Roger Tomlinson’s PhD: The first in GIS

The late Roger Tomlinson is considered the “Father of Geographic Information Systems” and he completed his PhD in the UCL Department of Geography in 1974. Tomlinson pioneered digital mapping – every map created using a computer today still uses the principles he laid down in his thesis and its associated work creating the “The Canada Geographic […]

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Mapping 5,000 Years of City Growth

I recently stumbled upon a great dataset. It’s the first to provide comprehensive data for world city sizes as far back as 3700BC. The authors (Meredith Reba, Femke Reitsma & Karen Seto) write: How were cities distributed globally in the past? How many people lived in these cities? How did cities influence their local and regional […]

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The Full Stack: Tools & Processes for Urban Data Scientists

Recently, I was asked to give talks at both UCL’s CASA and the ETH Future Cities Lab in Singapore for students and staff new to ‘urban data science’ and the sorts of workflows involved in collecting, processing, analysing, and reporting on … Continue reading 

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7 Deadly Sins of (Academic) Data Visualisation

I was recently asked to deliver a days training on scientific data visualisation. I spent a while scanning through papers to pull out what I see as the “7 deadly sins” of academic data visualisation (there are probably many more) . These sins are rooted in a lack of time and training, an underestimation of the importance […]

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Graduate Mobility and Closing the Productivity Gap for UK Cities

There has been much discussion in recent years about the UK ‘productivity puzzle’: the shortfall in productivity between the UK and comparable EU states like Germany and France, with this gap widening in the last decade. One important perspective for understanding productivity relates to skills and education, and how well graduate skills are integrated with businesses and are helping … Continue reading Graduate Mobility and Closing the Productivity Gap for UK Cities

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Environment & Planning Featured Graphic: World City Populations Time-Series Map

The World City Populations Interactive Map is now available as a static map, and has been published as a Featured Graphic in Environment and Planning A. The EPA article includes details on the UN World Urbanization Prospects data, and the methods used to create the map. For a high resolution version of the static map, click below-

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New Paper- Online Interactive Mapping: Applications and Techniques for Socio-Economic Research

I have a new paper published in Computers Environment and Urban Systems- Online interactive thematic mapping: applications and techniques for socio-economic research. The paper reviews workflows for creating online thematic maps, and describes how several leading interactive mapping sites were created. The paper is open access so you can download the pdf for free. The paper…

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Mapping Protest in 3D with Twitter Data




As one part of my docotoral thesis, I have made the video that shows the relationship between ‘London End Austerity Now’ Protest on 20thJune 2015 and the Twitter acitivity on that day.

The video gives you some details about the protest, the data and 3D visualisation.
If the following YouTube video is not displayed on your device, please use this link. 





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Mapping Protest in 3D with Twitter Data




As one part of my docotoral thesis, I have made the video that shows the relationship between ‘London End Austerity Now’ Protest on 20thJune 2015 and the Twitter acitivity on that day.

The video gives you some details about the protest, the data and 3D visualisation.
If the following YouTube video is not displayed on your device, please use this link. 





Continue reading »

Building Centre – from Mapping to Making

The London based Building Centre organised an evening event – from Mapping to Making –  which looked at the “radical evolution in the making and meaning of maps is influencing creative output. New approaches to data capture and integration – from drones to crowd-sourcing – suggest maps are changing their impact on our working life, … Continue reading Building Centre – from Mapping to Making

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Mapping London’s Twitter Activity in 3d

Image 1. The tweet density from 8am to 4pm on 20th June 2015, Central London




Twitter Mapping is increasingly useful method to link virtual activities and geographical space. Geo-tagged data attached to tweets containing the users’ location where they tweeted and it can visualise the locations of users on the map. Although the number of the geo-taggedtweets is a relatively small portion of all tweets, we can figure out the density, spatial patterns and other invisible relationships between online and offline.


Recently, studies with geo-tagged tweets have been developed to analyse the public response tospecific urban events, natural disasters and regional characteristics (Li et al., 2013) [1].  Furthermore, it is extending to traditional urban research topics, for example, revealing spatial segregation and inequality in cities (Shelton et al., 2015) [2].

 

Twitter mapping in 3D can augment 2d visualisation by providing built environment contexts and improved information. There are many examples of Twitter mapping in 3d such as A) #interactive/Andes [3] , B) London’s Twitter Island [4], C) Mapping London in real time, using Tweets [5]. A) and B) build up 3d mountains of the geo-tagged tweet on the map.  In the case of C), when the geo-tagged tweets are sent in the city, the heights of nearest buildings increase in the 3d model. These examples are creative and show different ways to view the integrated environments.

From a Networking City’s view, if we make a Twitter visualisation more tangible in a 3d urban model, it would help us to have a better understanding how urban environments are interconnected with the invisible media flow.

 

To make the visualisation, the Twitter data has been collected by using Big Data Toolkit developed by Steven Gray at CASA, UCL. All 53,750 geo-tagged tweets are collected on 20thJune, 2015 across the UK. As we can see from Table 1, the number of tweets was at the lowest point at 5am and reached to the highest point at 10pm with 3495 tweets. Moreover, Video 1 shows the location of the data in the UK and London on that day in real time.

