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Dr Martin Dittus

Former Data Scientist at the OII

Dr Martin Dittus

Former Data Scientist at the OII


Martin Dittus worked as a Data Scientist at the OII between 2017 and 2020. He is a digital geographer and data scientist with more than a decade of experience in social computing, mass-participation platforms, digital geography, and big data. In his research he applies quantitative and statistical methods, augmented with deep domain understanding, to analyse and visualise emerging online practices at large scale.

Together with Mark Graham he researched the information geographies of Wikipedia, Google Maps, and other large online knowledge platforms. Which places in the world are represented on these sites, and who in the world participates in the creation of this knowledge? How equitable are the processes that shape it, and which populations are left out? Previously he researched the economic geography of darknet markets, collecting and analysing market data to better understand what kind of trading takes place where in the world.

Martin has worked with a wide range of online platforms and community organisations as a researcher, organiser and facilitator. He has produced research for the Humanitarian OpenStreetmap Team, a large crowdsourcing community where volunteers produce maps for humanitarian purposes; and for Cosm (formerly Pachube), one of the first crowdsourced platforms for DIY environmental sensing. He is a trustee of Local Welcome, a brand new charity building community and solidarity in the 21st century. Previously he was a trustee at the London Hackspace, a non-profit community workshop space which grew from a meet-up to a large volunteer organisation with 1,200 members and growing. From 2006, he was employed as a software developer and project manager at, an online music platform with millions of participants, and one of the first commercial users of modern big data technologies.

In 2017 and 2018, his research was awarded Honorable Mention at the ACM conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), in recognition of the quality of his work, and its significance for the field.

Research Interests

Mass-participation platforms, community engagement, social implications of internet technology.

Positions at the OII

  • Data Scientist at the OII, May 2017 - August 2020


Integrity Statement

My current research on the state of the internet’s languages is funded by non-profit Whose Knowledge?. My research on the information geography of Wikipedia and Google Maps in 2018-2020 was funded by the Leverhulme Trust. Previous research on the economic geography of darknet marketplaces was funded by The Alan Turing Institute and Google from 2017-2018. My PhD on community engagement in crowdsourced mapping was funded by the EPSRC and Intel from 2013-2017. I received a salary by Nokia Bell Labs in Cambridge, U.K. for three months in 2016 to produce research on community engagement techniques in online and offline settings. I am an unpaid advisor to several small startups and non-profits, and a trustee of the U.K. charity Local Welcome CIO.




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