Department of Geography


Photo of Adrian Tear

Adrian Tear

  • Qualifications: B.A.(Hons) Geography, M.Sc. Geographic Information Systems
  • Role Title: PhD Researcher
  • 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.

My first job in London lasted just under a year before my employer, Pinpoint Analysis Limited, was taken over. AMy first company, Business Geographics Limited, was co-founded the next day and went on to become one of the UK’s leading desktop GIS, market analysis and web-based mapping specialists. Business Geographics was sold in 1997 to the London-based arm of a US advertising corporation.

Leaving Business Geographics in 2000 I went on to co-found two other companies specialising in database-driven web sites. One of these companies built sites for third parties, the second developed and marketed its own range of consumer web sites featuring lotteries, competitions and online dating. This second company, Allegran Limited, grew extremely rapidly and was sold in 2006 to a UK newspaper group. I exited in 2007.

I retain my interest in geography, GIS, web development and business in general and am now studying part time for a PhD in Geography at the University of Portsmouth, in between advising a number of corporate clients on making the best use of their Internet presence and working to develop a community wind energy scheme on land my family own on the Isle of Bute, Scotland.

Teaching Responsibilities

I contribute a module on ‘Business Geographics’ to the University of Edinburgh’s MSc in Geographic Information Systems.


Geographic and non-geographic social media interactions around the time of the US 2012 Presidential Election

Political parties and campaign groups invest an increasing amount of time, effort and money stimulating discussion and attempting to benefit from user interactions made over Online Social Networks (OSNs). Parties have attempted to raise funding, support levels and voter turnout using OSN channels such as Facebook and Twitter.

These sites, which have grown enormously in recent years, offer the ability for users to ‘post’ or ‘tweet’ geographically – in which case a latitude/longitude geolocation is stored alongside the user’s publicly accessible text or link-sharing content.

Plotting the geographic users is straightforward. What is interesting is their composition and behaviour. Do they post or tweet differently? Do they have more, or fewer, friends or followers than the universe? Do they link to more ‘localised’ content? What is their demographic profile?

This research is beginning to address these questions using data-mining techniques to analyse ~1.7m sampled social media interactions recorded around the time of the 2012 US Presidential Election.