GIScRG Sponsored Sessions 2016

The GIScience Research Group (GIScRG) is sponsoring a number of sessions at the Royal Geographical Society Annual International Conference 2016, London – 30 August to 2 September 2016.


A deluge of new data created by people and machines is changing the way that we understand, organise and model urban spaces. New analytics are required to make sense of these data and to usefully apply findings to real systems. This session seeks to bring together quantitative or mixed methods papers that develop or use new analytics in order to better understand the form, function and future of urban systems. We invite methodological, theoretical and empirical papers that engage with any aspect of urban analytics. Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • New methodologies for tackling large, complex or dirty data sets;
  • Case studies involving analysis of novel or unusual data sources;
  • Policy analysis, predictive analytics, other applications of data;
  • Intensive modelling or simulation applied to urban areas or processes;
  • Individual-level and agent-based models (ABM) of geographical systems;
  • Validating and calibrating models with novel data sources;
  • Ethics of data collected en masse and their use in simulation and analytics.

Please e-mail the abstract and key words with your expression of intent to Nick Malleson ( by 12th February 2016 (one week before the RGS conference deadline). An abstract should be no more than 250 words.

For more information see:

Session organisers:

  • Nick Malleson, School of Geography, University of Leeds
  • Alex Singleton, School of Environmental Sciences, University of Liverpool
  • Mark Birkin, Director of the University of Leeds Institute for Data Analytics (LIDA)
  • Ed Manley, Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA), UCL.
  • Alison Hepenstall, School of Geography, University of Leeds


The use of fully programmable computers to construct spatial models and run spatial analyses stretches back to the use of ENIAC to calculate ballistic courses during the Second World War. As ENIAC was announced to the public in 1946, 2016 represents the 70th year of the public use of computers in geography. Perhaps more happily, it is also 20 years since the term “GeoComputation” was invented to draw together a disparate set of geographers doing computing in the 70s, 80s, and 90s at the 1996 “1st International Conference on GeoComputation” in Leeds, UK. In 2017, the community built around this conference will be celebrating its 21st birthday, reflecting on its successes, and future directions. As part of this celebration, we invite presentations for this session speculating on the future of computing in geography: potentials, problems, and predictions. What is the future? The Internet of Things? Group cognition modelling? Solar-system scale geomorphological modelling? Speculative discussions encouraged!

Please e-mail the abstract and key words with your expression of intent to Ed Manley ( by 12th February 2016 (one week before the RGS conference deadline). An abstract should be no more than 250 words.

For more information see:

Session Organisers:


Convened by:

  • Kevin Muldoon-Smith (Northumbria University)
  • Paul Greenhalgh (Northumbria University)
  • Emine Mine Thompson (Northumbria University)
  • James Charlton (Northumbria University)
  • Seraphim Alvanides (Northumbria University)

Recently, Adams and Tiesdell (2010), Tewdwr-Jones (2012) and Batty (2013) have outlined the importance of information and intelligence when managing the nexus demands for land, property and environmental resources in the future city. Indeed, Adams and Tiesdell (2010) in the field of urban planning, argue that the production of market rich intelligence, its use and modelling, can empower urban stakeholders as they mediate and contest contemporary state-market relations. However, today, the challenge for those working in and researching urban issues is no longer the timely generation of urban data, rather, it is in relation to how the nexus of so much urban information can be exploited and integrated into contemporary urban thinking and practice. This session reflects upon this challenge through the lens of city information modelling (CIM), taken to mean the integrated modelling of inter-connected information resources across disciplinary silos in order to identify and evidence more efficient, equitable, secure and sustainable cities. It is also designed to provoke discussion in relation to the exploitation and improvement of data modelling and visualisation in the various urban disciplines and to contribute to the literature in related fields.

The session has a dual focus:

First, to highlight the opportunities and challenges in relation to the generation, access and use of city information modelling. We therefore encourage papers that unpick the complex reality of information accessibility and availability, its accuracy and consistency, and its manageability and potential integration.

Second, to showcase innovative methods and examples of city information modelling. We therefore welcome papers that discuss methodological development and offer examples of the city information nexus in action.

