Stefano’s work at the Oxford Internet Institute focuses on the analysis and visualisation of the geographies of the Internet. The project aims to study the contemporary geographies of knowledge and the ways that those information landscapes are changing over time. In particular, he is interested in studying how geography influences information access, production, and representation, and how geographic places are discussed and represented on the Internet.

Stefano’s PhD project at GIVA unit of the University of Zurich aimed to develop a generic approach to the abstract problem of the assessment of Geographic Relevance. This is a rather recent concept that can be defined as a quality of an entity in geographic space or its representation in an information system, i.e. an object, document, or image. This quality is expressed as the relation between an entity (or its representation) and the actual context of using the representation. More pragmatically, Geographic Relevance aims to assess the relevance of an object that is a representation of a geographic entity within a computer system or information database. This object can be a collection of documents or an entry in a database describing a point of interest. Still, even if the object is a single document, the objective is to approximate the relevance of the entity, not to judge the relevance of a geo-referenced document or a document reporting geographic information. Considering this facet, Geographic Relevance is rather far from the current understanding that underlies Geographic IR, Mobile IR and IR systems in general.

Research interests

Internet geographies, geographic relevance, information retrieval, location-based services, data mining

Positions held at the OII

  • Research Associate, October 2015 –
  • Researcher, May 2013 – September 2015


Past projects

  • GeoNet: Changing Connectivities and the Potentials of Sub-Saharan Africa’s Knowledge Economy

    Participants: Professor Mark Graham, Dr Stefano De Sabbata, Nicolas Friederici, Dr Christopher Foster, Sanna Ojanperä, Dr Mohammad Amir Anwar, Dr Fabian Braesemann, Michel Wahome

    This research project is examining the geographies, drivers, and effects of Sub-Saharan Africa's emerging information economies at a time of changing connectivity and Internet access across the region.

  • Internet Geographies: Data Shadows and Digital Divisions of Labour

    Participants: Professor Mark Graham, Joshua Melville, Dr Stefano De Sabbata

    This project maps and measures the geographies of information on the Internet.

  • Urban Data 2 Decide

    Participants: Dr Stefano De Sabbata, Dr Jonathan Bright, Dr Bharath Ganesh

    Urban decision makers are nowadays faced with both unprecedented challenges as well as new opportunities as the environment around them grows ever more complex.


  • Geographies of Knowledge in Wikipedia

    Recorded: 15 January 2016

    Duration: 00:13:12

    Presentation on Stefano De Sabbata's Wikipedia research, on the occasion of Wikipedia's 15th Birthday.

  • Stefano De Sabbata: The Illustrated Web

    Recorded: 30 March 2014

    Duration: 00:09:18

    Stefano De Sabbata shares his visualizations (with Mark Graham) that reveal certain information / behavioral patterns on the Internet which have important political implications.