Vast amounts of digital data are now generated daily by people as they go about their lives, yet social researchers are struggling to exploit it. At the same time, the challenges faced by society in the 21st century are growing ever more complex, and demands research that is bigger in scale, more collaborative and multi-disciplinary than ever before. This cutting-edge volume provides an accessible introduction to innovative digital social research tools and methods that harness this ‘data deluge’ and successfully tackle key research challenges. Contributions from leading international researchers cover topics such as:  • Qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods research  • Data management  • Social media and social network analysis  • Modeling and simulation  • Survey methods  • Visualizing social data  • Ethics and e-research  • The future of social research in the digital age This vibrant introduction to innovative digital research methods is essential reading for anyone conducting social research today.

Visualizing Spatial and Social Media

Michael BattySteven GrayAndrew Hudson-SmithRichard MiltonOliver O’BrienFlora Roumpani

11.1 Introduction

In this chapter, we begin by surveying the development of computer graphics as it has influenced the development of the spatial representation of social and economic data, charting the history of computer cartography and geographic information systems (GIS) which have broadened into a wide array of forms for scientific visualization. With the advent of the World Wide Web and the widespread adoption of graphical user interfaces (GUIs) to most kinds of computer device, visualization has become central to most sciences and to the dissemination of many kinds of data and information. We divide our treatment of this domain according to three themes. First, we examine how the 2-dimensional map has become key ...

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