The Society has responded to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s consultation on the UK’s National Data Strategy.
In our response, we advocate for geographical skills and thinking as ways to help unlock the value of all data, but especially data which have a location. We ask the Department to more explicitly recognise the importance of location data to the UK’s national data infrastructure and its central role in place-sensitive policy and decision making.
We also emphasise the importance of developing data skills through the social sciences alongside data-rich and digital STEM subjects such as data science, cyber and artificial intelligence, as a focus solely on STEM subject data skills would restrict the full economic and social benefits of the National Data Strategy. This approach is needed in primary and secondary schools, at university, and through employer-led work-based learning initiatives such as apprenticeships.
The Society’s Data Skills programme continues to highlight geography’s particular role in supporting data skills development in secondary schools, and the value of data skills to the transition from school to higher education and the workplace. Alongside resources for students, the programme also develops the confidence and capabilities of teachers through targeted CPD opportunities. As part of an ongoing collaboration with the Financial Times, a copy of the FT Visual Vocabulary poster for data visualisation will be sent to geography teachers nationwide. The use of data skills was also at the heart of our 2020 A Level Essay competition which was run jointly with the FT.
In addition, our response emphasises the significant contribution location data make to the economic, social and environmental challenges the UK faces, including enabling responses to COVID-19, climate change and the journey to net zero. Finally, we call attention to issues of privacy and the ethical use of data, and recommend further engagement with professional bodies with respect to accreditation of data professionals and the development of national data standards and practices.
Read our response.
Our Research Groups have done a great job of creatively adapting to a very challenging year. In celebration of their work, here are just a few highlights from 2020.
During 2020 we have produced a range of useful information and resources from our Geography and Core Maths Initiative.
The Society has launched a new webinar series to help geography students explore future career options.
From January 2021, all Fellows will automatically be able to access our full range of scholarly journals online.
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