Data seem to be everywhere - in every nook and cranny of the Internet, behind web portals, in organisation silos, in data warehouses, databases and spreadsheets, and in documents of all types. Data about places, people, technologies and transactions. Data that can reveal what happened when, to whom and where. Data that capture every aspect of the natural, social, cultural, economic and built environment.
Information is what we need to make evidence-based decisions, take advantage of opportunities, understand change. But information is created out of data; by analysis, visualisation and contextualisation - that is what we do...and we do it well!
Knowledge discovery in data is the key to creating dependable information. First, data are harvested, often from more than one source. They may need to be cleaned to improve their quality; data sets coming from more than one source will need to be integrated. We then go about finding the patterns in the data that reveal what is worth knowing. Patterns reflect the underlying processes that create them. Know the processes and we can model them - use them to help predict what is happening. Our approach to data analysis includes a number of innovations - innovations that make data speak. Envisioning of the information is achieved through a variety of decision graphics with particular emphasis on maps.
Research and innovation in the Centre for Geo-Information Studies focuses on key aspects of geo-information science, systems and engineering (- see below 'About Us') pertinent to knowledge discovery in and use of spatial data. One focus is in linking numerical simulation modelling with geographical information systems (see the latest book). Applications have concerned the natural environment (e.g. coastal oil spills) and the social environment (e.g. micro-simulation of educational uptake of university places). We have recently been investigating the design and use of agent-based analysis and simulation tools. Another major focus of our research has been on methods of crime analysis: we have devised improved problem-solving methodologies for the police and have pioneered bulk processing and profiling of repeat victims of crime. We have undertaken in-depth studies of domestic violence and race crime. In any form of numerical or statistical analysis there is the ever present issue of data quality and the adverse impacts this may have on outcomes. We have developed particular expertise in assessing the sensitivity of analyses and models to data uncertainty. Another important area of our research is location-based services (LBS), that is, the delivery of data and information services to mobile devices where the content of those services is tailored to the current or some projected location and context of the user.
Knowledge transfer is where we assist clients in enhancing their data infrastructure and attaining the data handling and analytical skills to generate actionable information. This can take a number of forms from delivering new tools and methodologies, carrying out first-round analyses to establish baselines, delivering tailored training programmes and mentoring key staff.
Who commissions us? Clients to date include local government, central government, the NHS, police forces, utility companies, City financial and strategic consultants, voluntary organisations and other research centres. Visit our projects page.