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Demographics User Group Conference – Videos now available

On 7 October 2015 the CDRC sponsored and supported the 12th annual Demographics User Group Conference (DUG), hosted at the Royal Society.

The conference focussed upon “How can data analyses best be communicated to decision-makers? Visualising – Distilling – Influencing” and bought together people from DUG’s 15 member companies, with special attendees from guests in government and universities, to spread knowledge and stimulate new ideas.

The videos of each session are now available to watch online:

10.00     Chair’s Introduction

10.15       The Data Science of Visualising London’s Data
Dr James Cheshire, University College London

10.45       Visual approaches to data-driven narratives
Alan Smith, Data Visualisation Editor, the Financial Times

11.40       News from the ESRC’s Consumer Data Research Centre
– Introduction – Jane Elliott, Chief Executive, Economic and Social Research Council
– CDRC Retail Data Portal – Professor Alex Singleton, University of Liverpool
– Masters’ student projects and prizes – Guy Lansley (UCL) and Bruce Jackson (ESRC)

12.10      How good analysis and its presentation drives decisions at Boots
Mark Chivers, Director of Estates, Boots

14.00     Workshop: Communicating data analyses to decision-makers – Now What?
– Introduction – Iain Sterland, Head of Property Insight & Analysis, Sainsbury’s
– Summaries of views

15.40     From “data” to “information”: a user’s perspective
Dame Colette Bowe, non-executive board member of the UK Statistics Authority and the Chairman of the Banking Standards Board

16.10      Panel Session

17.00     Awards & Close



FT Article: Forget the big data hype – people want to know what it all means

Keith Dugmore, of the CDRC and Demographic User Group, commented on better use of data in commercial settings in a recent article in the Financial Times.

Keith talked about the shortage of “numerate graduates who have not only theoretical understanding, but also the aptitude to apply this to practical business problems”.

The CDRC is investing significant resources to develop data science capability and is providing opportunities for MSc students and graduates to work directly with industrial partners through our Big Data Internship and Masters Research Dissertation Programmes.

FT subscribers can view the full article on the FT website.

Find out more about the Demographic User Group online.


Oliver O’Brien features on BBC News online

On 7 October 2015, CDRC’s UCL researcher Oliver O’Brien featured on an article in the BBC News online.

Titled ‘London’s Underground Languages’ the article tracks the most common linguistic journeys across the Victoria Line, identifying a rich diversity of languages depending on the point of any given journey.

Oliver’s contribution included a map of Londoners that refer to French as their main language, with an explanation of some key trends, such as the emergence of a jetsetting French community scattered close to the Victoria line.

To access the article: http://bbc.in/1NjjWbW 

Follow Oliver O’Brien’s research blog http://oobrien.com/ or, for those with an interest in mapping, visit maps.cdrc.ac.uk.

Demographics User Group Conference 2015

On 7 October 2015 the CDRC sponsored and supported the 12th annual Demographics User Group Conference (DUG), hosted at the Royal Society.

The conference focussed upon “How can data analyses best be communicated to decision-makers? Visualising – Distilling – Influencing” and bought together people from DUG’s 15 member companies, with special attendees from guests in government and universities, to spread knowledge and stimulate new ideas.

This DUG conference was a memorable one for the CDRC; introduced by CEO of the Economic and Social Research Council, Professor Jane Elliot, it was used as a platform to launch the new data service.

Additionally, the winners of the Retail Masters Dissertations Programme 2015 were announed. Judged by Bruce Jackson (ESRC), Tim Rains and Chris Llyod, results were:
Clemens Zauchner, first place for his project with easyjet, titled “Identifying the main drivers of customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction by mining customer verbatim feedback”.

Further prize winners were Anastasia Ushakova (“Can we identify vulnerable energy customers in the UK using smart meter data?”, British Gas), Karlo Lugomer (“Relations between structure and performance of retail centres in England and Wales and demographics of their catchment areas.”, LDC) and Thomas Berry (Exploring the utility of the 2011 Work Place Statistics to help The Co-op better understand transient new store locations, worker flows and worker demographics”, The Cooperative).

