Latest Posts

Where is the world’s most ‘godless’ city? – The Guardian

Where is the world’s most ‘godless’ city?
The Guardian
In England, a census data visualisation tool developed by Oliver O’Brien at UCL’s Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, revealed a clear split between neighbours Bradford and Leeds. Beyond the big numbers, the intensity of religious practice may matter …

and more »

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International Congress on Agent Computing

Between the 29th and 30th of November, the International Congress on Agent Computing was held at George Mason University. It was organized to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the publication of Growing Artificial Societies by Robert Axtell and Joshua Epstein. The congress brought together a great line up of interdisciplinary keynote speakers: Brian Arthur, Mike Batty, Stuart Kauffman and  David Krakauer and a  panel discussion entitled “Barriers to Progress in Agent Computing—Technical and Social” with Chris Barrett, Steven Kimbrough, Blake LeBaron, Dawn ParkerFlaminio Squazzoni and Leigh Tesfatsion. Along with the keynotes and there panel there were also over 19 posters and 59 presentations which showcased and demonstrated the theme of the congress, that of the:
“explosive growth of agent modeling over the past two decades in the social sciences, in business and government, and related areas, and offer a tour d’horizon of its present state and myriad applications. Looking forward, we will identify challenges and opportunities — Hilbert Problems, if you will — to shape the future of agent-based computational modeling.”

Joshua Epstein and Robert Axtell presenting their works.

Josh and Rob each gave really impressive talks entitled “Agent-­based modeling: From Napkins to Nations” and “The Adoption of Agent Computing over Time by Social Scientists as Compared to Game Theory and Experimental/ Behavioral Economics” respectively. Which reflected how agent computing has evolved over the last 20 years with plenty of funny anecdotes along the way including references and critiques of their works such as “masculine gods of their cyberspace creations” and where the field is going.
What really impressed me about the congress was the atmosphere. That of like minded individuals from many different disciplines coming together and discussing agent computing, complexity and modeling more generally.  Some of this can be seen via photos and tweets of the event.
Alison Heppenstall, Nick Malleson and myslef also participated at the congress with a talk entitled “ABM for Simulating Spatial Systems: How are we doing?” which assessed how has agent-based modeling within the geographical sciences advanced over the last 20 years. Below one can read a brief outline of the talk and a movie of presentation.

Abstract:

While great advances in modeling have been made, one of the greatest challenges we face is that of understanding human behavior and how people perceive and behave in physical spaces. Can new sources of data (i.e. “big data”) be used to explore the connections between people and places?   In this paper we will review of the current state of art of modeling geographical systems.  We highlight the challenges and opportunities through a series of examples that new data can be used to better understand and simulate how individuals behave within geographical systems.

Key Words: Agent-based Modeling, Geographical Information Science, Networks, Cities, Geographical Systems.

Reference:

Heppenstall, A., Crooks A.T. and Malleson, N. (2016), ABM for Simulating Spatial Systems: How are we doing? International Congress on Agent Computing, 29th-30th, November, Fairfax, VA.

The Growth of Geographical  ABM (selected examples).

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International Congress on Agent Computing

Between the 29th and 30th of November, the International Congress on Agent Computing was held at George Mason University. It was organized to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the publication of Growing Artificial Societies by Robert Axtell and Joshua Epstein. The congress brought together a great line up of interdisciplinary keynote speakers: Brian Arthur, Mike Batty, Stuart Kauffman and  David Krakauer and a  panel discussion entitled “Barriers to Progress in Agent Computing—Technical and Social” with Chris Barrett, Steven Kimbrough, Blake LeBaron, Dawn ParkerFlaminio Squazzoni and Leigh Tesfatsion. Along with the keynotes and there panel there were also over 19 posters and 59 presentations which showcased and demonstrated the theme of the congress, that of the:
“explosive growth of agent modeling over the past two decades in the social sciences, in business and government, and related areas, and offer a tour d’horizon of its present state and myriad applications. Looking forward, we will identify challenges and opportunities — Hilbert Problems, if you will — to shape the future of agent-based computational modeling.”

Joshua Epstein and Robert Axtell presenting their works.

