Urban Big Data Centre

UBDC was established in 2014. In its first phase - up to January 2019 - it was funded by the ESRC as part of the UK’s national data infrastructure, focusing on developing big data resources and urban analytics methods for a wide range of potential applications and users, including place-based approaches in Education.

UBDC aims in this phase were to promote the use of big data and innovative methods to improve social, economic and environmental well-being in cities.

It has delivered analyses which have had demonstrable impacts on public policy, society and industry, by undertaking world-leading inter-disciplinary research in the social sciences and other disciplines, and also by working closely with partners from government, industry and the third sector. UBDC has also worked to enhance the quality of urban big data and methods for urban analytics to support the work of others, and provides critical analysis of the value of these for understanding urban conditions

In the field of Education, its focus is upon place-based approaches to exploring educational disadvantage. The most significant research project in this phase of UBDC was the Integrated Multimedia City Data (iMCD), a multi-strand data infrastructure involving detailed person-level self-reported and sensed information, with additional Internet, remote sensing, crowdsourced and environmental data sources that measure the social, economic and physical context of the wider metro area. This included a multi-topic household and person-level survey; travel and activity diaries; a privacy and personal device sensitivity survey; a rich set of GPS trajectory data; accelerometer, light intensity and other personal environment sensor data from wearable devices; an image data collection at approximately 7-second resolution of participants daily lives; multiple forms of text-based and multimedia Internet data; Very High Resolution satellite and LiDAR data, and data from transport, weather and air quality sensors.

PI and Co-Is - International Collaborators

Project Lead of IMCD: Piyushimita (Vonu) Thakuriah
University of Glasgow, School of Education Researchers: Michael Osborne and Catherine Lido

Other Researchers: Gwilym PryceZhenhong LiJinhyun HongMark LivingstonIadh OunisJoemon JoseCraig Macdonald,  (School of Education), Katarzina Sila-Nowicka
Soumyadeb Chowdhury, Md Sadek Ferdous, Nut Limsopatham

Start and End Date

1 Feb 2014 to 31 Jan 2019

Related Publications

The following are publications in the field of Education only

Lido, C. , Reid, K. and Osborne, M. (2019) Lifewide Learning in the City: Novel big data approaches to exploring learning with large-scale surveys, GPS & social media. Oxford Review of Education,(Accepted for Publication)

Osborne, M. , Houston, M. and Lido, C.(2018) The role of big data in elucidating learning cities ancient, present and future. In: Stenger, J. R. (ed.) Learning Cities in Late Antiquity: the Local Dimension of Education. Routledge: London ; New York, pp. 24-46. ISBN 9781138299870

Lido, C., Reid, K and Osborne, M. (2018) PASCAL Briefing Paper 11 - Big Data, Lifelong Learning and Learning Cities: Promoting city-discourse on social inequalities in learning. http://pobs.cc/1iwpa (Available in English, Korean and Mandarin)

Lido, C. , Osborne, M. , Livingston, M.Sila-Nowicka, K. and Thakuriah, P. (2018) 'Big Data' techniques to improve learning access and citizen engagement for adults in urban environments. In: Scott, L., Watson, C. and Wu, A.T. (eds.) Quality of Life in Adult Learning. Series: Adult learning in professional, organizational, and community settings. Information Age Publishing, Inc.: Charlotte, NC. (In Press)

Lido, C. , Osborne, M. , Livingston, M.Thakuriah, P. and Sila-Nowicka, K. (2016)Older learning engagement in the modern city. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 35(5), pp. 490-508.(doi:10.1080/02601370.2016.1224037)

Osborne, M. and Lido, C. (2016) Big Data Techniques to Improve Learning Access and Citizen Engagement for Adults in Urban Environments. In: International Conference of Taipei Learning City, Taipei, Taiwan, Nov 2016,

Osborne, M. and Lido, C. (2015) Lifelong learning and big data. In: Gartenschlaeger, U. and Hirsch, E. (eds.)Adult Education in an Interconnected World: Cooperation in Lifelong Learning for Sustainable Development. Series: International perspectives in adult education (71). DVV International: Bonn, pp. 116-125. ISBN 9783942755238

Project News

A team of psychologists in the School of Education at the University of Glasgow have used Urban Big Data Centre data from the integrated Multimedia City Data Project (iMCD) to analyse and visualise literacy inequalities in Glasgow. Dr Kate Reid - working with fellow Psychologist Dr Catherine Lido and student interns Michaella Drummond and Stefi Hahn - has undertaken research in the area of ‘Lifewide Literacies’ (e.g. health, environmental, financial and digital literacies). In this blog, she explains the process of using art and design to make research with big data accessible to new audiences…and fun!

See Adventures in design and data - how good design took big data to IKEA for more detail

Associated Websites