Competition Winners

Over the summer we ran two competitions linked to our RGS-IBG Annual Conference Events.

Our first competition was the ‘reproducible map competition‘ we launched alongside the ‘Geocomputation with R’ session led by Dr Robin Lovelace of the University of Leeds. The winners were:

  • Olivia Horsefield, Data CDT student at the University of Liverpool, for their map of crime patterns in Merseyside
  • James Herring, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, for their map of broadband connectivity for England and Wales.

Congratulations to both Olivia and James who both receive a hardback copy of Robin’s (with Jakub Nowosad, Jannes Muenchow) book ‘Geocomputation with R’ .

The second competition followed our group’s sponsored sessions and the Annual General Meeting at this year’s annual conference.

For our Future of Quantitative Geography session for young/early career researcher,  we held a best paper award.  The joint winners of this competition are:

  • Sarah Gadd and colleagues from University of Leeds for a paper on ‘Combining network methods with longitudinal data analysis to examine spatio-temporal variation in bike sharing data’
  • Hannah Budnitz from University of Birmingham, for her paper on ‘Travel Behaviour, technology and weather resilience’.

Congratulations to Sarah and Hannah, who each win £75 and a copy of ‘Geocomputation with R’.

Thanks too to Dr Helen Packwood (University of Edinburgh) for helping judge the papers.

We were also very pleased with the strong level of interest in all of our events over the summer. Thank you to everyone who participated.



Help needed please!

Ever wanted to help lead debates in Quantitative Methods in Geography? Interested in improving the support, provision and future of the field?

Following on from the QMRG annual general meeting, at last month’s RGS-IBG annual conference, we are now seeking nominations for two openings on the QMRG committee:

  • Postgrad Rep – main responsibilities are for promoting postgraduate interests and needs to the wider Research Group and helping develop QMRG-sponsored activities, both at the RGS-IBG conference and at other times.  This vacancy has arisen due to Emily Eyles of Bristol University completing her term: with sincere thanks to Emily for all her efforts.
  • A new position; inclusivity and diversity officer – providing ideas and guidance in these areas and promoting activities QMRG could undertake to enhance diversity and inclusivity.

In keeping with RGS-IBG practice the committee positions normally have a 3-year term, though the Postgrad Rep position may be shorter than this and we are also very happy to consider this position being shared.

Nominations may include self-nominations, and should be sent along with the name of a seconder and a brief statement of suitability.  Enquiries and nominations should be sent by email to Dani and/or Alistair (see table below).  We would like to receive nominations no later than Friday 11th October.

We are particularly interested in supporting applications that will diversify our committee.

Please help us by circulating this notice among your colleagues and students – and/or by nominating yourself!

With thanks, Alistair Geddes (QMRG Secretary)


RGS-IBG Quantitative Methods Research Group – current committee at Sep. 2019


Name Email Committee Position Term dates
(start and end years)
Dr Dani Arribas-Bel


Geography and Planning, University of Liverpool Chair Dec 2017-Nov 2020
Dr Alistair Geddes


Geography, University of Dundee Secretary Sep 2018-Aug 2021
Dr Levi John Wolf School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol Treasurer Feb 2018-Jan 2021
Dr Mark Green Geography and Planning, University of Liverpool Web/Social

Media Officer

Aug 2018-Aug 2021
Dr Emmanouil Tranos School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol Conferences


Aug 2018-Aug 2021
Mr Roberto Santos Geospatial Institute, University of Nottingham Dissertation prizes Officer Aug 2018-Aug 2021


This event, sponsored by the Quantitative Methods Research Group and led by Dr Robin Lovelace from the University of Leeds, will provide an introductory, hands-on, and fun session getting started with spatial data in R. The workshop will bring together data, maps and R (soon-to-be) enthusiasts to demonstrate the ‘power of the command line’ to solve geographic challenges using open source software. Critically, the ‘data science’ approach demonstrated in the course enables reproducibility, something that geographers have recently started to address with a shift to open source, community-driven tools. The workshop will be based on the recently published open source book Geocomputation in R the contents ( and source code ( of which is freely available worldwide, to minimise barriers to participation in geographic research.

You need to have prepared three things before the course:
1. A decent, charged battery
2. The software needed for the course, meaning a recent version of R (at least R 3.6.0) and RStudio (installed within the past year)
3. Spatial packages installed on your computer. See here for more on the pre-requisite packages:

Places are free and must be booked in advance. You can sign up for the workshop here.

Location: RGS-IBG Drayson Room

Time: Tuesday 27 August 2019, Afternoon 13:00 – 17:30.


We are inviting proposals for Special Sessions for the forthcoming RGS-IBG Annual International Conference, which will take place from 28-30 August 2019 at the Royal Geographical Society in London.

We would be particularly interested in sponsoring sessions which illustrate how various types of data (from census to micro-data and new sources of big data) and cutting edge analytical methods can help us understand the different Geographies of Trouble and Hope, following the conference’s theme. We are also open to other session proposals, which are within the remit of QMRG.

The proposals can lead to paper sessions, poster presentations or panels. We would encourage proposals for sessions led by post-graduate students.

QMRG has access to a limited number of passes for non RGS members, and this might be an opportunity for session organisers to invite non-academics (e.g. from industry) as presenters or discussants.

How to submit your proposal

Please use the RGS-IBG Session Proposal form available here and send it to Emmanouil Tranos ( and Dani Arribas-Bel ( by 14th January 2019. We will assess all the proposals and get back to you by 21st January.

