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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  News & Events  /  News  /  News Archive  /  2014  /  November 2014  /  ‘London: the Information Capital’

‘London: the Information Capital’

James showcases UCL data and mapping research in new atlas

‘London: the Information Capital’

A new book bursting with London maps and infographics, just published, is the result of a year of intense work by Dr James Cheshire (UCL Geography) and designer Oliver Uberti.

London: the Information Capital seeks to paint a contemporary portrait of the city through its abundance of open data, highlighting a range of UCL research in departments including Geography, the UCL Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) and UCL Security and Crime Science.

With over 100 full-colour spreads and accompanying essays, the book introduces five broad themes – Where we are; Who we are; Where we go; How we’re doing; and What we like.

James explains the idea behind the atlas:

“More datasets are freely available for London than ever before and our ability to make the most of them, thanks to powerful computers and graphics software, has never been better. Such developments, combined with the inspiring work of UCL colleagues, meant that it seemed the ideal time to capture the depth and diversity of modern London through its data.”

“We hope that the book works on a number of levels. Each of the hundred or so graphics has its own message about a particular aspect of London life. When combined this offers a compelling argument for the power of data visualisation and the importance of London as an information capital”.

He adds: “While working on the book I kept asking myself,  ‘If I could map anything on London what would it be?’ and then try to pursue the answer. Some data had never been collected, but data sets were often already freely available through the likes of the London DataStore or could be obtained through Freedom of Information requests.”

James's current research focus is the use of “big data” and open datasets for social science research, in a project funded by the ESRC Future Research Leaders Scheme. He is also a co-investigator in two of ESRC's “Big Data Network” initiatives – the Consumer Data Research Centre and the Administrative Data Research Centre. His recent publications include work on the use of cycle hire schemes, the spatial analysis of surnames and new ways to visualise population data.

For more about the book see here:


Oliver and James (right) at the launch of 'London: the Information Capital'

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