Mr Adrian Tear
Adrian graduated from the University of Durham in 1991 with a B.A.(Hons) in Geography. Partly inspired by the growing use and availability of satellite imagery and map data during the First Gulf War he then embarked on an M.Sc. in Geographic Information Systems at the University of Edinburgh, graduating with Distinction in 1992.
After leaving Edinburgh, Adrian joined Pinpoint Analysis Limited in London. Finding himself redundant when Pinpoint was taken over by an industry rival just under a year later he and a colleague went on to co-found Business Geographics Limited in 1993. The company became one of the leaders in the field of desktop market analysis and web-based mapping and was later sold to a US-based advertising corporation.
On leaving Business Geographics in 2000 Adrian went on to co-found two other companies exploiting the knowledge he and his colleagues had gained in the mid to late 1990s in developing database-driven web sites. One of these companies developed sites for third parties, the other (Allegran Limited) developed and marketed consumer web sites including online lotteries, competitions and dating. Allegran grew extremely rapidly and was sold to a UK newspaper group in 2006.
Adrian exited this last venture in September 2007. He retains his interest in geography, GIS, web development and business in general and is now studying part time for a Ph.D. in Geography at the University of Portsmouth, in between advising a number of corporate clients on making the best use of their Internet presence and working to develop a wind energy scheme on land he and his wife own on the Isle of Bute, Scotland.
The effect of increasingly available geo-political data, and social media ‘noise’, on democratic processes
I co-designed and developed one of the first web sites to cover a UK General Election in 1997 and have since worked on two other comprehensive electoral sites covering the 2000 Mayoral Election in London and the UK General Election of 2001.
I am now interested to see how the increasing availability of geo-political data, continuing changes in the electoral boundaries of the UK and the increasing take-up of mobile and social technology may affect democratic processes. For example:
- How are political parties in the UK and overseas using geodemographics for targeting?
- Does information policy provide ready access to constituency level data for electorates and their representatives?
- Are usage patterns of electoral and social media web sites reflected in electoral outcomes?
I propose to review the evolution of UK and overseas electoral web sites since 1997 with reference to my own efforts and those of the BBC and other national and international news organisations.
I also hope to investigate how ‘geographically aware’ systems such as geo-IP or GPS-enabled mobile telephony may be integrated in to future electronic voting systems that could and probably should lead to faster moving local and national democracies.
I hope that my research will lead to a greater understanding of how political geography, geographically referenced data and pseudo geographical data such as tagged Twitter feeds may impact on the democratic process.
- Tear, A.P.C. and Marshall, A.J. (1999). Taking CACI’s AreaData Service To The Internet: A Learning Experience. Proceedings of the Association for Geographic Information, 1999.
- Tear, A.P.C. (1997). www.election.co.uk - the creation of a geographically referenced web site for the 1997 General Election. Proceedings of the Association for Geographic Information, 1997.