We are a research group within the School of City & Regional Planning and School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech. We are working on a new field of study: interpersonal relationships and social networks in geographic space. Keywords: geographic information systems (GIS), social networks, urban planning, information visualization, complex systems.

Our lab director, Clio Andris, also directs the 1-year, in person Masters of GIS & Technology (MS-GIST program) at GT. Check it out and apply!

Research Themes

We analyze traditional, small social networks within a GIS environment. We develop metrics to show how relationships are hindered or helped by the built environment, and how powerful individuals benefit from the surrounding environment. (see Foundational Paper, Syrian Refugee Project, Facebook Project, and Mafia Project)

We help urban planners plan better cities by finding the amenities (parks, bars, Tinder, kayaking?) that best support personal relationships such as friends, families, co-workers, organization-based relationships, and romantic relationships). (See Yelp Project and Romance in-State College Paper, No Dates at the HippoHop)

We create interactive visualizations and tools for exploratory spatial data analysis (ESDA) with HCI principles in mind. (see Data and Interactive Page)

We measure how ‘connected’ places are and how this correlates with culture, diversity, and flows in a city. We created a new measure of social distance: the strength of social flows between places. Social distance is driven by connecting over political/administrative, natural, and infrastructural boundaries, through institutions (universities, military bases, etc.), social ties, and shared culture. (see Foundational Paper, COVID-19 Regions PrePrint, Big Brothers Big Sisters Project, and NCAA Athletes Project)

Upcoming Events

March 2024: We’ll see you at Cornell University for the 2024 CITY & REGIONAL PLANNING COLLOQUIUM March 8, 2024, 12:20 PM in Milstein Auditorium.

Drop into MS-GIST info office hours, Wed. 3-4 PM (through March 13, 2024). More info here and here or join the Feb 14 Info Session. <3 <3 <3

January 2024: Clio is visiting her Alma Mater, University of South Carolina, as a speaker at their Geography Colloquium series.

January 2024: Xiaofan Liang has started her job as an assistant professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the the University of Michigan! She is our new favorite Wolverine (sorry, Rob).

Clio’s headed to Berkeley April 13 + 14, 2023 to talk at the Institute of Transportation Studies.

Xiaofan Liang will be speaking at AAG in Denver.

Savannah: The Savannah Social project team is heading back to Savannah on April 8, 2023 9-2 for round 2 of our survey! If you’re in Forsyth Park come check us out and meet our Easter bunny!

New workshop: We’re hosting a workshop on Spatial Social Network Analysis on Thursday / Friday May 18 and 19, 2023 here in Atlanta. Visit the SNoMaN Project Website for more information and to apply for a fellowship.

Apply for the Courtney Russell Travel Award by Feb 24, 2023: This award is co-sponsored by the Association of American Geographers GISS Specialty Group and the Caribbean Geography Specialty Group to honor Dr. Courtney Russell who was a light in the GIS community. The award supports Caribbean scholars who are pursuing GIS research and careers.

Sunbelt: Our team will be leading a tutorial / workshop on the topic of Geographic and Spatial Social Network Analysis at SUNBELT 2023 on June 27, 2023 in Portland, Oregon.

Clio will be giving a colloquium talk at The University of Florida Department of Geography on February 9, 2023.