Finding and investigating geographical data online

David Martin, Samantha Cockings, Samuel Leung

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


In this chapter we present key concepts relating to geographically referenced data in social science research. We describe how such data are collected, how they can be found online, mapped and analysed. We explain how geographical information systems (GIS) are relevant, and guide readers who wish to find out more about GIS to relevant introductory sources. Our discussion of the emergence of online tools for geographical data is subdivided into: Data sources (e.g. Neighbourhood Statistics Service, American Factfinder); Geographical linkage (directories, lookups, e.g. GeoConvert); Mapping (both online, using virtual globes and mapping sites, and offline using data from the Internet); and more specialist spatial analysis tools.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Sage handbook of Online Research Methods
EditorsNigel Fielding, Raymond M. Lee, Grant Blank
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherSAGE Publications Inc.
ISBN (Print)978-1473918788
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2017


  • geographical information system
  • GIS
  • spatial data
  • open data
  • census
  • administrative data
  • map projections
  • scale
  • spatial accuracy
  • precision
  • address referencing


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