The MRes course I direct, the ASAV (Advanced Spatial Analysis and Visualisation) has undergone some changes and emerged, butterfly-like, as the MRes in Spatial Data Science and Visualisation. Ta-da!
The first thing to say is that the visualisation component is not any smaller. It was important to me that the course maintained the balance it has between science, social science and creativity. There is a lot of technical material on the course, but we’ve changed the structure in the first term so that students take modules on GIS (digital mapping and spatial analysis), quantitative methods (mathematical approaches to the world), and introductory coding (programming for visualisation and drawing) – and in doing so learn bits of Processing, R and Python. This isn’t to put off the designers, architects and geographers that study the course every year – rather, it’s to make sure they have the same skills as the people coming in from GIS, computer science or software development, and go into the second term with everything they need to do great technical work.
The other big change is that our students will no longer study spatial simulation – mathematical modelling of spatial systems – but instead will take a more data-driven approach. Data science for spatial systems will teach students how to work with larger datasets in databases and how to structure, query and analyse them. This will tie into the visualisation work as they understand and communicate large and complex data.
Finally, the dissertation is now assessed by a report and a paper – which means that research-minded students can work with supervisors to submit their work to journals and conferences all the more easily.
I’m excited about this new setup, and if it appeals to you, you can find more information on our course website, ask me about it, or apply here before July 31st if you want to start in September 2015. See you there!