Mark Graham's research focuses on Internet and information geographies, and the overlaps between ICTs and economic development.


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Mark Graham is the Professor of Internet Geography at the OII, a Faculty Fellow at the Alan Turning Institute, a Research Fellow at Green Templeton College, an Associate in the University of Oxford’s School of Geography and the Environment, and a Visiting Fellow at the Department of Media and Communications in the London School of Economics and Political Science.

He has published articles in major geography, communications, and urban studies journals, and his work has been covered by the Economist, the BBC, the Washington Post, CNN, the Guardian, and many other newspapers and magazines. He is an editorial board member of Information, Communication, and Society, Geo:Geography, Environment and Planning A, and Big Data & Society. He is also a member of DFID’s Digital Advisory Panel and the ESRC’s Peer Review College.

In 2014, he was awarded a European Research Council Starting Grant to lead a team to study ‘knowledge economies’ in Sub-Saharan Africa over five years. This will entail looking at the geographies of information production, low-end (virtual labour and microwork) knowledge work, and high-end (innovation hubs and bespoke information services) knowledge work in fifteen African cities.

The rest of his work can be divided into three categories:

ICT for Development

Mark is particularly interested in the multiplicity of attempts to implement development and reduce a ‘digital divide’ by altering economic positionalities and reconfiguring commodity chains in places on the global periphery. He is currently involved in a multi-year project funded by an ESRC-DFID grant to study the effects of broadband use and access in Kenya and Rwanda, asking who benefits (and who doesn’t) from improved connectivity. The ultimate aim of this research is to better understand the variety of strategies employed in using online-presence to offset remote physical presence. Mark’s previous work in this area focused on similar questions within the context of the Thai silk industry. These projects have been supported by the ESRC, the British Academy, the NSF, the Fell Fund, and the American Association of Geographers.

Internet and Information Geographies

Mark’s work on the geographies of the Internet examines how people and places are ever more defined by, and made visible through, not only their traditional physical locations and properties, but also their virtual attributes and digital shadows. Specifically, he is interested in how ubiquitous electronic representations of urban environments that are made possible by services and platforms such as Google Maps, Twitter and Wikipedia (e.g. a project on Wikipedia’s networks and geographies) have the power to redefine, reconfigure, and reorder the cities that they represent. Of particular interest are the barriers to participation and the way that some people can lack voice and representation in online platforms. This work has been featured in over one hundred media outlets around the world (including The Guardian, The New York Times, and Wired) and has been funded by the IDRC and the John Fell Fund. Some of his published academic work on this topic can be found on his website, while more recent work can be accessed on the Information Geography website, his zerogeography blog and the floatingsheep blog that he co-founded.

Economic Transparency

Novel ways of collaborating and pooling resources are being made possible by a new wave of Internet projects promoting transparency through commodity chains. The central element in these new projects is the ability of non-proximate transparency to effect patterns of consumption and economic flows. Mark’s work in this area examines how a variety of social networks and the ability of consumers to monitor distant nodes on production chains can reorganise economic activities. His efforts centre on developing useful frameworks for the effects of non-proximate transparency, as well as detailed empirical studies on multiple transparency-promoting projects. He has recently set up a commodity chain tracing project ( that will allow people to harness the power of user-generated content to uncover the hidden production practices, environmental effects, and economic geographies behind everyday items.

Areas of Interest for Doctoral Supervision

Big data, crowdsourcing, cultural industries, digital divides, ICT4D, inequality, innovation, open data, public policy, social media, labour, markets, digital labour, geography, transparency, participation, Africa, economic geography, production network, ethical consumption, power

Research interests

Internet Geography, ICT for development, globalization, economic geography, transportation and communications, social theory, transparency, user-generated content, Southeast Asia, East Africa, zombies

Positions held at the OII

  • Professor of Internet Geography, July 2016 –
  • Senior Research Fellow and Associate Professor, May 2014 – June 2016
  • Senior Research Fellow, August 2013 – May 2014
  • Director of Research, October 2012 – December 2013
  • Research Fellow, October 2009 – July 2013

Students supervised at the OII

Current students

Past students

Latest blog posts

Current projects

Past projects

  • Does Wikipedia represent ‘the sum of all human knowledge’? Examining the geographical scope of a peer-produced encyclopedia

    Participants: Professor Mark Graham, Dr Heather Ford, Brent Hecht, Dave Musicant, Shilad Sen

    This project aims to develop a set of lenses for analyzing Wikipedia’s geographical scope whilst employing a reflexive analytical process to expose the makings of the ‘big data’ that we will produce.