Josh and Rob each gave really impressive talks entitled “Agent-­based modeling: From Napkins to Nations” and “The Adoption of Agent Computing over Time by Social Scientists as Compared to Game Theory and Experimental/ Behavioral Economics” respectively. Which reflected how agent computing has evolved over the last 20 years with plenty of funny anecdotes along the way including references and critiques of their works such as “masculine gods of their cyberspace creations” and where the field is going.
What really impressed me about the congress was the atmosphere. That of like minded individuals from many different disciplines coming together and discussing agent computing, complexity and modeling more generally.  Some of this can be seen via photos and tweets of the event.
Alison Heppenstall, Nick Malleson and myslef also participated at the congress with a talk entitled “ABM for Simulating Spatial Systems: How are we doing?” which assessed how has agent-based modeling within the geographical sciences advanced over the last 20 years. Below one can read a brief outline of the talk and a movie of presentation.

Abstract:

While great advances in modeling have been made, one of the greatest challenges we face is that of understanding human behavior and how people perceive and behave in physical spaces. Can new sources of data (i.e. “big data”) be used to explore the connections between people and places?   In this paper we will review of the current state of art of modeling geographical systems.  We highlight the challenges and opportunities through a series of examples that new data can be used to better understand and simulate how individuals behave within geographical systems.

Key Words: Agent-based Modeling, Geographical Information Science, Networks, Cities, Geographical Systems.

Reference:

Heppenstall, A., Crooks A.T. and Malleson, N. (2016), ABM for Simulating Spatial Systems: How are we doing? International Congress on Agent Computing, 29th-30th, November, Fairfax, VA.

The Growth of Geographical  ABM (selected examples).

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Lives on the Line v2: Estimated Life Expectancy by Small Areas

I’ve produced an updated version of a graphic that my colleague Dr James Cheshire created a few years ago, showing how the estimated life expectancy at birth various throughout the capital, using a geographical tube map to illustrate the sometimes short-distance changes. You can see an interactive version on my tube data visualisation platform. Click … Continue reading Lives on the Line v2: Estimated Life Expectancy by Small Areas

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The Potential of Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) in Future Transport Systems

An aspect of collaborative projects is that they start slowly, and as they become effective and productive, they reached their end! The COST Energic (European Network for Research into Geographic Information Crowdsourcing) led to many useful activities, with some of them leading to academic papers. From COST Energic, we’ve got the European Handbook on Crowdsourced Geographic … Continue reading The Potential of Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) in Future Transport Systems

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Smart Mobility Meeting in Mexico City

Below is a presentation that combined my talks last Thursday and Friday at the Smart Mobility forums in central Mexico City, organised by ITDP Mexico and funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Prosperity Fund (respresented by the British Embassy in Mexico). The Thursday presentation focused on the third-party app ecosystem that exists around bikesharing … Continue reading Smart Mobility Meeting in Mexico City

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Walk with Me Maps – Dalston & Stoke Newington

wwm_dalston_2_1024x1024

This is one of seven London neighborhood maps, each drawn by different artists from the University of the Arts London and recently released by the Walk with Me project. This map, of Dalston and Stoke Newington in north-east London, was drawn by Martina Paukova. We like the distinctive shade of blue used for the map […]

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New paper: Associations for Citizen Science: Regional Knowledge, Global Collaboration

When the new journal about Citizen Science established, one of the articles that the editorial team thought should be included is a paper that describe the development of associations dedicated to the practice of citizen science. There are now several of these: the Citizen Science Association (CSA), the European Citizen Science Association (ECSA), and the … Continue reading New paper: Associations for Citizen Science: Regional Knowledge, Global Collaboration

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Does your econ department care about new ideas?

The Reteaching Economics network is a group of early-career economics teachers interested in moving the teaching of economics on from nonsense like this: to something a little bit more resembling the actual world which students expected to be finding out about when they signed up for an Economics undergraduate[1]. They are inspired by the incredible Rethinking … Continue reading “Does your econ department care about new ideas?”

