Thinking Big Data in Geography


Thinking Big Data in Geography

New Regimes, New Research

Edited and with an introduction by Jim Thatcher, Josef Eckert, and Andrew Shears

324 pages
1 photo, 4 illustrations, 15 maps, 6 tables, 3 charts, 6 graphs, index


April 2018


$75.00 Add to Cart

April 2018


$30.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

April 2018


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eBook (EPUB)
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April 2018


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About the Book

Thinking Big Data in Geography offers a practical state-of-the-field overview of big data as both a means and an object of research, with essays from prominent and emerging scholars such as Rob Kitchin, Renee Sieber, and Mark Graham. Part 1 explores how the advent of geoweb technologies and big data sets has influenced some of geography’s major subdisciplines: urban politics and political economy, human-environment interactions, and geographic information sciences. Part 2 addresses how the geographic study of big data has implications for other disciplinary fields, notably the digital humanities and the study of social justice. The volume concludes with theoretical applications of the geoweb and big data as they pertain to society as a whole, examining the ways in which user-generated data come into the world and are complicit in its unfolding. The contributors raise caution regarding the use of spatial big data, citing issues of accuracy, surveillance, and privacy.

Author Bio

Jim Thatcher is an assistant professor of geography at the University of Washington Tacoma. Josef Eckert is an academic advisor for the Master of Library and Information Science program at the University of Washington. Andrew Shears is an assistant professor of geography at Mansfield University.


"In recent years, big data has been frequently touted as the new reality in research, business, and nearly everything else. This work examines the promise and realities of big data specifically as it relates to geographically referenced information."—J. Cummings, Choice

“The drumbeat of ‘big data’ is reorganizing everyday life, for some. This important collection takes the pulse of this hype from the perspective of the discipline of geography, pursuing questions that highlight the peculiarities of this location-based, techno-cultural moment.”—Matthew W. Wilson, associate professor of geography at the University of Kentucky

“This collection is a key step along the road from hyperbole to engagement with regard to the significance and impacts of big spatial data. It offers key insights into big spatial data as both means and object of researcher, tracing the socio-spatial and epistemological possibilities and limits of this dynamic phenomenon.”—Sarah Elwood, professor of geography at the University of Washington

Thinking Big Data in Geography delivers vital theoretical and empirical perspectives on the problems and possibilities of spatialized data in both extraordinary circumstances and everyday life.”—Craig Dalton, assistant professor of global studies and geography at Hofstra University

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations    
List of Tables    
Jim Thatcher, Andrew Shears, and Josef Eckert
Part 1. What Is Big Data and What Does It Mean to Study It?
1. Toward Critical Data Studies: Charting and Unpacking Data Assemblages and Their Work    
Rob Kitchin and Tracey P. Lauriault
2. Big Data: Why (Oh Why?) This Computational Social Science?    
David O’Sullivan
Part 2. Methods and Praxis in Big Data Research
3. Smaller and Slower Data in an Era of Big Data    
Renee Sieber and Matthew Tenney
4. Reflexivity, Positionality, and Rigor in the Context of Big Data Research    
Britta Ricker
Part 3. Empirical Interventions
5. A Hybrid Approach to Geotweets: Reading and Mapping Tweet Contexts on Marijuana Legalization and Same-Sex Marriage in Seattle, Washington    
Jin-Kyu Jung and Jungyeop Shin
6. Geosocial Footprints and Geoprivacy Concerns    
Christopher D. Weidemann, Jennifer N. Swift, and Karen K. Kemp
7. Foursquare in the City of Fountains: Using Kansas City as a Case Study for Combining Demographic and Social Media Data    
Emily Fekete
Part 4. Urban Big Data: Urban-Centric and Uneven
8. Big City, Big Data: Four Vignettes    
Jessa Lingel
9. Framing Digital Exclusion in Technologically Mediated Urban Spaces         
Matthew Kelley
Part 5. Talking across Borders
10. Bringing the Big Data of Climate Change Down to Human Scale: Citizen Sensors and Personalized Visualizations in Climate Communication    
David Retchless
11. Synergizing Geoweb and Digital Humanitarian Research    
Ryan Burns
Part 6. Conclusions
12. Rethinking the Geoweb and Big Data: Future Research Directions    
Mark Graham
List of Contributors    

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