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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.

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 (

Quantitative Methods Research Group

About the QMRG

The Quantitative Methods Research Group is one of a number of Speciality Research Groups of the RGS-IBG. These Research and Study Groups bring together Society Fellows who are active researchers and those with a professional interest in a particular aspect of geography. The QMRG exists to promote the application of quantitative methods in Geography. It encompasses research across a broad range of topics in statistics and general quantitative modelling approaches. The QMRG has an extensive history which you can read about here.

Membership of the QMRG is open to all Fellows (including Associate Fellows) of the RGS-IBG who elect to join the Research Group. Membership of the QMRG is free of charge except for those who are already a member of two further Research Groups where an additional fee may be required. Other interested persons who are not Fellows of the RGS-IBG may join the QMRG for an additional fee as determined by the QMRG AGM. The QMRG register now totals well over 200 members.

Follow our latest news either via our Twitter page or joining our mailing list (archives of all posts can be viewed here). Current activities and announcements will also be made ad hoc here.

QMRG Constitution

The most current QMRG Constitution can be downloaded here.


The following represent the current QMRG committee structure. If you are interested in becoming a committee member then please drop the chair an email.

Chair: Dani Arribas-Bel (University of Liverpool)
Secretary: Alistair Geddes (University of Dundee)
Treasurer: Levi John Wolf (University of Bristol)
Postgraduate Representative: Emily Eyles (University of Bristol)
Conferences Officer: Emmanouil Tranos (University of Birmingham)
Dissertation Prize Officer: Roberto Santos (University of Nottingham)
Social Media/Web Officer: Mark Green (University of Liverpool)

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