GIS for Transport Applications workshop

The TGRG-sponsored ‘GIS for Transport Applications’ workshop took place in Leeds earlier this month. It was was the most popular of all workshops put on as part of the GIS Research UK (#GISRUK) conference. The aim was simple: to showcase and develop the growing expertise of Geographical Information Systems within the Transport Community.

Read below to hear about this event and see links to the free online tutorials developed for it.

Winning map from the ‘GIS4TA’ workshop

The workshop was led by Dr Robin Lovelace, Research Fellow at the newly founded Consumer Data Research Centre (CDRC) and Website Officer for the TGRG. There is a strong need for increased collaboration between GIS and transport research, as Robin explains: “Transport is a field that relies on high quality geographical information. The storage, analysis, visualisation and modelling of roads, pathways and vehicle flows is critical to understanding any transport system; which makes GIS a critical component of the transport researcher’s toolkit.”

Attended by a mixture of international academics and transport sector specialists, the sessions focused on open source software which is free and accessible to all attendees.

Presentations & Tutorials

The day included presentations and tutorials from a number of academic experts:

Call for Maps

Instead of the traditional ‘Call for Papers’ the workshop had an optional ‘Call for Maps’ with attendees submitting transport related maps that they had developed. A number of examples, including the winning map, can be seen below.

David Brenig-Jones: Manilla's Bus System

Rafael Pereira: Transport System of Rio de Janeiro


Crispin Cooper: Analysing cycle flows and collisions in Cardiff



The afternoon was dedicated to a hackathon, led by Godwin Yeboah from the University of Aberdeen, which gave attendees the opportunity to apply the methods introduced earlier in the day to develop methods to identify optimal routes for cycle paths.

Robin commented “Unlike some events which cause ‘death by PowerPoint, this ‘Hackathon’ was a great chance for academics and practitioners from many backgrounds to ‘get their hands dirty’ with the software and work together in a supportive environment to solve an exciting real-world problem”

The workshop received excellent feedback from attendees and there are plans to run a similar event in the future. As one course participant said after the event: “I really enjoyed the day, both technically and the general buzz and energy too.” If you would be attending a similar workshop, please contact

The links, code and data used in the workshop can be found in the workshops online repository.

Further resources

Write-up on the CDRC website: “CDRC launches ‘GIS for Transport Applications’ Workshop

“R vs QGIS for sustainable transport planning” – R-bloggers.

Lovelace, R., & Cheshire, J. (2014). Introduction to visualising spatial data in R. National Centre for Research Methods Working Papers, 14(03).  See


Thanks to the following organisations for sponsoring the event and making it possible. With your help we hope it can happen again!



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