Workshop: Geospatial Techniques for Social Scientists

Dr. Stefan Jünger (GESIS)

14./15. July 2022, Y213 and on Zoom

Introductory meeting in May, date and time to be announced, online


This course is open to all members of the Cluster “The Politics of Inequality”. Members of the GSBS and other members of Uni Konstanz can register and will be able to attend if places are available. Registration is necessary until 1 May 2022 here: methodshub@uni-konstanz.de.

As social scientists aiming to explore the fascinating world of geospatial data, we often must rely on specialized tools called Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to process, visualize, and analyze such data. Yet, using GIS can get complicated since only foreign and commercial software solutions were known to provide a comprehensive collection of available geospatial techniques until recently. In recent years, the software landscape has fortunately been changed a lot: nowadays, researchers and engineers can also use the statistical language R as a proper GIS. As R is a language with increased popularity in the social science community, this is excellent news for us. This course will teach its participants how to exploit R to apply its geospatial techniques in a social science context. We will learn about the most common data formats, their characteristics, and their applications. Most importantly, the course will present available data sources, get data, and process them for further analysis. These steps involve essential geospatial operations, such as cropping, aggregating, or linking data, and the first fundamental steps of modeling and assessing spatial interdependence. The course will be hands-on, so it also includes one of the most rewarding tasks of working with geospatial data: visualizing them through maps.

Prerequisites:

Participants should at least have some basic knowledge of R, its syntax and internal logic. Generally, it is helpful to have some sort of affinity for using script-based languages (R, Stata, Python) and wrangling of complex data structures.