Zi Ye

Zi Ye

Research interests

Retail geography, Spatial analysis, Big geo-data, Social media, Quantitative modelling

Project overview

For global tourism destinations such as London, retail demand can be rather complicated. The complex mosaic of microgeographies in London results in mixed retail demand which is generated by not only residents but also other non-residential populations, including daily commuters, students, tourists etc. The spatial and temporal patterns of these non-residential demand types can influence retail centre and retail store trading characteristics, including store revenues. Whilst existing research has started to consider retail demand from workplaces (Berry et al., 2016) and domestic tourists (Newing et al., 2013) , the demand originating from overseas tourists has been the subject of limited research due to the data accessed from official surveys and research questionnaires often having little spatial detail below the regional level. Emerging georeferenced big data could provide new opportunities to capture information on tourist behaviours and expenditures at a more localised spatial scale. Therefore, the purpose of this research is to use location-based social network (LBSN) data to explore the mobility patterns and potential retail demand of inbound tourist in the UK at a small area level focusing specifically on London.

In light of this, this research has the following aims:

  • Review the potential of different kinds of LBSN data (Twitter, Flickr, Foursquare and Weibo) to obtain a richer insight into inbound international tourist mobility behaviours.
  • Discuss the practical possibilities and evaluate the challenges of using multisource LBSN data in retail location analysis, in particular related to tourist retail demand.
  • Understand tourist retail demand layer at the small-area level in London.

Working experience

  • Shandong Provincial Institute of Land Surveying and Mapping
    • Research engineer / Public relations
  • Tencent, Inc.
    •  Back-end developer / E-commerce channel operation


  • Msc Cartography and Geographical Information Engineering, China University of Geosciences (Wuhan)
  • BSc Geographic Information Systems (GIS), China University of Geosciences (Wuhan)

Research groups and institutes

  • Institute for Spatial Data Science