For information on the 2016 Retail Masters Dissertation Programme, click here.

CEO of the Economic and Social Research Council, Professor Jane Elliott (l) alongside Deputy Director and Co-investigator of the CDRC, Alex Singleton.

Clemens Zauchner, first place prizewinner of the Retail Masters Dissertation Programme, pictured alongside Professor Jane Elliot during the students’ poster exhibition


CDRC Launch Data Service

The Consumer Data Research Centre (CDRC) launched its data services on Monday 5 October 2015, offering new data for researchers to garner unprecedented insights into consumer behaviour.

Whilst protecting privacy, data will – for the first time – be routinely collected and shared with the CDRC by major retailers, local government organisations and businesses across the UK to improve understanding of these complex patterns of consumer behaviour.

The aim is to use these findings to inform efforts to tackle a wide range of social and environmental challenges, such as improving transport planning, studying the latest ethical consumer trends to help companies understand how people are making buying decisions, or identifying different ways of encouraging people to lead more healthy and active lifestyles.

To maximise potential of research for the research community the CDRC have set up CDRC Open; data which are publicly available to all, for any purpose.

Examples of data include UK market research from the Ethical Consumer Research Association, which is the only comprehensive data set on the purchase of ethical products and services in the UK. There are also models representing retail catchment areas, which can show the most probable shopping destinations in communities.

Other tiers of data have restricted access based on the sensitivity of information, which include CDRC Safeguarded, a remote service, and CDRC Secure, which requires researchers to access the data at one of three secure facilities located in London, Liverpool and Leeds.

Professor Mark Birkin, Director of the CDRC at the University of Leeds, said: “We’re here to partner with policy-makers, organisations and businesses to analyse these huge data sets, as they contain really valuable information which can offer significant insights into our society. We’ve set up the centre to develop a professional, world-class service and resource, which offers incredibly high standards of secure data storage, access and analysis.”

Professor Paul Longley, Director of the CDRC at UCL, added: “We need to harness the potential of consumer-related data so we can support and guide policy-makers, service providers and commercial organisations. Insights drawn from these data sets mean they can implement new approaches, develop best practice and evaluate impact.”

The official launch of the CDRC data service will take place at the annual Demographics User Group Conference on 7 October 2015 and will be introduced by Professor Jane Elliot, Chief Executive and Deputy Chair of the ESRC. Sponsored by the CDRC this event will discuss how data analyses can best be communicated to decision makers across various disciplines.

Examples of current CDRC work and insights into consumer behaviour are:

a) maps.cdrc.ac.uk The CDRC has classified every neighbourhood in England according to how those who live there use the internet for consumer purposes. Key attributes to this Internet User Classification (IUC) include: education, employment, engagement with new innovations in information and communications technology and locally available broadband infrastructure. Associated data packs: http://data.cdrc.ac.uk/product/cdrc-2014-iuc-geodata-pack

b) The CDRC will host a new Strategic Network for Obesity, which brings together experts combined with different datasets to help organisations responsible for public health tackle unhealthy eating and activity patterns. These datasets include lifestyle and activity statistics, such as the number of gym memberships in an area or proximity to green space; consumer behaviour trends, such as retail data on food purchases; and health data, such as the annual Health Survey for England. The aim is to help identify different kinds of lifestyles, environments and behaviours that may increase the likelihood of becoming overweight or obese.

CDRC win big at BCS – SoC Conference 2015

The British Cartographic Society and the Society of Cartographers joined hands for the BCS-SoC Conference 2015, hosted in York, 8 September – 10 September.

The conference brings together map-makers, map users, and other enthusiasts to mix with delegates from commercial, academic and government organisations who share a common interest in using and promoting maps as a valuable means of communication.

