Department of Geography


Photo of Adrian Tear

Adrian Tear

  • Qualifications: BA (Hons) Geography; MSc Geographical Information Systems; PhD Geography
  • Role Title: Visiting Fellow
  • Address: Buckingham Building, Lion Terrace, Portsmouth, PO1 3HE
  • Telephone: 023 9284 2504
  • Email:
  • Department: Geography
  • Faculty: Faculty of Science


I graduated with a BA (Honours) in Geography from the University of Durham in 1991 before gaining my MSc in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) from the University of Edinburgh in 1992.

Following a varied and successful business career in the market analysis and web development sectors my PhD in Geography, examining the role of space and place in ~8 million politicised online social media interactions, was awarded by the University of Portsmouth in 2018.

Teaching Responsibilities

I deliver BSc and MSc level lectures in Geography at the Universities of Portsmouth and Edinburgh.

At the University of Portsmouth modules cover:

  • Structured Query Language (SQL)
  • Advanced SQL
  • Object Relational Databases
  • Oracle PL/SQL
  • Web Mapping
  • Big Data
  • Planning for Renewable Energy

At the University of Edinburgh, where I am an Honorary Fellow in the School of GeoSciences, I deliver an optional module on Business Geographics to students of the School’s MSc in Geographical Information Science.


Areas of research

  • Geographical Information Science
  • Big Data
  • Social Networks
  • Locative Media

Current research projects

I am currently working on a book chapter on Social Media Data with Professor Humphrey Southall, forthcoming (2019) in J. Evans, S. Ruane, & H. Southall (Eds.), Data in Society: Challenging Statistics in an Age of Globalisation. Bristol: Policy Press.

PhD research

Geotagging matters? The role of space and place in politicised social media discourse.

The growing ‘weaponization’ of online social media is thought to pose a significant problem for modern democracies. Political parties, campaign managers and even foreign states have all sought to influence democratic outcomes by targeting specific communications at individuals (e.g., on personal interests) in specific geographical areas (e.g., marginal ‘swing’ constituencies).

Many online social network platforms offer sophisticated tools for geo-behaviourally placing content, advertisements or ‘fake news’ which researchers have shown spreads particularly rapidly through social networks.

However, geographically tracking the downstream diffusion of such micro-targeted material is not straightforward. Some social media interactions – imprinted with Latitude and Longitude coordinates when users enable ‘geotagging’ functionality on sites and mobile applications developed by Twitter, Facebook etc. – have proven accurate when tracking certain types of event, e.g., natural disasters, daily population movements or responses to terrorist attacks.

My PhD research examines the viability of using coordinate-geotagged.