 


Table 1. The Number of Geo-Coded Tweets in the UK on 20th June, 2015

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dg-2VlVfFaM



Video 1. The location of Geo-Coded Tweets in the UK on 20th June, 2015



When we calculate the density of the data, London, particularly Central London, contains the largest number of the tweets. (Image 2)

 

 

 

Image 2. The density of Geo-Coded Tweets in the UK on 20th June, 2015

In order to focus on the high density data, 6 km x 3.5 km area of Central London is chosen for the 3d model. Buildings, bridges, roads and other natural environments of the part of London have been set in the model based on OS Building Heights data[6]. Some Google 3d warehouse buildings are added to represent important landmark buildings like St.Pauls, London Eye and Tower Bridge as you can see from Image 3, Image 4 and Image 5.

 

 

Image 3. The plan view of Central London model

Image 4. The perspective view of Central London model

Image 5. The perspective view of Central London model (view from BT Tower)

The geo-tagged data set is divided into one hour periodsand distributed on the map to identify the tweet density in the area. Through this process, we can see how the density is changing depending on the time period. For example, the tweets are mainly concentrated around Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square between 10am and 11am, but  there are two high-density areas between 12pm and 1pm (See Image 6, Image 7, Image 8 and Image 9)

Image 6. The tweet density between 10am and 11am on 20th June 2015

Image 7. The tweet density between 12pm and 1pm on 20th June 2015

Image 8. The tweet density from 12am to 12pm

Image 9. The tweet density from 12pm to Midnight

 


 

As we’ve seen above, the 2d mapping is useful to understand the relative density in one period such as which area is high and which area is low between 12pm and 1pm. However, we cannot understand the degree of intensity in the highest peak areas. It is believed that 3d mapping is needed at this stage. We can clearly see the density of the tweet data in each periodand the intensity of the tweet density across the time periods from Image 10 to Image 14.

West End area shows high density throughout the whole day but City area shows the peak only during lunch time. This pattern likely relates to the activities of office workers in City and leisure/tourist in West End.

Image 10. The tweet density in 3d between 10am and 11am on 20th June 2015

Image 11. The tweet density in 3d between 12pm and 1pm on 20th June 2015

 

Image 12. The tweet density in 3d from 12am to 8pm

Image 13. The tweet density in 3d from 8am to 4pm

Image 14. The tweet density from 4pm to Midnight

 

 

 ________________________________________

[1] Linna Li , Michael F. Goodchild & Bo Xu (2013) Spatial, temporal, and socioeconomic patterns in the use of Twitter and Flickr, Cartography and Geographic Information Science, 40:2, 61-77

 

[2] Taylor Shelton, Ate Poorthuis & Matthew Zook (2015) Social Media and the City: Rethinking Urban Socio-Spatial Inequality Using User-Generated Geographic Information, Landscape and Urban Planning (Forthcoming), http://papers.ssrn.com/abstract=2571757

 

[3] Nicolas Belmonte, #interactive/Andes,   http://twitter.github.io/interactive/andes/  (Strived on 15th August 2015)

 

[4] Andy Hudson-Smith, London’s Twitter Island – From ArcGIS to Max to Lumion, http://www.digitalurban.org/2012/01/londons-twitter-island-from-arcgis-to.html#comment-7314


(Strived on 15thAugust 2015)

 
[5] Stephan Hugel and Flora Roumpani, Mapping London in real time, using Tweets, https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=3fk_qxGZWFQ (Strived on 15th August 2015)

[6] OS Building Heights-Digimap Home Page  http://digimap.edina.ac.uk/webhelp/os/data_information/os_products/os_building_heights.htm  (Strived on 15th August 2015)

 

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Mapping London’s Twitter Activity in 3d

Image 1. The tweet density from 8am to 4pm on 20th June 2015, Central London




Twitter Mapping is increasingly useful method to link virtual activities and geographical space. Geo-tagged data attached to tweets containing the users’ location where they tweeted and it can visualise the locations of users on the map. Although the number of the geo-taggedtweets is a relatively small portion of all tweets, we can figure out the density, spatial patterns and other invisible relationships between online and offline.


Recently, studies with geo-tagged tweets have been developed to analyse the public response tospecific urban events, natural disasters and regional characteristics (Li et al., 2013) [1].  Furthermore, it is extending to traditional urban research topics, for example, revealing spatial segregation and inequality in cities (Shelton et al., 2015) [2].

 

Twitter mapping in 3D can augment 2d visualisation by providing built environment contexts and improved information. There are many examples of Twitter mapping in 3d such as A) #interactive/Andes [3] , B) London’s Twitter Island [4], C) Mapping London in real time, using Tweets [5]. A) and B) build up 3d mountains of the geo-tagged tweet on the map.  In the case of C), when the geo-tagged tweets are sent in the city, the heights of nearest buildings increase in the 3d model. These examples are creative and show different ways to view the integrated environments.

From a Networking City’s view, if we make a Twitter visualisation more tangible in a 3d urban model, it would help us to have a better understanding how urban environments are interconnected with the invisible media flow.

