PhD studentship at University College London with Ordnance Survey

University College London

Funding Details:

This four-years scholarship covers UCL student fees at the Home/EU rate and provides a stipend of £16,553 per annum tax free. Travel expenses and research equipment will be provided.

Project Description:

UCL Department of Geography and the Ordnance Survey (OS) are inviting applications for a PhD studentship to explore the internal systematic biases in crowd-sourced geographic information datasets. There has been a rapid increase in information gathered by people who are using connected devices to collect and share geographic information. There is a vast array of projects and activities that use this type of information. It can be hypothesised that some of the characteristics of crowd-sourced geographic information will be systematically biased.

Crowd-sourced datasets will have some systematic biases that repeat across crowd-sourcing platforms (e.g. the impact of population density and business activity on the places where data is available or seasonal bias of the temporal period of data collection). Others biases might be project-specific – e.g. projects which attract more young men and places that are of interest to them. One of the major obstacles in the use of such data sources is understanding systematic and project-level biases and  developing statistical methods to evaluate their impact. The aim of this research project, is to create a large collection of crowd-sourced GPS tracks and pedestrian trajectories, and use conflation techniques and advanced analytics to develop methodologies to identify and estimate biases. Subsequently the aim will be to identify hidden characteristics to be more confident about the patterns that are being observed.

Studentship Description

The studentship provides an opportunity for a student to work with OS on understanding the use of crowd-sourced geographic information. Ordnance Survey is an active partner in its sponsored research and offers students opportunities to work on-site and to contribute to workshops and innovation within the business. In addition, the student will be part of the Extreme Citizen Science group at UCL, which is one of the leading research groups in the area of crowdsourced geographic information and the study thereof.

The project will run for four years and will be supervised by Prof Muki Haklay from UCL and Jeremy Morley from Ordnance Survey

Person Specification

Applicants should possess a strong bachelor’s degree (1st Class or 2:1 minimum) or Masters degree in Computer Science, Spatial statistics, Ecology, Geomatics, Geographic Information Science or a related discipline. Desirable skills include database development, programming and analytical skills to assess biases and develop algorithms for their identification. Candidates will ideally have some previous research experience and excellent communication and presentation skills.


Applications are invited from UK and EU citizens residing in UK and meeting EPSRC eligibility and residency requirements found here:

Application Procedure

Applicants should apply with e-mail sent to Judy Barrett ( and Prof Haklay (which includes which includes:

  1. Cover letter with personal statement explaining interest in the project.
  2. Examples of academic writing and outputs from past work.
  3. Academic transcripts
  4. CV
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