Spatial Analysis finds tranquillity

Todays press release by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has picked up a lot of coverage in the mainstream press, with this mornings Today programme discussing the potential findings with reference to the great romantic English poets – its all because of Wordsworth apparently, that we attempt to find Tranquillity.

While I appreciate this sits well with the spin the CPRE would like to attach to this story (Well done the PR Dept !) it would be nice, just one in a while, if the press actually looked behind the map to find out how it was created.

Behind the map was a group of researchers from Northumbria and Newcastle Universities who used GIS techniques to weight a 500m pixel grid model of England, giving each pixel a value based on the weighted overlay of data layers representing amongst others;
• Land Cover
• Proximity of rivers, streams, lakes and the sea;
• Presence of birds and other wildlife;
• Proximity to transport links
• Proximity to urban settlements
• Population density
• Presence of visually intrustive features such as pylons and wind turbines etc.

This is a really interesting study, and yes I’m sure one could pick holes in the methodolgy used, but the team need to be congratulated on making such an impact with their work – its just a shame that in this case, the media as is often the case, runs away from the science behind the map.

Written and submitted from home, using my home 802.11 network.

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