Justin van Dijk


Welcome. I am a Lecturer in Social and Geographic Data Science at the Department of Geography, University College London.

I am mainly interested in urban analytics, geo-demographics, urban transport, spatial inequalities and spatial justice, and big data applications in scarce data environments. I have extensive experience in the domain of Geographic Information Systems, urban studies, and transport research. I also possess a wide skill set in the field of advanced spatial analysis, including experience with Python programming, R scripting, PostgreSQL with PostGIS, and webmapping through Leaflet.js.

Currently I am working on the following projects:

  • Re-purposing consumer and administrative data in order to develop robust annual estimates of residential mobility and demographic change in the United Kingdom.
  • Exploring the generational and inter-generational movements of family groups across Great Britain.

Research Interests

Big Data applications in scarce data environments

Geo-demographics and Urban Analytics

Spatial inequalities in urban environments

Urban transport, spatial justice, and human mobility

Core skills

Topic Programme / Language / Library
Geographic Information Systems R, Python, QGIS, ArcGIS
Data processing R, Python, UNIX shell, GNU Parallel
Data analysis R, Python
Data visualisation ggplot2
Project management Git, GitHub
Web mapping Leaflet.js
Web development HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Django
Database management PostgreSQL, PostGIS
Typesetting LaTeX, markdown, rmarkdown, bookdown


You can download my full Curriculum Vitea as a PDF.

Professional Experience


2021 - Present

University College London, United Kingdom

Department of Geography. Lecturer in Social and Geographic Data Science. Contributing to the M.Sc. modules Principles of Spatial Analysis and Data, Politics and Society as well as the undergraduate module Geocomputation.

Associate Lecturer

2020 - 2021

University College London, United Kingdom

Department of Geography. Associate Lecturer in Quantitative Social Science. Contributing to the M.Sc. courses Principles of Spatial Analysis and Advanced Topics in Social and Geographic Data Science as well as the undergraduate course Introduction to Quantitative Research Methods.

Postdoctoral Research Associate

2018 - 2021

University College London, United Kingdom

Department of Geography. Research Associate in the Geospatial Analytics and Computing Research Group. Analysis and visualisation of big spatial population data sets with a strong focus on geo-demographics, internal migration, and inter-generational social mobility.


Doctor of Philosophy

2014 - 2017

Stellenbosch University, South Africa

Transport Economics. Thesis: Designing Travel Behaviour Change interventions: A spatiotemporal perspective.

Master of Science [Cum Laude]

2011 - 2013

Utrecht University, the Netherlands

Human Geography and Planning. Thesis: Towards spatial justice: The spatial equity effects of a toll road in Cape Town, South Africa.

Bachelor of Science

2007 - 2011

Utrecht University, the Netherlands

Human Geography and Planning. Thesis: Contemporary Orientalism? Representations of Islam and Muslims in the Dutch Press: a content analysis of ‘De Volkskrant’ and ‘De Telegraaf’, 2001-2010.

Visiting Appointments

Research Fellow

2022 - Present

Stellenbosch University, South Africa

School for Data Science and Computational Thinking.

Recent Publications

For a full list of my publications, please see my profile on ResearchGate.

Longley, P. A., Lan, T., and Van Dijk, J. T. 2023. Geography, ethnicity, genealogy and inter-generational social inequality in Great Britain. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. Online first. doi: 10.1111/tran.12622

Longley, P. A., Van Dijk, J. T., and Lan, T. 2021. The geography of intergenerational social mobility in Britain. Nature Communications 12: 6050. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-26185-z

Van Dijk, J. T., Lansley, G., and Longley, P. A. 2021. Using linked consumer registers to estimate internal migration in the United Kingdom. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A (Statistics in Society). 184(4): 1452-1474. doi: 10.1111/rssa.12713

Lan, T., Van Dijk, J. T., and Longley, P. A. 2021. Family names, city size distributions and residential differentiation in Great Britain, 1881-1901. Urban Studies. Advance Online Publication. doi: 10.1177/00420980211025721

Van Dijk, J. T. and Longley, P. A. 2020, Interactive display of surname distributions in historic and contemporary Great Britain. Journal of Maps. 16(1): 68-76. doi: 10.1080/17445647.2020.1746418

Kandt, J., Van Dijk, J. T., and Longley, P. A. 2020. Family name origins and inter-generational demographic change in Great Britain. Annals of the American Association of Geographers. 110(6): 1726-1742. doi: 10.1080/24694452.2020.1717328

Engin, Z., Van Dijk, J. T., Lan, T., Longley, P. A., Treleaven, P., Batty, M., and Penn, A., 2020. Data-driven urban management: Mapping the landscape. Journal of Urban Management. 9(2): 140-150. doi: 10.1016/j.jum.2019.12.001

Van Dijk, J. T. 2018. Identifying activity-travel points from GPS-data with multiple moving windows. Computers, Environment and Urban System 70: 84-101. doi: 10.1016/j.compenvurbsys.2018.02.004

Van Dijk, J. T. and Krygsman, S. C. 2017. Using GPS-based activity spaces and opportunity indicators for travel behaviour analysis. Journal of Urban Technology 25(2): 105-124. doi: 10.1080/10630732.2017.1400814

Van Dijk, J. T. and De Jong, T. 2017. Post-processing GPS tracks in reconstructing travelled routes in a GIS-environment: Network subset selection and attribute adjustment. Annals of GIS 23(3): 203-217. doi: 10.1080/19475683.2017.1340340


World Bank

data science
accessibility analysis

Accessibility analysis. Generation of travel time indicators and market access indicators for small administrative units in Ethiopia. This project is part of a wider study conducted by the World Bank that aims to identify and tackle deeply rooted binding constraints that could hamper the gains of economic growth being spread evenly across regions and between rural and urban areas.

Gamble Aware

2019 - 2021
web development

Webmapping. Data analysis and visualisations on the geographical distribution of supply and demand for treatment and support for problematic gamblers. The produced maps are available through: www.begambleaware.org/gambleaware-gb-maps.


2018 - Present
web development
data science

Website development. GBNames explores the spread of family names across Great Britain, using historic censuses and recent consumer registers, and links surnames to consumer data statistics. The latest version of the website is accessible through: apps.cdrc.ac.uk/gbnames.


report writing

Scoping study for the UCL, Bloomsbury and East London Doctoral Training Partnership (UBEL DTP). This scoping report reviews the proposals of the 28 co-funded and collaborative studentships that have been taken on by UBEL DTP between 2018 and 2020 in order to better understand potential factors and themes that underpin successful partnerships and collaborations.

Greater London Authority

data science

Preparation of selected data products on ethnicity, population churn, migration, and social mobility for the Greater London Authority.


2016 - 2017
data science

Data analysis using well-known statistical techniques as well as more advanced machine learning classifiers for Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator to better understand, and possibly predict, successful job placements.



Department of Geography, North-West Wing, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT