Extreme Citizen Science (ExCiteS)


Dr Clare Davies

A psychologist, Clare has a 20+-year history of applied research into people’s geographic spatial cognition and information use. She has studied widely varying aspects of these, e.g.: children’s local spatial awareness, educational GIS use, cross-cultural spatial thought and language, visual attention in cartography. Initially she studied usability problems in real-world GIS use, developing a Ph.D. on their cognitive and individual-differences aspects.

Currently Clare mainly researches cognitive aspects of ‘vernacular geography’ -- how ordinary people name and describe local places. Through human studies and computational analyses, it aims to predict and/or collect vernacular names, for provision to emergency services and others needing to know them. Psychologically, the phenomenon of place may reflect semantic category theory (i.e., places as collections of locations).

Clare’s other research interests include spatial orientation, emotional cognition (infant influences e.g. attachment), cognitive aspects of religious and moral behaviour, and related neuroscience.


vernacular geography, spatial cognition, psychology, place, cartography, cognitive science, GIS

Contact Details

e-mail: ccdavies [at] ccdavies [dot] co [dot] uk

Selected Publications

  • Davies, C., Fabrikant, S. and Hegarty, M. (in press 2013). Towards empirically verified cartographic displays. In: Szalma,     J.L., Scerbo, M., Parasuraman et al (eds.), The Handbook of Applied Perception Research. Cambridge University Press.
  • Davies, C. and Peebles, D. (2010). Spaces or scenes: map-based orientation in urban environments. Spatial Cognition & Computation 10 (2-3), 135-156.
  • Lansdale, M., Underwood, G. and Davies, C. (2010). Something overlooked? How experts in change detection use visual saliency. Applied Cognitive Psychology 24 (2), 213-225.
  • Davies, C., Li, C. and Albrecht, J. (2010). Human understanding of space. In: M. Haklay (ed.), Interacting with Geospatial Technologies, pp. 19-36. Chichester, UK:     Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Davies, C. (2009). Are places concepts? Familiarity and expertise effects in neighbourhood cognition. In: K.S. Hornsby et al (eds.), Spatial Information Theory: COSIT 2009. Aber Wrac'h, France, September 2009. LNCS Vol. 5756 (pp. 36-50). Berlin: Springer.
  • Davies, C., Holt, I., Green, J., Harding, J. and Diamond, L. (2009). User needs and implications for modelling vague named places. Spatial Cognition & Computation 9 (3), 174-194.
  • Davies, C. and Uttal, D.H. (2007). Map use and the development of spatial cognition. In: J.M. Plumert and J.P. Spencer (eds.) The Emerging Spatial Mind (pp. 219-247). Oxford University Press.
  • Davies, C., Tompkinson, W., Donnelly, N., Gordon, L., and Cave, K. (2006) Visual saliency as an aid to updating digital maps. Computers in Human Behavior 22, 672-684.
  • Davies, C. (2005) Finding and Knowing: psychology, computers and information use. Taylor and Francis.
  • Blake, C.T., Davies, C., Jones, A., Morris, E. and Scanlon, E. (2003) Evaluating complex digital resources. ALT-J, Association for Learning Technology Journal 11 (1), 4-16.