  • Geography of Digital Inequality

    Participants: Professor Mark Graham, Dr Grant Blank, Claudio Calvino

    This project combined OxIS and census data to produce the first detailed geographic estimates of Internet use across the UK.

  • Interactive Visualizations for Teaching, Research, and Dissemination

    Participants: Professor Helen Margetts, Professor Mark Graham, Dr Scott A. Hale, Dr Monica Bulger, Joshua Melville

    "InteractiveVis" aims to support easy creation of interactive visualisations for geospatial and network data by researchers: it will survey existing solutions, build currently missing features, and smooth over incompatibilities between existing libraries.

  • Using Twitter to Map and Measure Online Cultural Diffusion

    Participants: Professor Mark Graham, Dr Scott A. Hale, Devin Gaffney, Dr Ning Wang

    This project is using Twitter data to comprehensively uncover where Internet content is being created; whether the amount of content created in different places is changing over time; and how content moves across time and space in the Social Web.

  • Development and Broadband Internet Access in East Africa

    Participants: Professor Mark Graham, Dr Laura Elizabeth Mann, Dr Christopher Foster, Professor Tim Waema, Charles Katua, Dr Felix Akorli, Claude Bizimana

    By using surveys, interviews and in-depth observations, this project examined the expectations and stated potentials of broadband Internet in East Africa and compared those expectations to on-the-ground effects that broadband connectivity is having.

  • Who represents the Arab world online? Mapping and measuring local knowledge production and representation in the Middle East and North Africa

    Participants: Dr Bernie Hogan, Professor Mark Graham, Richard Farmbrough, Clarence Singleton, Dr Heather Ford, Dr Ilhem Allagui, Dr Ali Frihida, Ahmed Medhat Mohamed

    Using Wikipedia to explore the participation gap between those who have their say, and those whose voices are pushed to the side, in representations of the Arab world online.


  • Hammett, D., Twyman, C. and Graham, M. (2014) Research and fieldwork in development.
  • Graham, M. and Dutton, W. (2014) Society and the Internet How Networks of Information and Communication are Changing Our Lives. Oxford University Press, USA.
  • Graham, M., Hale, S. and Stephens, M. (2011) Geographies of the World's Knowledge.


  • Ford, H. and Graham, M. (2016) "Semantic Cities: Coded Geopolitics and the Rise of the Semantic Web" In: Code and the City Kitchin, R. and Perng, S.-.Y. (eds.). London: Routledge. 200-214.
  • Allagui, I., Graham, M. and Hogan, B. (2015) "Wikipedia Arabe et la Construction Collective du Savoir (Wikipedia Arabic and the Collective Construction of Knowledge)" In: Wikipedia, objet scientifique non identifie Barbe, L., Merzeau, L. and Schafer, V. (eds.). Paris: Presses Universitaries du Paris Ouest. 177-194.
  • Poorthuis, A., Zook, M., Shelton, T., Graham, M. and Stephens, M. (2014) "Using Geotagged Digital Social Data in Geographic Research" In: Key Methods in Geography Clifford, N., French, S., Cope, M. and Gillespie, T. (eds.). London: Sage. 248-269.
  • Graham, M. (2013) "Reaching Audiences Through Blogs and Social Media" In: Publishing and Getting Read: A Guide for Researchers in Geography Blunt, A. and Souch, C. (eds.). Royal Geographical Society.
  • Haarstad, H. and Graham, M. (2012) "Global production patterns" In: 21st Century Geography: A Reference Handbook. 411-422.
  • Graham, M. (2011) "Wiki space: palimpsests and the politics of exclusion" In: Critical Point of View: A Wikipedia Reader Lovink, G. and Tkacz, N. (eds.). Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures. 269-282.
  • Graham, M. (2011) "Cultural Brokers, the Internet, and Value Chains" In: The Cultural Wealth of Nations Wherry, F. and Bandelj, N. (eds.). Stanford: Stanford University Press. 222-239.
  • Graham, M. (2011) "Cloud collaboration: peer-production and the engineering of the internet" In: Engineering Earth Brunn, S. (eds.). New York: Springer. 67-83.
  • Zook, M., Graham, M. and Shelton, T. (2010) "The Presidential Placemark Poll" In: Atlas of the 2008 Election Brunn, S. (eds.).
  • Graham, M., Shelton, T. and Zook, M. (2010) "Map of U.S. Abortion Providers and Alternatives" In: Mapping America: Exploring the Continent Kessler, F.C. and Jacobs, F. (eds.). Black Dog Publishing. 140-141.
  • Brunn, S., Ghose, R. and Graham, M. (2008) "Cities of the Future and the Future of Cities" In: Cities of the World Brunn, S., Hays-Mitchell, M. and Ziegler, D. (eds.). Rowman and Littlefield. 565-613.
  • Zook, M. and Graham, M. (2007) "From Cyberspace to DigiPlace: Visibility in an Age of Information and Mobility" In: Societies and Cities in the Age of Instant Access Miller, H.J. (eds.). 231-244.
  • Graham, M. "Die welt in der Wikipedia AIs politik der exklusion: palimpseste des ortes und selective darstellung" In: Wikipedia Lampe, S. and Baumer, P. (eds.). Bonn: Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung/bpb.
  • Zook, M. and Graham, M. "Wal-Mart Nation: Mapping the Reach of a Retail Colossus" In: Wal-Mart World Brunn, S. (eds.). 15-25.