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Review: London, The Information Capital

londonpacman

Mapping London’s co-founder and “Editor at Large” Dr James Cheshire co-produced “London: The Information Capital” with Oliver Uberti in 2014. We mentioned the book on its initial release. The book has this month has now been published in a softback edition by Penguin, with some minor corrections applied. If you missed out on the book […]

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Prettily vacant: the art of the Sex Pistols – in pictures – The Guardian


The Guardian
Prettily vacant: the art of the Sex Pistols – in pictures
The Guardian
A new book collects photos, posters, interviews and more in a comprehensive portrait of the Sex Pistols – the band who defined punk’s iconoclastic, rabble-rousing spirit. God Save Sex Pistols, edited by Johan Kugelberg with Jon Savage and Glenn Terry, …

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T-shirts for Trump – in pictures – The Guardian


The Guardian
T-shirts for Trump – in pictures
The Guardian
Maps show the ‘godless’ cities of England and Wales. DataShine, a new census data visualisation tool from Oliver O’Brien at UCL’s Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, shows ‘no religion’ hotspots in some cities, while others keep the faith. Published

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London: A World of Eating

worldofeating

London: A World of Eating is a little map from Herb Lester – prolific producers of quirky pocket London maps with bespoke cartography (we recently featured their Punk London map). The map, which showcases some of London’s many interesting eateries featuring food from other countries, is sold out on their own website, but copies are […]

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Taxonomy of Web Mapping Frameworks

Here’s an attempt to create a simple taxonomy of the currently active and popular web mapping frameworks available. This covers web mapping that delivers a consumer-navigable geographic “slippy” map of raster and/or vector tiles containing bespoke geographic data. Ecosystems Hosted Wrappers Managed Wrappers Managed APIs Open Frameworks Spatial Servers Server Programming MapBox Studio Carto Builder … Continue reading Taxonomy of Web Mapping Frameworks

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Big Data Here: The Code

So Big Data Here, a little pop-up exhibition of hyperlocal data, has just closed, having run continuously from Tuesday evening to this morning, as part of Big Data Week. We had many people peering through the windows of the characterful North Lodge building beside UCL’s main entrance on Gower Street, particularly during the evening rush … Continue reading Big Data Here: The Code

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Showerspass Cycling Jacket with London Map

London’s street network appears on a new cycling jacket – when you shine a light at it! Showerspass, a Portland (Oregon)-based company, has unveiled two new versions of their Elite cycling jacket – “Hi-Vis” and “Torch” versions. Both of them contain MapReflect, which is a rather brilliant idea for using a map design as a […]

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Big Data Here

The Consumer Data Research Centre (CDRC) at UCL is organising a short pop-up exhibition on hyperlocal data: Big Data Here. The exhibition is taking place in North Lodge, the small building right beside UCL’s main entrance. The exhibition materials are supplied by the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA). Inside, a big projection shows local … Continue reading Big Data Here

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Swimming with newborn whales: ‘Hey, will you play with me?’ – in pictures – The Guardian


The Guardian
Swimming with newborn whales: ‘Hey, will you play with me?’ – in pictures
The Guardian
With the humpback calving season drawing to a close, here’s a look at some of Rita Kluge’s distinctive marine photos from the south Pacific. The Sydney-based photographer tells the Guardian she fell in love with whales after witnessing southern rights

and more »

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Robert Beatty’s psychedelic visions – in pictures – The Guardian


The Guardian
Robert Beatty’s psychedelic visions – in pictures
The Guardian
DataShine, a new census data visualisation tool from Oliver O’Brien at UCL’s Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, shows ‘no religion’ hotspots in some cities, while others keep the faith. Published: 3 Jul 2014. Where do atheists live? Maps show the

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Busiest Tube Station Times

Here are the busiest tube station quarter-hour periods, based on the Transport for London 2015 RODS data (modelled, based on typical autumn weekday), used in TubeHeartbeat, adding together entries, exits and interchange stats and excluding Kensington Olympia. The main pattern shows that stations further out from London’s main work areas (The West End, the City … Continue reading Busiest Tube Station Times

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Lived Brutalism: portraits from Robin Hood Gardens housing estate – in pictures – The Guardian

Lived Brutalism: portraits from Robin Hood Gardens housing estate – in pictures
The Guardian
Since its completion in 1972, Robin Hood Gardens estate in east London has garnered much attention, due to its monumental brutalist form and, latterly, its dilapidated condition. Dismayed by the absence of the residents’ views in any coverage of the

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Every Building In Whitechapel Mapped And Described – Londonist


Londonist
Every Building In Whitechapel Mapped And Described
Londonist
You can drill down to the level of individual houses. Histories of Whitechapel is put together by The Survey of London, built by The Bartlett’s Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA), and is supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council

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2016 wildlife photographer of the year – winners in pictures – The Guardian


