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Unit information: Geographic Data Science in 2020/21

Unit name Geographic Data Science
Unit code GEOG30021
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Wolf
Open unit status Not open

GEOG25010 Spatial Modelling 2



School/department School of Geographical Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science


This unit aims to provide students with an understanding of the methods, techniques, concepts, and theoretical-conceptual grounding for modern data science topics. The unit is structured as a methods survey unit, involving instruction in the concepts & theories behind geographical research in data science, as well as its applications in spatial supervised & unsupervised learning methods. The unit will cover three topics selected based on student interest including, but not limited to: (1) multilevel regression models; (2) spatial regression models; (3) local regression models; (4) generalised linear models; (5) spatial anomaly detection; (6) spatial clustering and regionalisation.

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this Unit students will be able to:

  1. Explain how spatial thinking is incorporated or embedded in a given spatial data scientific method or approach;
  2. Estimate or run the methods covered in the course using R;
  3. Understand and explain the substantive results of the methods in both technical and non-technical terms, either in writing and in presentation.

The following transferable skills are developed in this Unit:

  • Numeracy, computer and problem solving;
  • Analytical and quantitative skills and project management;
  • Written and verbal communication

Teaching details

The unit will be taught through a blended combination of online and, if possible, in-person teaching, including

  • online resources
  • synchronous group workshops, seminars, tutorials and/or office hours
  • asynchronous individual activities and guided reading for students to work through at their own pace
  • computer practical work; students who either begin or continue their studies in an online mode may be required to complete practical work, or alternative activities, in person, either during the academic year 2020/21 or subsequently, in order to meet the intended learning outcomes for the unit, prepare them for subsequent units or to satisfy accreditation requirements

Assessment Details

Coursework (60%) - ongoing practical assignments marked on best 3 out of 4. Practicals will be held regularly, and accumulated material will be submitted for assessment every 2 weeks. [ILOs 1-3]

Take-home assessment (40%) - Over a 72-hour period, students will undertake a short analysis project using one method covered in the course. The example analysis will take the form of a journal article, report, or engineering blog post and will have a maximum length of 1200 words, not including bibliography or technical annexes. [ILOs 1-3]

Reading and References

The reading will focus on selections from books, two articles, as well as course notes written by the tutor. The following resources are an example of the material that will be covered in reading throughout the course:

  • Baumer, B., D. Kaplan, & N. Horton.(2017) Modern Data Science with R, first edition. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL.
  • Hastie, T., R. Tibshirani, & J. Friedman. (2009) Elements of Statistical Learning: Data Mining, Inference, and Prediction. 2nd edition. Springer-Verlag, New York, NY.
  • Gelman, A., & Hill, J. (2009) Data Analysis using Multilevel & Hierarchical Models. Cambridge University Press.
  • Jones, K & Duncan, C. (2001) 'Using multilevel models to model heterogeneity: potential and pitfalls', Geographical Analysis, 32, (pp. 279-305) ISSN: 0016-736
  • Jones, K. (2011) 'An introduction to statistical modelling', in Somekh,B Lewin,C (Eds.), Research methods in the social sciences, (pp. 236-250), Sage, 2011. ISBN: 0761944028
  • LeSage, J. & R. K. Pace. (2009) Introduction to Spatial Econometrics. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL.