Applied GIS: social science applications


26/04/2016 - 27/04/2016

Organised by:

University of Manchester


Dr Andy Newing


Intermediate (some prior knowledge)


Claire Spencer, 0161 275 1980,


View in Google Maps  (M13 9PL)


Basement lab
Cathie Marsh Institute
Humanities Bridgeford street
University of Manchester


This course is aimed at researchers who have some familiarity with spatial data and GIS software functionality. This two day course uses a series of accessible hands-on practicals and supporting lectures to introduce participants to a series of more advanced spatial analysis functions and tools within a GIS. We work primarily with vector data (points, lines, polygons and networks) to gain familiarity with GIS tools and techniques used for applied research within the social sciences. Specifically we will introduce spatial clustering, measures of proximity and access, network analysis, construction of service areas and evaluation of facility or service locations, via a series of research questions which could applied in many research contexts. We use ESRIs ArcGIS industry standard proprietary GIS software, widely used by the research community and commercial sector. 

Throughout the practical activities we make extensive use of a dataset related to voter turnout (whether an individual voted or not) for the 2005 general election. The data are related to an individual constituency (Withington, Greater Manchester). We work with point data related to individual voters (by home postcode) and neighbourhood data using wards and Output Areas, to which sociodeomographic and geodemographic data can be attached. We also use polling station locations and the underlying road network, introducing participants to a full range of data types and formats used for applied research in the social sciences.

Whilst the scenarios being investigated are about variations in voter turnout, we emphasise that the approaches, questions, challenges and operational decisions are generic to these kinds of geographic analyses. Specifically, we will use these data to investigate:

  • Whether occurrences of an outcome cluster in space
  • Whether these outcomes vary by the socioeconomic characteristics of areas
  • Whether these outcomes vary by accessibility to services
  • Whether a different distribution of services would change the situation

This course will run from 11am-5pm on day one and 9am-3pm


• £30 per day for UK/EU registered students
• £60 per day for staff at UK/EU academic institutions, UK/EU Research Councils researchers, UK/EU public sector staff and staff at UK/EU registered charity organisations and recognised UK/EU research institutions.
• £220 per day for all other participants.

All fees include event materials, lunch, morning and afternoon tea. They do not include travel and accommodation costs.

Website and registration:


North West


Spatial Data Analysis, Geographical Information System (GIS), Geodemographics, Cluster analysis, Quantitative Software, ArcGIS, GIS, ESRIs, ArcGIS

Related publications and presentations:

Spatial Data Analysis
Geographical Information System (GIS)
Cluster analysis
Quantitative Software

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