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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental SciencePostgraduate study

Matthew Pratt MSc in Applied Geographical Information Systems and Remote Sensing, 2012

PhD in Open data sources for improved geodemographic classifications, UCL

Matthew Pratt's Photo

Hi, I'm Matthew Pratt and I studied MSc in Applied Geographical Information Systems and Remote Sensing within Geography and Environmental Science at the University of Southampton.

The dissertation project over the summer was actually put forward by Boots the chemist, and I would go on frequent trips up to Nottingham, to Boots HQ, and talk to them about my project. It gave me the opportunity to go in and meet the team and see how GIS is used in the real world which was invaluable."

Why did you choose to study at the University of Southampton and were there any highlights?

The GIS course here is one of the best in the country; it’s very highly acclaimed and I know friends who have come to the University before who talked very highly of it. One of the highlights of my time here has been the atmosphere; the campus has a really nice feel about it. Also, one of my supervisors, Jim Wright, was absolutely excellent, particularly with my dissertation. Generally, the friends and the societies have been excellent.

Are there any particular societies you would like to mention?

I started off a bit with kayaking which was good fun, and I’m a bit of a poker player, so now and then I’d play, but I spent most of my time playing squash in the facilities down here with friends.

How has the University supported you?

We had a lot of support throughout the course. During my Masters dissertation, which I did over three months during the summer, I had a lot of support from Jim Wright and Samantha Cockings. They helped me formulate my dissertation, and Jim Wright particularly, helped me with a lot of the programming which is something I struggled with, so he brought me up to speed with those elements.

Have you undertaken any placements?

The dissertation project over the summer was actually put forward by Boots the chemist, and I would go on frequent trips up to Nottingham, to Boots HQ, and talk to them about my project. It gave me the opportunity to go in and meet the team and see how GIS is used in the real world which was invaluable. After that, other students who had done a Masters with retail groups such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s and I, went to the Royal Society to present our dissertations and I was awarded first prize for mine so that went really well!

Congratulations! What are your plans for the future?

Since then I’ve gone on to do a PhD at UCL (University College London) and I’ve been there now for nine months. This time I’m working with Co-Operative Food, mapping what type of people live where to guide store location decisions. If you better understand what sort of people live somewhere you can guide decisions as to why a store might be doing well or not, what the catchment areas of the stores are, and those sorts of things.

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