Faculty of Social & Historical Sciences


60 seconds with... James Cheshire

17 October 2019

Meet James Cheshire, Professor of Geographic Information and Cartography in the UCL Department of Geography. James will be delivering his Inaugural Lecture, 'The Power of Maps', on Wednesday 15 January 2020. Read on for a sneak preview...

James Cheshire

Tell us a little about your research...

Human geographers have shied away from working with data so I am driven in my research to make the case for why population datasets can provide important societal insights. I am committed to doing this in such a way that can be broadly understood by the public and by not just speaking to a niche group of academics. 

Why is your research important?

We live in an era where data is being used to change the world in many positive and negative ways. For society to realise the benefits from the many new forms of data we really need to understand what it is telling us, what it is not telling us and how we can build upon it for ever greater insights. Maps and visualisations are a hugely important tool for this - they provide a window into a new world that many can benefit from.

What inspires you in your research?

I so often discover old ideas when working with new data, so there is much to find inspiring from historic maps. There are a tremendous number of hugely talented people working in industry and academia that my work also draws from. 

What has been your most memorable career moment so far?

I have been hugely privileged to gain recognition from the likes fo the Royal Geographical Society and - with my long time collaborator Oliver Uberti - the North American Cartographic Information Society. Receiving their awards was very special.

What passions/hobbies do you have outside of work?

Too few. We’ve just adopted a dog so I’m hoping he’s going to help get my work/life balance into shape.

What book is currently on your bedside table?

Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez.

Book tickets for James' lecture


Inaugural Lecture Series 2019/20

This lecture is part of the 2019/20 series for UCL's Faculty of Arts & Humanities and Faculty of Social & Historical Sciences. The series provides an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the achievements of our professors who are undertaking research and scholarship of international significance, and offers an insight into the strength and vitality of the arts, humanities and social sciences at UCL.

All our lectures are free to attend and open to all. You don't have to be a UCL staff member or student to come along.

Lectures begin at 18:30 and are typically one hour long. A drinks reception will follow, to which everyone is welcome to join.

We look forward to meeting you at one of our events.

Take a look at the full programme below and register your place on our Inaugural Lectures Eventbrite page.