Big Data and Cartography

Colloquium | January 31 | 3:30-5 p.m. | 575 McCone Hall

 James Cheshire, University College London

 Department of Geography

Maps are an increasingly important tool for interrogating, disseminating and communicating large and complex geographic datasets. This talk will outline the ways in which innovative cartography can be used to inform researchers, and the public more broadly, about the value, and pitfalls, of “Big Data”. It will draw insights from three highly successful mapping projects that have sought to capitalise on the increased availability of geographic data. The first is an online platform ( that visualizes and provides access to the UK Census, while the second and third examples are two books entitled London: The Information Capital and Where the Animals Go. These seek to demonstrate the power of maps to widen the reach of complex datasets in the context of cities (in the case of London) and zoology and conservation (in the case of Animals). All three examples have enjoyed interest from a large audience and been used to advocate for greater access to data for geographic research.