Professor Mei-Po Kwan: Big Data and Geospatial Technologies for Health Research

  • Date: 27 November 2023, 13:15–14:30
  • Location: Ekonomikum, Hörsal 2
  • Type: Lecture
  • Lecturer: Professor Mei-Po Kwan
  • Organiser: The Department of Human Geography
  • Contact person: Olivia Butler

As part of the Uppsala Lecture in Human Geography, we welcome Professor Mei-Po Kwan to the Department of Human Geography for a lecture on "Big Data and Geospatial Technologies for Health Research".


The rapid development and widespread use of advanced geospatial technologies such as GPS, remote sensing, mobile sensing, and location-aware devices in recent years have greatly facilitated the acquisition of enormous amounts of high-resolution space-time data. To build smart and healthy cities, we need to integrate these multi-source geospatial big data acquired by earth observation technologies and mobile sensing technologies to provide more accurate assessments of individual exposures to environmental or social risk factors, and to develop planning policies to improve health for all. In this presentation, I will discuss how these new developments can provide new insights into the relationships between people’s mobility, health behaviors, and the complex spatiotemporal dynamics of environmental influence Drawing upon my recent projects on individual exposures to green/blue spaces, light-at-night, and air and noise pollution, I explore how the collection, integration, and analysis of high-resolution space-time data enabled by advanced geospatial and mobile technologies (e.g., real-time mobile sensing and GPS tracking) can help identify the “truly relevant geographic context in space and time” and provide new insights into the relationships between human health, people’s daily mobility, and the complex spatiotemporal dynamics of environmental influences.

The Uppsala Lecture in Human Geography

The goal of the Uppsala Lecture in Human Geography is to have an annual departmental “marquee” event which will provide an intellectual focal point for the Department of Social and Economic Geography while also reaching out to other departments in the building, other institutes in the university, other geography departments in the region, as well as the broader public. Prominent lecturers are invited to display both the cutting-edge nature of geographical research and its intellectual and social relevance. This year will mark the third Uppsala Lecture in Human Geography. The inaugural lecture was held by Professor Laura Pulido (dept. of geography, University of Oregon) followed by Professor Linda McDowell (School of Geography and Environment, University of Oxford) and Professor Mike Crang (Department of Geography, University of Durham).

Professor Kwan Mei-Po is Director of the Institute of Space and Earth Information Science, Director of Institute of Future Cities, Choh-Ming Li Professor of Geography and Resource Management, and an affiliated faculty of the JC School of Public Health and Primary Care of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Prof. Kwan is a Fellow of the United Kingdom Academy of Social Sciences, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and American Association of Geographers and a Guggenheim Fellow. She was awarded many Outstanding Academic Achievement Awards by the American Association of Geographers, including the Distinguished Scholarship Honors, the Anderson Medal of Honors in Applied Geography, the Wilbanks Prize for Transformational Research in Geography, the Stanley Brunn Award for Creativity in Geography, the Edward L. Ullman Award for Outstanding Contributions to Transportation Geography, and the Melinda Meade Award for Outstanding Contributions to Health and Medical Research. Prof. Kwan has received research grants of more than USD 62.7 million and has delivered about 380 keynote addresses and invited lectures and presentations in more than 20 countries. Her recent projects examine the health impacts of individual environmental exposure (e.g., noise, air pollution, green space), urban and mobility issues, the space-time dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic and the perception of data privacy; and the protection of geoprivacy via the development of a Geospatial Virtual Data Enclave (GVDE).