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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  People  /  Academic Staff  /  Joanna Wilkin

Joanna Wilkin

Wilkin_Jo_Pic.jpgDepartment of Geography
University College London
UCL North-West Wing
Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT







Jo joined UCL Geography in 2020 after completing an ESRC funded PhD on mining Call Detail Records to estimate social connectivity for Disaster Resilience Estimation, based within the Worldpop research team at the University of Southampton. During her time at Southampton, Jo created and launched the first Geography Programming Bootcamp, for which she was awarded Esri UK’s 2019 Young Scholar Prize. In addition to her PhD research, she worked with Dr Dianna Smith on two spatial health research projects, which investigated the connections between the presence of alcohol-related diseases and hospital admissions within the presence of alcohol-selling premises.

Prior to her PhD, Jo worked as a GIS consultant within the oil spill industry, producing an industry-reviewed guide on the role of satellite remote sensing for oil spill response. Jo also volunteered, and later worked, within the GIS teams at the British Red Cross and Médecins Sans Frontières UK. During her time at the British Red Cross, she helped establish the Missing Maps Project in London, which encourages people to help “put the most vulnerable people on the map” by mapping crisis or disaster-prone areas onto Openstreetmap. She has presented on behalf of the project at the Royal Geographical Society and the Oxford Internet Institute on the role of crowdsourcing and mobile-based data collection application.

Jo studied Geography at Oxford University and specialised in GIS through an MSc in Geographical Information Management at Cranfield University. She has also interned at the Ordnance Survey, where she independently researched and produced a series of consultancy reports on the changing ICT industry and the potential implications for Ordnance Survey's current business strategy and model. As part of her Undergraduate Dissertation, she spent two months in Bangladesh with BRAC to research how the microfinance industry was changing. During these two months, she collected data in the field, visiting many villages and schemes across the country and witnessed first-hand how important location was to the administration and success of the various programmes BRAC offered. This sparked her initial interest in understanding how mapping data and spatial analysis can be used in sustainable development and disaster risk reduction and continues to be the catalyst for the majority of her research today.

Wilkin, J., Biggs, E. and Tatem, A.J., 2019. Measurement of social networks for innovation within community disaster resilience. Sustainability, 11(7), p.1943.

Chughtai, H., Myers, M., Young, A.G., Borsa, T., Cardo, V., Demirkol, O., Morgan, C., Morton, S., Prior, C., Wilkin, J. and Young, E., 2019. Demarginalizing interdisciplinarity in IS research: Interdisciplinary research in marginalization. Communications of the Association for Information Systems.

IPIECA/OGP, 2015. 'Satellite remote sensing of oil spills at sea'. Good Practice Guide series, 2016. Sole author.

Wilkin, J., 2011. Beyond micro-credit: an evolving microfinance. Engenderings.

Her research interests focus on the creation and use of innovative geospatial datasets for insight within Disaster Risk Reduction. Her current research focuses on expanding the potential utility of Call Detail Records for DRR, specifically focusing on mapping and measuring the social connections between communities. In addition, through her work with Missing Maps and her attachment within the Worldpop research group, Jo also has considerable interest in keeping up-to-date with the innovation within creating population and settlement data, particularly in the mapping and analysis of building footprints.

As part of her work with the Missing Maps Project, Jo was invited to present and participate at a World University Network workshop on the ‘Trans-nationalisation of Indigenous Movements’ held at the University of Southampton, December 2018. Her presentation focused on 'The importance of maps for Indigenous Communities', focusing on the role of Participatory GIS and community engagement in creating maps for the empowerment of local communities.

Jo’s innovative Geography Programming Bootcamp was awarded two prizes, including the Esri UK Young Scholar Prize which resulted in presenting the Bootcamp at the Esri UK 2019 Annual User Conference and the Esri 2019 Global User Conference in San Diego, USA. An online version of the Bootcamp is in progress.

GEOG0163 – Data, Politics and Society
GEOG0114 – Principles of Spatial Analysis
GEOG0030 – Geocomputation
GEOG0016 – The Practice of Geography