The recent ialeUK PhD workshop, orgainsed by Jessica Neumann (postgraduate coordinator), held at the University of Reading provided a fantastic opportunity for postgraduates to explore and discuss issues relating to data collection and analysis.
Attended by 22 students from all over the UK from the Universities of Bristol to Edinburgh, a diverse range of landscape topics were considered, including conservation planning, and ecosystem service provision. Despite the diversity amongst research topics, obtaining and analysing spatial data was common to all students.
Sources of secondary data, particularly open data were provided and participants also enjoyed the opportunity to get out into the field to experience bird ringing, sampling vegetation and birdcalls. This sparked discussion on the limitations associated with primary and secondary data, with specialist ecologists whilst out in the field.
Discussions were common theme throughout the workshop, and particularly valuable was the opportunity for individual participants to discuss their own approaches to data analysis and problems encountered with the statistician Andrew Mead, from the University of Warwick. Andrew provided a theoretical background to the statistical analysis of spatial data, including multivariate techniques. The workshop also included presentations on the software packages Canoco and Fragstats.
Overall the workshop was a great success, providing an excellent environment and opportunity to discuss issues relating to spatial data with specialist ecologists and statistician. Thank you to Jess for organizing this valuable workshop and to all the speakers for their effort and time. Jess plans to build upon the success of this workshop and organise future workshops continuing on from the theme of data analysis, and extending upon tools within GIS – so watch this space for future advertisements!