About

Automatic Knowledge Ltd was set up in 2019 by Alasdair Rae, previously a Professor of Urban Studies and Planning. Based in Sheffield, we’re a team of analysts with expertise in data, mapping, land use, housing, planning and neighbourhoods. We have also worked with a range of media organisations on data-driven stories (including BBC News, see below). In addition, we have significant experience of working within higher education on things like externally funded research projects, REF and impact. We work in all parts of the UK, as well as internationally.

Alasdair’s philosophy is based on the idea of deriving simplicity from complexity, by doing the hard work of data processing, manipulation and presentation in order to arrive at insight and impact.

Photo credit: Vanessa Clark, BBC (2017)
Alasdair being interviewed by the BBC’s Home Editor, Mark Easton for BBC News

Why ‘automatic knowledge’?

There is so much data out there today, but too little knowledge on what to do with it, how to analyse it and how it can help us. Put simply, moving from data to information and then knowledge can often feel like travelling along a very bumpy road. 

So, the idea behind Automatic Knowledge is that we do the hard work of completing the journey from data to knowledge, so that you can then make more informed decisions.