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Data and Statistics for Social Sciences: Geospatial data analysis and Visualisation tools

Geospatial data analysis


A geographic information system that can be used by anyone working with geospatial data or in fact any statistical information that includes geographical variables such as location, elevation, population density and so on. If the information being used features a geographical representation of the world as part of the mix then ArcGIS should be of interest.
Use ArcGIS to:

  • View maps/mapped information as part of analysis;
  • Compile geographic data;
  • Build and edit maps to help analysis or visualisation;
  • Amend properties and fields in geospatial databases and generally manage such information;
  • Develop projects that draw on the large user base and functionality this package has built up.

It can be used with any geo-spatial data such as the Landscan population database.

ArcGIS Desktop is available on library computers in the Social Science Library (can be found in the all programs menu).


Can be used to work with Google Earth files: create documents from KML (Keyhole Markup Language) or KMZ files (zipped KML files), which will start Google Earth and fly you to a specified location. Google earth functionality is thus enabled from within ATLAS.ti.

MapInfo MapInfo

A geographic information system (GIS) popular among entry-level users due to its low cost and ease of use. GIS is software that is designed to store, query, analyse, process, and visualise spatial data. Offered on a 30-day free trial.

Geospatial Analysis online

This free online resource introduces concepts, methods and tools, provides many examples using a variety of software tools such as ArcGIS, etc. to clarify the concepts discussed. It aims to be comprehensive (but not necessarily exhaustive) in terms of concepts and techniques, representative and independent in terms of software tools, and above all practical in terms of application and implementation.

Data visualisation tools


This free and open source 3D creation suite supports the entirety of the 3D pipeline — modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing and motion tracking, in the context of research data in particular.
The suite is free to download from the website.
ITLC offers either a face-to-face, or online courses: go to LinkedIn Learning through Webauth using your single sign-on.
An overview course on 3D modelling taught by ITLC uses SketchUp, Blender and image manipulation software.


An online data-visualisation tool for making interactive charts which are responsive and embeddable in a website.


A cross-platform, free and open-source desktop geographic information system (GIS) application.
Online course through LinkedIn Learning.

R and Shiny

R is a tool used for data analysis and visualisation.
Using the free Shiny package, these analyses and visualisations can be published as interactive webpages just using R.
'R and Shiny' are available as both face-to-face and online courses.

Tableau Public

An easy to use, free and powerful tool for creating interactive dashboards and data visualisations that can be shared publiclly and embedded in your personal site.
Check out a face-to-face course offered by the ITLC.