As part of the evening the BCS hosted a prestigious awards ceremony to honour work in this area, and CDRC staff performed outstandingly. Dr James Cheshire, Deputy Director & Co-Investigator of CDRC UCL, and Oliver O’Brien, Researcher at CDRC UCL, won the following:

Oliver O’Brien – Avenza Award for Electronic Mapping for Datashine. Oliver was also highly commended in the Google Award for Mapping the General Election

Dr James Cheshire – London: The Information Capital (book, of which James is co-author) won the The Stanfords Award for Printed Mapping, The John C. Bartholomew Award for Thematic Mapping and the top prize, The BCS Award.

A blog post by Oliver O’Brien, detailing first-hand the conference and ceremony, can be accessed here.

E-Resilience of UK retail centres

The 22nd International Conference on Recent Advances in Retailing and Consumer Services Science was held on July 27-30 at Montreal, Canada.

CRDC’s Research Associate, Les Dolega, presented at the event on the ‘E-Resilience of UK retail centres’.

The talk was received well by all participants. To access the presentation click on ‘E-Resilience’.

CDRC Director delivers a keynote talk at DATA 2015

CDRC’s UCL Director Professor Paul Longley was invited to participate in the 4th International Conference on Data Management Technologies and Applications (DATA 2015) as a key note speaker.

The event, hosted from 20-22 July in Colmar, France, bought together researchers, engineers and practitioners interested in various aspects of data and information systems and technology​.

Paul’s keynote talk focused upon ‘The Provenance of Consumer and Social Media Data’.

CDRC in the news

On Thursday 23 July 2015 Deputy Director of the Consumer Data Research Centre, Dr James Cheshire, was invited to the Sky News studio to be interviewed live on the channel’s flagship evening programme Sky News Tonight.

His expertise was required to discuss the novel methods – such as horse-drawn sledges, barges and local trekkers – Google have deployed to bring Street View to the more inaccessible parts of the world.  James was also asked to comment on the value and utility of so-called “traditional” printed maps in an era of digital mapping.

Full interview of Dr James Cheshire

Link to Google Street Story Dr Cheshire was discussing

Launch of the Leeds Institute for Data Analytics

A new institute set up to help public and private sector organisations meet the challenges and opportunities of the Big Data revolution opened its doors on Friday 10 July.

The Leeds Institute for Data Analytics (LIDA) is home to two centres of research, the  ESRC Consumer Data Research Centre (Leeds) and the MRC Centre for Medical Bioinformatics.  The Institute offers state-of-the-art facilities in data analytics and will partner with researchers and organisations to help them make the most of the rapidly growing fields of consumer and medical data analysis.

Cllr James Lewis, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Strategy and Resources at Leeds City Council, said: “Cities around the world are benefitting from new ways to capture, analyse and process data. Valuable real-world applications of this range from the intelligent routing of vehicles and design of energy efficient communities to optimising the provision of health and social care services.

“This is a key priority for the city as Leeds aims to maintain its position at the forefront of the Smart Cities revolution. We are recognised as a Pioneer in our approach to health and social care, and we lead the field in developing a single integrated social care record. The LIDA provides a unique opportunity for the city to bring together existing expertise and data from across a range of organisations to solve real problems for people and communities.

“Our partnership with the University is an important relationship for us – we congratulate the team on bringing this fantastic asset to fruition and look forward to working with it to secure a real and lasting impact in promoting a thriving third sector, vibrant economy and healthy communities.”

Sir Alan Langlands, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds, added: “LIDA brings together applied research groups and data scientists from mathematics and computer science, opening up new opportunities to understand health and human behaviour and to inform the action required to tackle a wide range of social and environmental problems.

“The new facilities are purpose built for handling data securely. Our researchers are highly trained to operate safe systems for managing and linking data and to observe the highest international standards of governance, professional practice and public engagement.”

For further information, please contact lida@leeds.ac.uk