The Guardian
2016 wildlife photographer of the year – winners in pictures
The Guardian
American photographer Tim Laman was named winner of the prestigious annual competition for his image Entwined Lives, showing a critically endangered Bornean orangutan in the Indonesian rainforest. The award is given for a story told in just six images, …
Wildlife Photographer of the Year 52: the winners | Natural History MuseumNatural History Museum
Wildlife Photographer of the Year Book tickets to this … – Wildlife Photographer of the Year | Natural History MuseumWildlife Photographer of the Year | Natural History Museum
Gunung Palung Orangutan Conservation Program « Orangutan ConservancyOrangutan Conservancy
Wildlife Photographer of the Year
all 84 news articles »
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Modeling the Emergence of Riots: A Geosimulation Approach

As you might of guessed the paper is about riots but that is not all. In the paper we have a highly detailed cognitive model implemented through the PECS (Physical conditions, Emotional state, Cognitive capabilities, and Social status) framework based around identity theory. The purpose of the model (and paper) is to explore how the unique socioeconomic variables underlying Kibera, a slum in Nairobi, coupled with local interactions of its residents, and the spread of a rumor, may trigger a riot such as those seen in 2007. 
In order to explore this question from the “bottom up” we have developed a novel agent-based model that integrates social network analysis (SNA) and geographic information systems (GIS) for this purpose. In the paper we argue that this integration facilitates the modeling of dynamic social networks created through the agents’ daily interactions. The GIS is used to develop a realistic environment for agents to move and interact that includes a road network and points of interest which impact their daily lives.
Below is the abstract and a summary of its highlights in order to give you a sense of what our research contribution is. In addition to this we also provide some images either from the paper itself or the from Overview, Design Concepts, and Details (ODD) protocol. Finally at the bottom of this post you can see one of the simulation runs, details of where the model can be downloaded along with the full citation.

Paper Abstract:

Immediately after the 2007 Kenyan election results were announced, the country erupted in protest. Riots were particularly severe in Kibera, an informal settlement located within the nations capital, Nairobi. Through the lens of geosimulation, an agent-based model is integrated with social network analysis and geographic information systems to explore how the environment and local interactions underlying Kibera, combined with an external trigger, such as a rumor, led to the emergence of riots. We ground our model on empirical data of Kibera’s geospatial landscape, heterogeneous population, and daily activities of its residents. In order to effectively construct a model of riots, however, we must have an understanding of human behavior, especially that related to an individual’s need for identity and the role rumors play on a person’s decision to riot. This provided the foundation to develop the agents’ cognitive model, which created a feedback system between the agents’ activities in physical space and interactions in social space. Results showed that youth are more susceptible to rioting. Systematically increasing education and employment opportunities, however, did not have simple linear effects on rioting, or even on quality of life with respect to income and activities. The situation is more complex. By linking agent-based modeling, social network analysis, and geographic information systems we were able to develop a cognitive framework for the agents, better represent human behavior by modeling the interactions that occur over both physical and social space, and capture the nonlinear, reinforcing nature of the emergence and dissolution of riots.

Keywords: agent-based modeling; geographic information systems; social network analysis; riots; social influence; rumor propagation.

Paper Highlights:

  • An agent-based model integrates geographic information systems and social network analysis to model the emergence of riots. 
  • The physical environment and agent attributes are developed using empirical data, including GIS and socioeconomic data. 
  • The agent’s cognitive framework allowed for modeling their activities in physical space and interactions in social space. 
  • Through the integration of the three techniques, we were able to capture the complex, nonlinear nature of riots. 
  • Results show that youth are most vulnerable, and, increasing education and employment has nonlinear affects on rioting.

The high-level UML diagram of the model
A high-level representation of the model’s agent behavior incorporated into the PECS framework

An example of the evolution of social networks of ten Residents across the first two days of a simulation run.

The movie below shows the agent-based model which explores ethnic clashes in the Kenyan slum. The environment is made up of households, businesses, and service facilities (such data comes from OpenStreetMap). Agents within the model use a transportation network to move across the environment. As agents go about their daily activities, they interact with other agents – building out an evolving social network. Agents seek to meet their identity standard. Failure to reach their identity standard increases the agents frustration which can lead to an aggressive response (i.e. moving from blue to red color) such as rioting.

As with many of our models, we provide the data, model code and detailed model description in the form of the ODD protocol for others to use, learn more or to extend. Click here for more information.

Full Reference:

Pires, B. and Crooks, A.T. (2017), Modeling the Emergence of Riots: A Geosimulation Approach, Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, 61: 66-80. (pdf)

As normal, any thoughts or comments are most appreciated.
 

