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Challenges to representing the population from new forms of consumer data

Lansley, G; Cheshire, J; (2018) Challenges to representing the population from new forms of consumer data. Geography Compass , 12 (7) , Article e12374. 10.1111/gec3.12374. Green open access

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Abstract

A large share of human activity is now routinely captured and stored by commercial organisations as consumer data. These new forms of data have provided many new and exciting opportunities for understanding population trends at fine spatial scales. In many settings, they have reduced our dependence on theory and traditional modelling approaches and fundamentally changed how geographers approach producing representations of the population. However, consumer data are typically created for commercial benefit and do not have academic standard data quality controls, and so, in repurposing the data for social research, we encounter inherent issues of veracity. Without an understanding of uncertainty, social scientists can risk overstretching consumer datasets beyond the specific populations or phenomena they directly pertain to. Moreover, the technical characteristics of large and complex datasets also make it challenging to generate valid information efficiently. Therefore, this paper reviews the major challenges to harnessing consumer data to produce valid spatial representations of the population at large.

Type: Article
Title: Challenges to representing the population from new forms of consumer data
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/gec3.12374
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/gec3.12374
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Geography Compass Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Geography
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10049368
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