Introduction to Spatial Interaction Modelling - Online

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Start - End
22 Sep - 23 Sep
Study Options
£ 30 - 100

Course Code: MAN-08-19/20-P-R

Organised by: The University of Manchester

Presenter: Dr Andy Newing

Date: 22/09/2020 - 23/09/2020

Venue: online


This online course, delivered over two half days, equips participants with the knowledge and skills to build, calibrate and apply powerful spatial interaction models (SIMs). SIMs are used to estimate flows between origins and destinations and have a range of applications within geography, planning, transportation, social science and the commercial sector. We assume no prior experience of working with SIMs (or gravity models as they are also known in some commercial sectors) and focus on the theoretical and technical components of model building. We use examples which are intuitively straightforward and familiar to participants, based on consumer shopping behaviours.

Spatial Interaction Models (SIMs) are statistical models used to predict origin-destination flows. They are widely applied within geography, planning, transportation and the social sciences to predict interactions or flows related to commuting, migration, access to services etc. They are also widely applied across the commercial sector – for example to model flows of consumers between home and retail centres – with broad applications in commercial decision making and policy evaluation.

This hands on course equips participants with the skills to build, calibrate and apply spatial interaction models suitable for addressing a range of research questions. We don’t assume any prior knowledge of spatial interaction modelling and build, from scratch, a SIM to capture consumer flows between home and retail stores. This intuitively straightforward example is used to understand the model structure, key theoretical assumptions and the model building and calibration process. We work with this model to understand model disaggregation and we also use this example to highlight one of the major commercial applications of the SIM.


To introduce participants to the family of SIMs and their applications within geography, social sciences, planning and the commercial sector.

To enable participants to build and calibrate SIMs using Microsoft Excel within the application area of modelling retail flows.

To equip participants with the skills to apply their model to predict flows under various ‘what if?’ scenarios.

To encourage participants to evaluate their modelling framework, to assess model performance and to identify opportunities for model enhancement.


9.30 – 12.30 on Tuesday 22nd September

9.30 – 12.30 on Wednesday 23rd September


Participants should have a good working knowledge of Microsoft Excel. They should be familiar with inputting formulas and working with data across multiple sheets.

As this course is taught online, participants need use of a PC or laptop with a stable internet connection. Their enjoyment of the course will be enhanced if they have access to a web-cam and microphone.

Participants will also require a copy of Microsoft Excel and a PDF reader.

The course will be delivered via Microsoft Teams

Level: Entry (no or almost no prior knowledge)

Cost: For UK/EU registered students £30

For staff at UK academic institutions, ESRC funded researchers and registered charity organisations £60

For all other delegates £100 per day

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