‘Mapping the Space of Flows’: the geography of the London Mega-City Region

I’m pleased to be able to post here the penultimate version of an article that Duncan Smith and I recently had accepted to Regional Studies. In this article we look at ways of combining ‘big data’ from a telecoms network with standard BRES employment data to generate a more nuanced understanding of where ‘work’ happens in the Greater Southeast of England across several key sectors. Continue reading

Big Data’s Little Secrets (Part 2)

In my previous post I looked at some of the issues affecting the extent to which ‘big data’ gives a reliable picture of the world around us. In this post I want to take you through one of the least sexy—but most important—parts: the data itself. My point, again, is not to suggest that big data is fatally flawed, but to call into question some of the easy assumptions upon which we rely when working with this type of data, and the universality of the conclusions that we can draw from this type of research.

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Big Data’s Little Secrets (Part 1)

The term ‘big data’ has been getting a lot of attention recently, some of it very complimentary (see ‘The End of Theory‘), and some of it not so much (see Mark Birkin’s report on a recent AAG session). On one level this is very exciting for me since much of my work with travel and communications data falls loosely under this rubric. But when big data sets are promoted as ‘the answer’ to everything from the next Census to deriving universal laws of human behaviour, it is also time for us to look a little more closely at what big data can actually deliver. Continue reading

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