This session is targeted at the urban community in the broadest sense and we welcome contributions from post graduate, early career and established researchers. The session could be of interest to the following subject areas; data science and analytics, urban visualisation for instance 2D, 3D, 4D and 5D interpretations, GIS, space syntax, those concerned with the interaction between city information modelling, the economy and society, information/data ethics and any others that actively engage with the interdependencies, tensions and trade-offs between information and the city.

Titles, abstracts (roughly 250 words) and 5 keywords, along with contact details should be emailed to Kevin Muldoon-Smith ( by Tuesday, 9th February, 2016. Notification of acceptance will be given by Tuesday, 19th February, 2016.

Format: The format of the session(s) will be the presentation of 4-5 selected papers, each lasting around 20 minutes.

References cited

Adams, D. & Tiesdell, S. (2010) Planners as market actors: Rethinking state – market relations in land and property, Planning Theory and Practice, 11(2), 187-207.
Batty, M. (2013) Big data, smart cities and city planning, Dialogues in Human Geography, 30(3), 274-279.
Tewdwr-Jones, M. (2012) Spatial Planning and Governance: Understanding UK Planning, London, Palgrave-Macmillan.


Convened by: Patrick Rickles and Dr. Claire Ellul (University College London)

Geographic Information Systems (GIS), though formerly considered only to be a fundamental tool of research for Geography, have lent themselves to extending and enriching analyses of many disciplines. Illegal activities that threaten populations, areas with unequal access to resources, those vulnerable to natural and manmade disasters – these are interdisciplinary issues that require researchers to work across domains of knowledge and can begin to be investigated through the use of GIS. GIS, however, have often been said to be difficult to use, as there is specialist knowledge that needs to be acquired to understand and adeptly use it.

That said, this has not stopped enthusiastic researchers from successfully applying GIS in their analyses, but they may not have had an easy process in doing so. People have individual styles and ways of learning; it is important to understand their learning journey and support it as best as possible – whether it is through classroom training, online tutorials and videos, or simply getting bespoke help from those already familiar with GIS. Through perseverance, the outcomes of their research may be enlightening, not only to their discipline, but for others as well, as new analytical methodologies may create new opportunities.

This session brings together researchers from disciplines inside and outside of Geography, as well as GIS experts providing skilled insight into interdisciplinary research to share their experiences on learning and applying GIS in interesting and innovative ways. This may include, but is not limited to:

  • Those who have learned GIS, sharing the successes (or failures) from their learning experience with suggestions for improvement
  • Those from disciplines / sub-disciplines that may not be familiar with GIS who have successfully applied it in their research
  • Those who have learned to use and apply GIS analyses across disciplinary boundaries to bring researchers together

We would like to welcome participants to send us a submission detailing your work. Titles, abstracts (roughly 250 words) and 5 keywords, along with contact details should be emailed to Patrick Rickles ( by Friday, 5th February, 2016. Notification of acceptance will be given by Friday, 19th February, 2016.


Population exposure to natural hazards and disasters (e.g. earthquake, drought, flooding, hurricane, etc.) remains one of the ultimate constraints on human activity. Especially, the poorest and most vulnerable is disproportionately affected by these events. Meanwhile population growth and climate change are projected to intensify the impact of future natural hazards and disasters. The development and application of geospatial methods have significantly contributed to the assessment of vulnerability and resilience from natural hazards. This session will welcome papers and discussions on the challenges, lessons learned, examples and future of methods for application to disaster risk management and resilience.

Papers are particularly welcome on, but not limited to, one or more of the following themes:

  • Extreme events (e.g. earthquake, tsunamis, flooding, etc.) / chronic events (sea level rise, costal erosion, etc.)
  • Disaster risk reduction
  • Applied quantitative analyses or modelling
  • Spatiotemporal population estimates
  • Network analysis and spatial modelling

For further information or to submit an abstract please email either of the session organisers by Friday 12 February 2016. Abstracts should be no longer than 250 words. Conference registration details can be found here.

Session organisers:

  • Dr Yi Gong, Sustainable Places Research Institute, Cardiff University (
  • Dr Alan Smith, Geography and Environment, University of Southampton (