The Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis


Population247: enhanced time-specific population estimates | Dr Samantha Cockings

27 February 2019, 5:00 pm–6:00 pm

Event Information

Open to





Dr Ana Basiri


Room G03
85: 26 Bedford Way
26 Bedford Way
United Kingdom

Many applications, such as emergency planning, retail site location and resource allocation, require accurate and timely information about how many people are in specific places at specific times of the day, week or season.  Useful insights include information about typical cyclical population (re)distributions (e.g. diurnal, weekly, seasonal), one-off events (e.g. festivals, bad weather) and worst-case scenarios. Traditional population estimates from the UK Censuses do not provide such rich temporal granularity and are still based predominantly on residential or workplace distributions.  With ever-increasing amounts of data being geographically referenced, there are now exciting opportunities to extract more time-specific signals of population distributions from such sources.  The key challenges, though, lie in being able to calibrate, integrate and validate these signals to produce reliable population estimates for decision-making.  The Population247 programme of research has developed a framework, methods and software for producing such estimates.  This seminar will outline the Population247 framework and explain how it is being used to integrate new and emerging forms of data (such as from sensors, APIs) with existing data (such as census and administrative data).  Ongoing collaborative projects exploring how the enhanced estimates can feed into effective policy and planning will be described, and priorities for future research discussed.

About the Speaker

Dr Samantha Cockings

at University of Southampton

Samantha Cockings is Associate Professor in Geography and Environmental Science at the University of Southampton.  She has research interests in spatiotemporal population modelling, automated zone design, GIS and environment and health. Together with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and University of Southampton colleagues, she developed the 2011 Output Areas and Super Output Areas for England and Wales, the 2011 Workplace Zones for England and Wales (which have subsequently also been created for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland), and a geodemographic Classification of Workplace Zones (COWZ) for the UK.  The team’s automated zone design (AZTool) software has been used by researchers in a range of sectors and countries and has, most recently, been enhanced to aid the design of workload areas for censuses and surveys.

The Population247 programme of research is a natural extension of these enhanced spatial population models into the temporal dimension.  She is committed to developing more accurate and useful population estimates for decision-making and operational use and is currently working with Public Health England, the Health & Safety Executive and Defence Science & Technology Laboratory to explore how this can be achieved.