Mr Oliver O'Brien

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The Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) is one of the leading forces in the science of cities, generating new knowledge and insights for use in city planning, policy and design and drawing on the latest geospatial methods and ideas in computer-based visualisation and modelling. We are part of The Bartlett: UCL's global faculty of the built environment.



I’m Oliver O’Brien, a researcher and software developer at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA), an interdisciplinary research group at UCL in London. I’m currently part of the GENeSIS team, investigating and implementing new ways to visualise spatial data, including working with MapTube.

I studied an MSc in GIS at City University London, before joining UCL’s Geography Department in 2008 and then moving to CASA.

I’m also a contributor to the OpenStreetMap project which aims to create a free Wikipedia-style map of the whole world. In my leisure time, I compete in orienteering races, and have organised several events including the City of London Orienteering Race.

Follow me on Twitter: @oobr

Some work and leisure projects, tools and visualisations are listed on my personal website.

Research Summary

My current research interests include visualising city transport data, focusing particularly on bike share systems around the world. I am also working on creating a web application to allow combining data from CASA projects and other sources into simple web and PDF maps, and visualising changes on a microtemporal basis in UK cities.

Recent visualisations include the Olympic Torch Relay, local and general election result "colours", Transport for London Oyster Card journeys, tube station exits/entries, the temporal evolution of OpenStreetMap road network completeness, educational geodemographic choropleth maps for England, 2001 Census choropleth maps for Britain, and working with Prof Michael Batty and Dr Martin Zaltz Austwick on web-based Rank Clocks, showing time-ranked datasets on a "clockface".

Research outputs

Estimating secondary school catchment areas and the spatial equity of access 2011 Singleton AD,Longley PA,Allen R,O’Brien O
O'Brien on Ramm, Topf, Chilton: OpenStreetMap: Using and Enhancing the Free Map of the World 2011 O'Brien OGT
OpenStreetMap in Great Britain: Quality and Completeness 2010 O'Brien OGT
Use of a GIS for Production and Maintenance of Street Orienteering Maps: Can a GIS and Spatially Aware Data add Value to Orienteering? - O'Brien OGT
Geodemographics and spatial interaction: an integrated model for higher education - Singleton A,Wilson A,O Brien O

Research activities