If your session is accepted for sponsorship by the QMRG you need to secure participants and complete the required paperwork by 15th February 2019 as indicated in the RGS-IBG relevant page.

Records of QMRG-sponsored sessions at recent conferences may be found via the links below (for each one choose ‘Browse by Affliation’ then ‘Quantitative Methods Research Group):

QMRG Dissertation Prize Winners

We run an annual dissertation prize open to any undergraduate dissertation that displays an aptitude for quantitative methods within Human and Physical Geography. Check out the twitter page or announcements for latest calls (occurring roughly summer time each year).

Here is a list of past winners of the prize.

Winner: Simon Herd, University of Manchester – “Reef island stability under rising sea levels? Assessing the eco-morphodynamics of a lagoonal platform island in the South Maldives”.

Winner: Laurence Day, University of St Andrews – “The relationship between forest cover and malaria incidence in Bangladesh: A spatio-statistical analysis”.

Human Geography Winner: Emily Ellis, University of St Andrews – ‘A Geographically Weighted Regression of Domestic Heat Demand in Glasgow’
Physical Geography Winner: James Kirkham, Durham University – “Magnitude-frequency relations of iceberg disintegration in Vaigat, West Greenland”

Human Geography Winner: Chris Moore, University of Bristol – “The Economic Impact of the Naxalite Insurgency on Indian States, 1982-2007: Evidence from a Synthetic Control Approach”
Physical Geography Winner: Fergus McClean, University of Dundee – “A New Approach to Index Flood Estimation for Ungauged Catchments”

Winner: Gareth Griffith, University of Bristol – “Behind the aggregate curtain: developing an advanced modelling approach to investigating health segregation”
Runner up: James Brennan, University College London – “Validation of a spectrally invariant model of canopy radiative transfer with MODIS data and its application to canopy dynamics in Amazon Forests”
Runner up: Benno Simmons, Oxford University – “Geodiversity and biodiversity: evaluating the predictive power and surrogacy performance of abiotic heterogeneity in the United Kingdom”

Winner: Tadas Nikonovas, Swansea University – “Dynamics of night time emissions in Europe”

Winner: Laura Steele, University of Bristol – “A Multilevel Modelling Approach to Ethnic Residential Segregation in Urban England, 1991-2001″
Runners up: Tim Foster and Robin Wilson’s entries, from University College London and the University of Southampton respectively.

Competition Winner: Exceptional contribution to (GIS/statistical) software

The GIScRG (Geographic Information Science Research Group) and QMRG (Quantitative Methods Research Group) are pleased to announce the winner of our 2017 Exceptional contribution to (GIS/statistical) software competition.

Zhaoya Gong has been awarded £400 for your development of the ARTMAP-based GeoComputation Toolbox.

Further details: The ARTMAP-based GeoComputation Toolbox is a set of ARTMAP-based neural networks tools for spatial data science and geocomputation developed as a QGIS Python Plugin. Recent studies have documented superior performance and accuracy of these models for pattern recognition and soft classi cation of remotely sensed imagery and land-use change prediction [1, 2, 3]. As a workstation version attached to an open source GIS software, this package will make use of common multicore CPUs platforms for parallel computing. Speci cally, this package will be implemented with the support of Cython and OpenMP to generate optimized and parallelized codes that process data in parallel threads with a great computational performance. This type of implementation aims to address the challenges of data and computational intensity for mining large volumes of spatial data (e.g., remote sensing data) with complex machine learning methods.

1. Gong, Z., Thill, J.C. and Liu, W., 2015. ART‐P‐MAP Neural Networks Modeling of Land‐Use Change: Accounting for Spatial Heterogeneity and Uncertainty. Geographical Analysis, 47(4), pp.376-409.
2. Liu, W. and Seto, K.C., 2008. Using the ART-MMAP neural network to model and predict urban growth: a spatiotemporal data mining approach. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 35(2), pp.296-317.
3. Liu, W., Seto, K.C., Wu, E.Y., Gopal, S. and Woodcock, C.E., 2004. ART-MMAP: A neural network approach to subpixel classi cation. IEEE transactions on geoscience and remote sensing, 42(9), pp.1976-1983.

Competition: Exceptional contribution to (GIS/statistical) software

The GIScRG (Geographic Information Science Research Group of the RGS) and QMRG (Quantitative Methods Research Group) are looking to use some of their fund to support a contribution to some GIS / statistical open source software. We have £500 to offer as a grant (or series of grants) to one or more projects that will contribute to a piece of open source GIS / statistical software.

The definition is intentionally vague because we are interpreting ‘contribution’ to including a range of potential options, including:
– development of a new package / library that offer an additional geospatial feature to a program that did not exist before
– continued development of an existing code / library that adds a new significant feature to an existing library
– a set of ‘how to use x’ documentation, that adds something to resources that are already available

Any proposal must be make open source (as appropriate for the relevant program) and should be documented appropriately.

We are asking people to submit proposals, with details including cost, to The GIScRG and QMRG committees will then select one (or more) proposals to fund.

Successful applications will also be offered the opportunity to run a workshop on their work at a suitable conference (e.g. GISRUK or Geocomputation) in return for a waived registration fee.

Issue call for applications: 20th Jan
Deadline for applications: 10th Feb
Announce winner(s): 17th Feb

If you have questions, please contact /