Featured module: Big data and spatial analytics

Big data is playing an increasing role in all our lives. A recent article by Forbes reported that in just one minute 16 million text messages are sent globally, while 5 billion internet searches are made each day.

Geographers and other social science researchers are using big data to understand and help solve some of the most pressing social and environmental challenge of the day. In the geography department at Plymouth we are involved in researching big data to map population distribution, environmental change and biodiversity loss.

This module provides an overview, and facilitates practice of advanced spatial and non-spatial data analytical skills. Themes and practice around the acquisition, processing, analysis and application of big data are introduced. Example applications are drawn from across the natural and social sciences relevant to geography and environment and include natural hazards, population change, environmental monitoring and protection and social media data mining.

With support, students will develop their own independent project portfolios and gain key relevant skills for the workplace or further study (eg GIS, programming for data manipulation, project design and management).

Assessment: 100% coursework

Topics covered:

  • develop programming skills to automate tasks
  • gain confidence in handling large, complex datasets
  • utilise open source platforms (e.g. R and QGIS)
  • unlock the power of data insights for research and application
  • develop advanced skills for graduate programme entry or further study.

The Science of Where - Unlock Data’s Full Potential

Watch this YouTube video about geography and the power of data (ESRI).