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Geography and Environmental Science
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Dr Dianna Smith BA, MS, PhD

Lecturer in GIS

Dr Dianna Smith's photo

Dr Dianna Smith is a Lecturer in GIS and health geography within Geography and Environmental Science at the University of Southampton.





Positions held


Research interests

My interests are in quantitative health geography, using GIS to visualise data collected or collated to address key social and spatial inequalities. I work across the disciplines of geography and public health with links to local government. My substantive interests are in food, diet and related health outcomes or behaviours.

1. Social and spatial health inequalities: My masters, doctoral and some postdoc research focused on the spatial analysis of food access and health outcomes, including the identification of ‘food deserts’: areas with poor access to healthy and affordable food. These previous studies have contributed to my primary research goal of facilitating a more widespread understanding of the measurable extent of social inequalities, with a focus on the basic needs of individuals. This aim is now reflected in much of my ongoing work using secondary data and newer methods of primary data collection, such as citizen science.

2. Area-based risk measures: An additional area of research is food poverty risk and provision of emergency food through food banks. Working with colleagues including Dr Claire Thompson (University of Hertfordshire), I developed a small-area risk index of food poverty in England. We are extending this work through further collaboration with external groups and this forms part of the research with Dr Nisreen Alwan, funded by NIHR ARC which includes the creation of refined area-based food and child poverty measures (Wessex FRIEND).

3. Co-development of toolkits: As part of an ESRC Impact Acceleration Account award, I developed a website to facilitate mapping and sharing of spatial data for local government and third sector/civil society. This culminated in the launch of mylocalmap, devised in collaboration with Southampton City Council and Sustain, where the food poverty risk measures are published. A recent project in this theme using citizen science approaches is CITISCAPE, which enables direct feedback between young adults and the city council regarding their local built environment.

4. Small-area estimation for policy analysis: I use spatial microsimulation methods (Iterative Proportional Fitting) to create small-area estimates of health behaviours and outcomes, including common mental disorders, alcohol use, smoking behaviour and diet choices. 

PhD supervision

For potential PhD supervision, please contact me.

Completed: Dr Natalie Savona

Current: Lauren Wilson, Monique Campbell, Rachel Houweling as primary supervisor; I am on a supervisory team for Sarah Shaw, Rebecca Collins, and Grace Grove

Research projects

CITISCAPE (Web Science Institute funded)

Mylocalmap (ESRC IAA funded)

Wessex FRIEND (NIHR ARC funded)

Research group

Population, Health and Wellbeing (PHeW)

Research project(s)

The Wessex FRIEND Toolbox (Family Risk IdEntificatioN and Decision)

  • South Coast Doctoral Training Programme Thematic Cluster Pathway Coordinator: Population Change, Health & Wellbeing
  • Director of Undergraduate Admissions
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  • Module lead GEOG3067 Applied GIS: Using GIS in the Workplace
  • I contribute to GEOG3006 Advanced GIS and GEOG2010 Introduction to GIS, GEOG 3010 Environment & Health
  • I contribute to modules in the MSc in Public Health and supervise dissertations across this programme and the MSc in Applied GIS & Remote Sensing
  • I supervise undergraduate and MSc dissertations across geography, environmental science and public health
  • Personal tutor, School of Geography & Environmental Science
Dr Dianna Smith
Building 44 University of Southampton University Road Southampton SO17 1BJ

Room Number : 44/2034

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