The Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis


Shining a Light on NOIR: Rethinking Scales of Measurement | Professor Chris Brunsdon

28 November 2018, 5:00 pm–6:00 pm

Tree in front of the portico facing UCL's main quad

CASA continues our autumn seminar programme with Professor Chris Brunsdon.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Ana Basiri


G03 Lecture Theatre
85: 26 Bedford Way
26 Bedford Way
United Kingdom

The 'NOIR' referred to here is actually an acronym for the four scales of measurement proposed by Stevens in 1946: Nominal, Ordinal, Interval, and Ratio.  Despite being proposed over 70 years ago this categorisation is still influential - and can shape the way people think about choices for data analysis and visualisation. A number of software packages and text books are structured at least loosely on this framework - many of which have informed practice in spatial modelling and mapping. However, it has not gone unchallenged and it will be argued here that this approach is at times unhelpful.  There are inconsistencies arising from the NOIR categorisation,  and it omits  several important scales of measurent. However,  I would argue that it is still helpful to consider scales of measurement, although this involves critically evaluating Stevens’ original specification. In this talk, I will discuss practical examples of these inconsistencies and omissions,  and consider specific cases of analysis of some of the omited scales of measurement - in particular cyclic data and partially-ordered sets.

Professor Brunsdon's lecture slides can be accessed here:

About the Speaker

Professor Chris Brunsdon

Professor of Geocomputation at Maynooth University

Chris Brunsdon is currently Professor of Geocomputation, and Director of the National Centre for Geocomputation at Maynooth University. Prior to this he was Professor of human Geography at the University of Liverpool in the UK. He has degrees from Durham University (BSc Mathematics) and Newcastle University (MSc Medical Statistics, PhD in Geography). His research Interests cover various aspects and applications of spatial statistics, data science and spatial analysis. In particular he advocates the use of open source software, and reproducible methods, mainly via the R Statistical Programming Language. In terms of subject areas, he has interests in crime pattern analysis, health geography and environmental applications.

Chris Brunsdon