Map making and spatial analysis for social researchers


One day, Foundation level. London. Price for SRA members: £202.50

*Prices for 2019 courses have increased to £270 per day; SRA members receive a 25% discount, paying £202.50

*Delegates will need their own laptop to complete the exercises. Please see software note below*

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Maps are more than just navigational tools. Almost all aspects of our lives can be mapped and analysed. Maps of air pollution, cars per household, education, ethnicity, greenspace, religion, disease, life expectancy, even the number and location of take-away outlets can help us gain insight into the spatial nature of our world.

This course will equip you with the skills you need to produce your own thematic maps, and the knowledge you need to analyse and interpret them. The majority of the day will be practical, and delegates will need their own laptop to complete the exercises.

Delegates will need to install QGIS (version 3.4) on their own laptop to complete the exercises. QGIS is free to download and use for any purpose, and is a widely used, professional, GIS suite. Full instructions will be provided before the course.


The objectives of the course are:

  • • To produce a thematic map, by:
    > Obtaining spatial data,
    > Obtaining suitable thematic data,
    > Spatially ‘joining’ the data, and
  • • Plotting the data using appropriate software
  • • To analyse and interpret thematic maps
  • • To be able to explain relationships between area and themes


  • • Spatial data (e.g. shapefiles, GeoJSON)
  • • Thematic data (points (e.g. business locations); aggregate (e.g. population))
  • • ‘Joining’ these data
  • • Projections and coordinate reference systems (CRS)
  • • QGIS (a mature, open-source GIS that we will use for plotting)
  • • Identifying, understanding, and describing spatial patterns
  • • Exporting maps for reports or publications

Who will benefit?

The course will be of relevance to academics, students, researchers, analysts, policy makers, commissioners, and

managers who want to understand the spatial nature of social themes and issues. You might already have some data that you want to map, and just want to learn to do that, or you might want to complement your existing data and analyses with additional (spatial) evidence.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the workshop, participants will be able to:

  • • Obtain spatial data
  • • Obtain and format suitable thematic data
  • • Spatially ‘join’ the data
  • • Plot the data using appropriate GIS software
  • • Export plots for publication
  • • Analyse and interpret thematic maps
  • • Explain relationships between area and themes

Course tutor

Dr Phil Mike Jones is a geographer. He holds a PhD in human geography from the University of Sheffield. He specialises in spatial analysis and GIS, and has written software for spatial analysis and spatial simulation. He has extensive experience of social research, especially quantitative methods, in a variety of sectors.

Phil has taught geography, GIS, and quantitative methods to undergraduates, postgraduates, academics, and practitioners, in a variety of settings. Phil uses open software and data in his teaching where possible to make these skills as accessible as possible.

mrs cpd logo This course contributes 6 hours to the MRS CPD programme

Price for SRA members: £202.50. Use the discount code emailed to you.

VAT is not charged for SRA courses.

If you are unsure of your code, or haven't received one, please contact us.

Want to book 2+ people at the same time? Get in touch: admin[at]the-sra[dot]

Registration on the day is from 9.00 - 9.30 am.


Cancellation policy: Full refund if cancelled 21 days or more from the course date.  No refund if cancelled 20 days or fewer from the course date.

Registrations for this course will not be accepted after 23 May 2019 at noon.

We are sorry but registration for this event is now closed.

Please contact us if you would like to know if spaces are still available.