Great Britain's Most Common Surnames

This is the map of the most common surnames around the Great Britain. As well as mapping the distribution of surnames from the electoral roll, Twitter account surnames have been included. The map was created as part of the "Uncertainty of Identity" ( project. The aim of this project is to establish a link between the real and virtual world data sources in order to study the identities of individuals.

The idea behind creating this map was to see the difference in the distributions of different surnames around the Great Britain. We also wanted to see if Electoral Roll and Twitter have different surnames distributions. The map shows some of the common surnames many people have in the country, such as Smith, Jones, Brown and Williams, but also gives us an indication of the ethnic mix in the major urban areas, in particular London, Birmingham, and Manchester. Switching to twitter surnames, on the map, shows many more non-British surname.

To create this map, we analysed 2007 Electoral Roll data to come up with the common surnames in each of the 8920 wards across Great Britain. For the twitter surnames, we analysed the 'user names' of 32 million geo-tagged tweets downloaded during September, 2012 to April, 2013 across Britain. Surnames were then mapped to the 8920 wards across Great Britain, and coded in different colors according to their origin.

The Electoral Roll data is the perfect reflection of the population in Great Britain. The twitter data, however, is a bit noisy - this is because the uneven adoption rate of Twitter in Great Britain.

You can view this map at this link

The map was published by a number of media outlets, which are listed below:

Daily Mail (

Guardian (

Evening Standard (

Buckingham Herald (

Luton Today (

Best Megazine (

Gizmodo (


Twitter Names Across London

What's your Twitter user name - and how does it compare to others? We analysed four million geotagged Tweets from August to November, 2012 - and the result is this map. Zoom around it to see how the city's landscape changes.

The map was published in the following media outlets/websites:

Guardian (

Londonist (

Now.Here.This (


Twitter Ethnicity Maps

We analysed the 'user names' of 1 million geo-tagged tweets sent during September and October, 2012 and predicted the ethnic origin of the names names by using Onomap. The result is the Twitter Ethnicity Maps.

Would the study would produce different results for countries with totally different cultures? Would mentions of the of the lima Peru transportation system work as well in demonstrating relationships?

This work was published here:

Guardian (