Spatializing Social Networks: Methods for Integrating SNA and GIS

Joana Borrero Luz
Institut national de la recherche scientifique

LIMITED to 20 Seats

Since people and organisations are spatially embedded, research on social networks may require an understanding of the spatial dimensions of social networks. For such research, impending questions may emerge: How are the actors in my network situated in space? How can I analyse the correlation between social clusters and spatial clusters? How can I map measures of network centrality and equivalence within determined geographical spaces?

Current Social Network Analysis methods and software do not offer the tools necessary for integrating, visualising and analysing the spatial dimensions of social networks. The common use of mathematics and statistics makes it nonetheless possible (and relatively easy) to integrate social network and spatial information, and analyse and visualise the information through the combined use of Social Network Analysis and Geographic Information System software.

The workshop will be structured in a manner that can respond to the specific needs and questions of participants during the workshop. The purpose is to equip participants with the basic tools they need to pursue the exploration of social and spatial network analysis within their own fields of interest.

The first part of the workshop will be an introduction to GIS and the language of spatial analysis. We will explain the common use of mathematics and statistic in SNA and GIS, and how this may facilitate the integration of social network and spatial analysis. The second part of the workshop will be a hands-on application of methods for the spatial analysis of social network data. During the training, participants have access to data sets prepared specifically for the workshop and will be asked to perform exercises with the data (if computers and software are available).

This workshop is meant to be a dynamic introduction to the use of Geographic Information Systems in studies on social networks. Participants are expected to be familiar with Social Network Analysis and have some knowledge of statistical methods. A folder containing the following documents will be distributed to all participants: 1) summary of the workshop; 2) step-by-step guide for all procedures explained during the workshop; 3) list of bibliographical references; and 4) short article illustrating the use of GIS for Social Network Analysis.