Conference papers

  • Wood, A., Graham, M., Lehdonvirta, V., Barnard, H. and Hjorth, I. (2016) "Virtual Production Networks: Fixing Commodification and Disembeddedness", Development Studies Association 2016.
  • Ojanpera, S., Graham, M., Straumann, R. and De Sabbata, S. (2016) "Measuring the Contours of the Global Knowledge Economy with a Digital Index", Development Studies Association Conference.
  • Wood, A., Graham, M. and Lehdonvirta, V. (2016) "The new frontier of outsourcing: online labour markets and the consequences for poverty in the Global South.", Work, Employment and Society Conference. SAGE Publications (UK and US).
  • Smart, C., Donner, J. and Graham, M. (2016) "Connecting the world from the sky": Spatial discourses around Internet access in the developing world", ACM International Conference Proceeding Series. 03-06-June-2016.
  • Wood, A., Graham, M., Lehdonvirta, V., Barnard, H. and Hjorth, I. (2016) "Virtual Production Networks: Fixing Commodification and Disembeddedness", GPNs and social upgrading: labour and beyond - Workshop.
  • Kassi, O.A., Lehdonvirta, V., Graham, M., Barnard, H. and Hjorth, I. (2016) “Not a Lot of People Know Where It Is”: Liabilities of Origin in Online Contract Work. Collective Intelligence, NYU, New York, 31 May – 2 September 2016.
  • Sen, S.W., Ford, H., Musicant, D.R., Graham, M., Keyes, O.S.B. and Hecht, B. (2015) "Barriers to the localness of volunteered geographic information", Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings. 2015-April 197-206.
  • Lehdonvirta, V., Barnard, H., Graham, M. and Hjorth, I. (2014) "Online labour markets - levelling the playing field for international service markets?", IPP2014: Crowdsourcing for Politics and Policy conference, University of Oxford,.
  • Zook, M., Graham, M. and Shelton, T. (2011) "Analyzing global cyberscapes: Mapping geo-coded Internet information", ACM International Conference Proceeding Series. 522-530.

Journal articles



  • Zook, M., Shelton, T., Poorthuis, A., Donohue, R., Wilson, M., Graham, M. and Stephens, M. (2015) What would a floating sheep map?. Lexington, KY: Oves Natantes Press.

Internet publications

  • Graham, M. and Wood, A. (2016) Why the digital gig economy needs co-ops and unions. openDemocracy.
  • ICT and Development

    Introducing the debates and practices surrounding ICT uses in the Global South and Global North, drawing on Anthropology, Development Studies, Economics, Geography and History to examine the theoretical and conceptual frameworks that underpin development.