Continue reading »

Modeling the Emergence of Riots: A Geosimulation Approach

As you might of guessed the paper is about riots but that is not all. In the paper we have a highly detailed cognitive model implemented through the PECS (Physical conditions, Emotional state, Cognitive capabilities, and Social status) framework based around identity theory. The purpose of the model (and paper) is to explore how the unique socioeconomic variables underlying Kibera, a slum in Nairobi, coupled with local interactions of its residents, and the spread of a rumor, may trigger a riot such as those seen in 2007. 
In order to explore this question from the “bottom up” we have developed a novel agent-based model that integrates social network analysis (SNA) and geographic information systems (GIS) for this purpose. In the paper we argue that this integration facilitates the modeling of dynamic social networks created through the agents’ daily interactions. The GIS is used to develop a realistic environment for agents to move and interact that includes a road network and points of interest which impact their daily lives.
Below is the abstract and a summary of its highlights in order to give you a sense of what our research contribution is. In addition to this we also provide some images either from the paper itself or the from Overview, Design Concepts, and Details (ODD) protocol. Finally at the bottom of this post you can see one of the simulation runs, details of where the model can be downloaded along with the full citation.

Paper Abstract:

Immediately after the 2007 Kenyan election results were announced, the country erupted in protest. Riots were particularly severe in Kibera, an informal settlement located within the nations capital, Nairobi. Through the lens of geosimulation, an agent-based model is integrated with social network analysis and geographic information systems to explore how the environment and local interactions underlying Kibera, combined with an external trigger, such as a rumor, led to the emergence of riots. We ground our model on empirical data of Kibera’s geospatial landscape, heterogeneous population, and daily activities of its residents. In order to effectively construct a model of riots, however, we must have an understanding of human behavior, especially that related to an individual’s need for identity and the role rumors play on a person’s decision to riot. This provided the foundation to develop the agents’ cognitive model, which created a feedback system between the agents’ activities in physical space and interactions in social space. Results showed that youth are more susceptible to rioting. Systematically increasing education and employment opportunities, however, did not have simple linear effects on rioting, or even on quality of life with respect to income and activities. The situation is more complex. By linking agent-based modeling, social network analysis, and geographic information systems we were able to develop a cognitive framework for the agents, better represent human behavior by modeling the interactions that occur over both physical and social space, and capture the nonlinear, reinforcing nature of the emergence and dissolution of riots.

Keywords: agent-based modeling; geographic information systems; social network analysis; riots; social influence; rumor propagation.

Paper Highlights:

  • An agent-based model integrates geographic information systems and social network analysis to model the emergence of riots. 
  • The physical environment and agent attributes are developed using empirical data, including GIS and socioeconomic data. 
  • The agent’s cognitive framework allowed for modeling their activities in physical space and interactions in social space. 
  • Through the integration of the three techniques, we were able to capture the complex, nonlinear nature of riots. 
  • Results show that youth are most vulnerable, and, increasing education and employment has nonlinear affects on rioting.

The high-level UML diagram of the model
A high-level representation of the model’s agent behavior incorporated into the PECS framework

An example of the evolution of social networks of ten Residents across the first two days of a simulation run.

The movie below shows the agent-based model which explores ethnic clashes in the Kenyan slum. The environment is made up of households, businesses, and service facilities (such data comes from OpenStreetMap). Agents within the model use a transportation network to move across the environment. As agents go about their daily activities, they interact with other agents – building out an evolving social network. Agents seek to meet their identity standard. Failure to reach their identity standard increases the agents frustration which can lead to an aggressive response (i.e. moving from blue to red color) such as rioting.

As with many of our models, we provide the data, model code and detailed model description in the form of the ODD protocol for others to use, learn more or to extend. Click here for more information.

Full Reference:

Pires, B. and Crooks, A.T. (2017), Modeling the Emergence of Riots: A Geosimulation Approach, Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, 61: 66-80. (pdf)

As normal, any thoughts or comments are most appreciated.
 

Continue reading »

Curiocity

curiocity1

Curiocity is a weighty tome, written by Henry Eliot and Matt Lloyd-Rose and published recently by Particular Books. The book follows on from a short, alphabetically organised series of pocket maps, some of which that we featured (C) a few years ago (D). This is a book which certainly delivers on its back-cover promise to […]

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