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This is an archived project – CamGIS is no longer running.

CamGIS was a project to provide support to GIS-related research and teaching at the University of Cambridge.


CamGIS has particular interests in the social sciences and related fields using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) technology and the methods of spatial data analysis.

GIS have become extremely important platforms for undertaking a range of social science research as well as research at the interface between social and environmental systems. GIS have also become important tools in policy related work in areas such as health care delivery and policing services. When used in conjunction with the methods of spatial data analysis, GIS provide the means to provide powerful visualizations of geographically referenced data and to extract useful information from such data.

CamGIS aims to increase GIS awareness and facilitate social science related research using GIS across the university. CamGIS is keen to undertake collaborative research within the University and with other academic institutions both in the UK and elsewhere. CamGIS is keen to work collaboratively with non-academic partners in order to assist them in adding value to their geographically referenced data.


  • To undertake basic research on the problems of small area analysis. This will involve developing and assessing methodologies for the analysis of such data that recognizes both the statistical problems inherent in analyzing small area data sets and the geographical issues raised by small areas such as postcode areas and output areas. The application focus for this work will be health data and crime data.
  • To undertake applied research in collaboration with regional partners in the fields of health data and crime data analysis.
  • To undertake research using spatial data for local, regional, national (e.g. UK government, research councils) and international (e.g. EU) agencies.
  • To contribute to wider GIS related activities in the Department of Geography and other departments at Cambridge University, and in particular geographic information science teaching at the undergraduate level and the Masters degree level.
  • To provide advice and where possible support to PhD level research in the University of Cambridge.

Areas of research interest

The research interests and activities of CamGIS fall into three broad categories: Data Integration, Methodology and Applications. The following list shows some of the projects that were carried out sometimes in collaboration with partners from outside CamGIS.

Data integration

CamGIS has research strengths in the integration of data sets for research. A fundamental underpining to many applications is the scoping of relevant data sets. CamGIS can assist with this process and also with the process of linking secondary data sets that may have been collected using different geographical frameworks.


GIS based research requiring the analysis of spatially referenced data raises a number of distinctive methodological problems. CamGIS is well placed to incorporate methodological research that is critical to the careful analysis of geographical data. We have access to state-of-the-art analytical software and members of the centre have also been closely associated with the development of interactive software that can be used to visualize, explore and analyse area data in GIS, such as ARC/INFO, ArcGIS and ArcView.


We have particular research interests in health services research and crime analysis. GIS allows the bringing together of crime and/or health data with socio-economic data from the census and other types of data (such as environmental data) in order to analyse health and crime patterns. This then allows exploration of questions such as health service provision in relation to accessibility, the prevalence of disease with respect to risk factors, incidence of crime in relation to social and economic conditions and the identification of clusters of disease or crime.


The Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, offers undergraduate-level projects and papers with a GIS element in all three years. Members of CamGIS are involved in teaching some of the modules on these courses of study.

Part IA:
Skills module: Analysing spatial data
Part IB
Geography and Public Policy (containing 4 lectures and 3 practicals relating to GIS)
Part II:
Geographical Information Science: Applications in the study of disease and crime (not currently offered)


CamGIS benefits from a dedicated teaching laboratory in the Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, which houses a wide range of computing hardware and software dedicated to the capture, processing, printing and archiving of image and non-image datasets. Available hardware includes a dedicated network of high-specification PCs, UNIX workstations, a TDS large format digitising tablet, an A3 high resolution colour scanner, several colour printers, and assorted CD-ROM, DAT, and input/output devices. Software supported includes ArcGIS, ArcView, Arc/Info, ArcIMS, MapInfo, ERDAS Imagine, S+, SPSS, MATLAB, Mapviewer, SpaceStat, and Minitab.