Introduction to Spatial Data & Using R as a GIS, London, 13th March

Date: Friday 13th March 2020 @ 9.50am – 4.30pm

Venue: University of Liverpool (London campus), 33 Finsbury Square, London, EC2A 1AG, 

This is a training and capacity building event organised by the Consumer Data Research Centre (CDRC) in conjunction with the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM), ESRC funded research projects.

In this one-day course we will explore how to use R to import, manage and process spatial data. We will also cover the process of making choropleth maps, as well as some basic spatial analysis. Finally, we will cover the use of loops to make multiple maps quickly and easily, one of the major benefits of using a scripting language to make maps, rather than traditional graphic point-and-click interface.

Course Contents

  • Using R to import, manage and process spatial data
  • Design and creation of choropleth maps
  • Basic spatial analysis
  • Working with loops in R to create multiple maps

Learning Outcomes

  • Use R to read in CSV data & spatial data
  • Know how to plot spatial data using R
  • Join spatial data to attribute data
  • Customise colour and classification methods
  • Understand how to use loops to make multiple maps
  • Know how to reproject spatial data
  • Be able to perform point in polygon operations
  • Know how to write shapefiles

Course Tutor

Dr Nick Bearman completed his PhD in GIS at the University of East Anglia in 2011 and has since worked in both the public and private sectors, using GIS on a wide variety of projects and helping others develop their GIS skills. He has held post-doc positions at the Universities of Exeter and Liverpool, where he used ArcGIS, QGIS and R on a regular basis to perform GIS analysis in a variety of projects. He is now working at the CDRC as Data Services Manager as well as lecturing in Geography at UCL. 

Nick is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, a Chartered Geographer (GIS) and an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Authority, with a range of teaching experience including undergraduate, post-graduate and continuing professional development. Nick has over 9 years professional experience teaching GIS and has been using GIS since his undergraduate degree in 2005. He has worked with ArcGIS, QGIS, R, GeoDa, Google Maps API, Python and a variety of desktop and web-based programming languages.

Target Audience

This course is ideal for anyone who wishes to use spatial data in their role. This includes government & other public sector researchers who have data with some spatial information (e.g. address, postcode, etc.) which they wish to show on a map. This course is also suitable for those who wish to have an overview of what spatial data can be used for.

No previous experience of spatial data or coding is required, although participants would benefit from some experience of using spatial data (e.g. Google Maps).

Outline of the day

09:50 – 10:00am          Registration & refreshments

10:00 – 10:45am          What is GIS & R?

10:45 – 11:30am          Practical 1 Intro to GIS & R

11:30 – 11:50am          Classification

11:50am – 12:30pm     Practical 1 Intro to GIS & R cont

12:30 – 1:30pm            Lunch

1:30 – 1:50pm              Recap and Making Maps

1:50 – 3:00pm              Practical 2 Analysis

3:00 – 3:15pm              Tea/Coffee

3:15 – 4:00/4:30pm    Practical 3 Bring your own data


£70 – UK registered students  
£120 – staff at UK academic institutions and research centres, UK-registered charity and voluntary organisations, staff in public sector and government
£300 – all other participants including staff from commercial organisations


Further information

‘Please Note: This session will not be affected by the UCU strike’

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

Numbers on the course are limited and allocated on a first come, first served basis.

For further information about the course, please email ke.coordinator@sbs.ox.ac.uk