Dr Alasdair Rae: From data to wisdom? Spatial data visualisation as a policy tool

Wednesday 4 February 2015
5:15pm - 7:15pm
Yudowitz Seminar Room, Wolfson Medical School Building, University of Glasgow, G12 8QQ

Dr Alasdair Rae, University of Sheffield, will speak at this joint event with the Sustainability Network.

Dr Rae's work focuses on the current vogue for big data visualisation and its potential usefulness as a tool to guide, inform and promote public policy. We now have more data than ever before, more powerful tools with which to analyse it, and the means for low cost mass communication of the results. Data champions would argue that this situation should lead to better understanding of policy problems and potentially better outcomes. Critics argue that it's all just fancy graphics and data nerds having fun. The truth is probably somewhere in between but before we make our minds up it's worth critically examining the issue.

In this presentation, Dr Rae focuses on the much-cited links between data, knowledge, information and wisdom as a way to frame the debate. The objective is to provoke critical thinking on the ways in which 'big data' visualisation is currently used in an urban context and how we might do it better. This is approached from a visual perspective, using my work and that of other spatial data visualisation experts. There will be lots of maps – good and bad. Although the focus is mainly on spatial data, the conclusions should resonate more widely with anyone involved in the analysis and visualisation of large datasets.


5:15pm – 5:20pm Welcome and Introductions (Sustainability Network, Prof Scott)

5:20pm – 5:30pm UBDC Overview (UBDC Director, Prof Thakuriah)

5:30pm – 5:45pm UBDC Big Data Visualisation Demonstration (UBDC IT Team)

5:45pm – 6:30pm Dr Alasdair Rae: From data to wisdom? Spatial data visualisation as a policy tool

6:30pm – 6:45pm Q&A

6:45pm – 7:15pm Drinks reception