing expertise/services on  STANDARDS for geospatial data: INSPIRE, metadata standards and standards for data security.

We discussed the issues of often complex/frustrating access to micro-level data with disclosure risk and how to manage access to such data. Solutions are needed.

Services are needed for data linkage / geo analysis for disclosive data, that provide user-frendly options for researchers. E.g. Health Informatics Wales does secure anonymised information linkage for researchers. Can re-aggregations be provided via e.g. Secure Data Service  (for non-SDS users).

Anonymised mapping techniques are needed.

Another problematic issues – how to keep track of changes to boundaries, where versioning is needed, e.g. changes to postcodes, objects, counties, etc.

Data creators need awareness of spatial standards.

Metadata need to be openly exposed.

Text mining is feasible to certain degree, then needs human intelligence = intelligent text mining.

Blog stats

November 11, 2011

Our blog activity (as taken on 10/11/11) has spiked during the last 2 months. We’re expecting record views in November :-), thanks in part to the UK Data Archive’s new twitter account!

Month Feb  Mar  Apr  May  Jun  Jul  Aug   Sep   Oct   Nov
Views   63    65     45     52      47    59   54     128   170   62

Monthly blog stats

Topical blog stats

INSPIRE – DDI metadata mapping UK Data Archive

November 11, 2011

We have mapped the UK Data Archive catalogue metadata to INSPIRE and GEMINI 2.1 metadata specifications, as part of the development of a roadmap towards INSPIRE compliance for the Archive’s metadata schema.

The Archive’s metadata schema is based on DDI (Data Documentation Initiative) 2.1; therefore DDI-Codebook and DDI-Lifecycle elements are also included in the mapping.

This work fits into wider resource discovery and infrastructure developments at the Archive, with an aim towards implementing a DDI-Lifecycle (3.1) metadata structure.

DOWNLOAD: Mapping UK Data Archive metadata to INSPIRE and GEMINI 2.1 metadata specifications and to DDI metadata elements [XLS]



UK Data Archive (2011). Mapping UK Data Archive metadata to INSPIRE and GEMINI 2.1 metadata specifications and to DDI metadata elements. Colchester, UK Data Archive, University of Essex.

This output is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England & Wales license.

Report – What do social sciences geo users want from Archive data ?

November 11, 2011

We asked researchers that regularly use UK Data Archive data collections in geospatial applications, what they want or need to make better use of social science data for these purposes.

These researchers either use social science survey data available from the the Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS) or the Secure Data Service (SDS). We focused in on how they work with geospatial data and what they require from data providers (like the UK Data Archive) to make their research most effective.

We also drew upon additional info from two recent reports: an ESRC-commissioned report on geospatial data needs in the social sciences community [1] and a report on geospatial support services in higher education institutions [2].

Our brief report shows the suggestions and recommendations made by users, and how we took those on board in further activities of the project.


[1] Owen, D., Green, A. & Elias, P. (2009) Review of geospatial resource needs.
[2] Sutton E., Chisholm, H. & Armitage, T. (2010) Survey of Support for Geospatial Resources within Higher and Further Education.

JISCgeo Innovation Programme event

November 9, 2011

We will be demonstrating the U·Geo GeoBrowser at the JISCgeo Innovation Programme meeting on Monday 28 November 2011, 9.00-17.30, at Ravensborough College in London.

At this open event, several new BETA products and tools centred around geospatial technology and aimed at Universities, Colleges and Schools, developed by JISC-funded geo projects will be demonstrated. We encourage students, researchers and teaching staff from all disciplines to attend and sample these new tools to further their usefulness to everyone in Academia. Come along and discover how Geo really is part of everyday work and play 🙂

Programme of the day.

Register for this free event.