#DiSTOsurvey and other projects show striking inequalities between neighbourhoods within large metropolitan areas in engagement with the digital world that cannot be explained satisfactorily by individual factors such as age, education, and gender or access and skills. Network effects and socio-cultural factors at local community level could be as if not more important in explaining these socio-digital inequalities. This is the starting point of the #DiSTOmap projects.

Using the framework developed for #DiSTOsurvey, these heatmap projects visualise social and digital exclusion at a local level. They take data related to social exclusion from a number of recognised data resources that are added to and iterated on over time, such as health, education, age, and employment. Other industry and national survey data sources are used to generate lower level geographic indicators for digital infrastructure, access, use, and skills. The composite measures for social and digital exclusion are designed by Professor Ellen Helsper at the London School of Economics and Political Science.


In 2015, the first heatmap of exclusion in a digital Britain (2nd map published in 2017) which made clear that there is a need for more fine grained data at a local level in large urban areas. This led to calls for further research and mapping of neighbourhoods in metropolitan areas with high levels of inequality and diversity in their populations. Currently mapping of traditional and digital inequalities of large metropolitan areas is underway in the US (LA, Chicago, NYC), Brazil (São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro), and the UK (London).  Mapping projects are also in the pipeline for  Chile (Santiago), Uruguay (Montevideo), Kuwait and China (Shanghai).

#DiSTOmap projects aim to:

  • Visualise levels of local digital and social exclusion for policy-makers and influencers to drive engagement, action and funding to combat inequalities
  • Generate a debate and a greater understanding of the network and community aspects of the links between social and digital inequalities in academia and in those involved in designing and evaluating socio-digital inequality initiatives.
  • Create innovative methods and tools that aid researchers, policy makers and stakeholders in improving their thinking and practise.
  • Provide a tool for delivery organisations to target their activity more effectively and efficiently in increasingly digital societies.

Maps and methodology


Los Angeles, USA

Link to map of Socio-digital inequalities in Los Angeles.




Madrid, Spain

Link to map of socio-digital inequalities in Madrid

DiSTO Spain


São Paulo, Brazil

Link to map of Digital inequalities in São Paulo

DiSTO Brazil


United Kingdom 

Link to 2015 and 2017 Maps of exclusion in a Digital Britain