 

To make the visualisation, the Twitter data has been collected by using Big Data Toolkit developed by Steven Gray at CASA, UCL. All 53,750 geo-tagged tweets are collected on 20thJune, 2015 across the UK. As we can see from Table 1, the number of tweets was at the lowest point at 5am and reached to the highest point at 10pm with 3495 tweets. Moreover, Video 1 shows the location of the data in the UK and London on that day in real time.

 


Table 1. The Number of Geo-Coded Tweets in the UK on 20th June, 2015

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dg-2VlVfFaM



Video 1. The location of Geo-Coded Tweets in the UK on 20th June, 2015



When we calculate the density of the data, London, particularly Central London, contains the largest number of the tweets. (Image 2)

 

 

 

Image 2. The density of Geo-Coded Tweets in the UK on 20th June, 2015

In order to focus on the high density data, 6 km x 3.5 km area of Central London is chosen for the 3d model. Buildings, bridges, roads and other natural environments of the part of London have been set in the model based on OS Building Heights data[6]. Some Google 3d warehouse buildings are added to represent important landmark buildings like St.Pauls, London Eye and Tower Bridge as you can see from Image 3, Image 4 and Image 5.

 

 

Image 3. The plan view of Central London model

Image 4. The perspective view of Central London model

Image 5. The perspective view of Central London model (view from BT Tower)

The geo-tagged data set is divided into one hour periodsand distributed on the map to identify the tweet density in the area. Through this process, we can see how the density is changing depending on the time period. For example, the tweets are mainly concentrated around Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square between 10am and 11am, but  there are two high-density areas between 12pm and 1pm (See Image 6, Image 7, Image 8 and Image 9)

Image 6. The tweet density between 10am and 11am on 20th June 2015

Image 7. The tweet density between 12pm and 1pm on 20th June 2015

Image 8. The tweet density from 12am to 12pm

Image 9. The tweet density from 12pm to Midnight

 


 

As we’ve seen above, the 2d mapping is useful to understand the relative density in one period such as which area is high and which area is low between 12pm and 1pm. However, we cannot understand the degree of intensity in the highest peak areas. It is believed that 3d mapping is needed at this stage. We can clearly see the density of the tweet data in each periodand the intensity of the tweet density across the time periods from Image 10 to Image 14.

West End area shows high density throughout the whole day but City area shows the peak only during lunch time. This pattern likely relates to the activities of office workers in City and leisure/tourist in West End.

Image 10. The tweet density in 3d between 10am and 11am on 20th June 2015

Image 11. The tweet density in 3d between 12pm and 1pm on 20th June 2015

 

Image 12. The tweet density in 3d from 12am to 8pm

Image 13. The tweet density in 3d from 8am to 4pm

Image 14. The tweet density from 4pm to Midnight

 

 

 ________________________________________

[1] Linna Li , Michael F. Goodchild & Bo Xu (2013) Spatial, temporal, and socioeconomic patterns in the use of Twitter and Flickr, Cartography and Geographic Information Science, 40:2, 61-77

 

[2] Taylor Shelton, Ate Poorthuis & Matthew Zook (2015) Social Media and the City: Rethinking Urban Socio-Spatial Inequality Using User-Generated Geographic Information, Landscape and Urban Planning (Forthcoming), http://papers.ssrn.com/abstract=2571757

 

[3] Nicolas Belmonte, #interactive/Andes,   http://twitter.github.io/interactive/andes/  (Strived on 15th August 2015)

 

[4] Andy Hudson-Smith, London’s Twitter Island – From ArcGIS to Max to Lumion, http://www.digitalurban.org/2012/01/londons-twitter-island-from-arcgis-to.html#comment-7314


(Strived on 15thAugust 2015)

 
[5] Stephan Hugel and Flora Roumpani, Mapping London in real time, using Tweets, https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=3fk_qxGZWFQ (Strived on 15th August 2015)

[6] OS Building Heights-Digimap Home Page  http://digimap.edina.ac.uk/webhelp/os/data_information/os_products/os_building_heights.htm  (Strived on 15th August 2015)

 

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History of Telephony: Funded PhD Award with King’s College London, BT and the Science Museum Group

Applications are invited for an AHRC-funded doctoral student to join King’s College London, BT Archives, and the Science Museum Group in late September 2015 or early January 2016 to investigate the impact of the telephone landline network on British society … Continue reading 

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Happy 10th Birthday, OpenStreetMap!

Today, OpenStreetMap celebrates 10 years of operation as counted from the date of registration. I’ve heard about the project when it was in early stages, mostly because I knew Steve Coast when I was studying for my Ph.D. at UCL.  As a result, I was also able to secured the first ever research grant that focused […]

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GIS Course Note 02: Research Application, Software and Data Sources

The second lecture of GIS comprised mainly three parts, the examples of practical research by using GIS, GIS software and the way to gain relevant data for the research.  
In the beginning, Dr. Adam Dennett, the lecturer of CASA, informed the aim of the lecture to understand the basic elements of social science research using GIS and the diverse analytical approaches with it. He showed several example maps, which are related to population, crime, deprivation, health care, flooding, and education, and the way how to read economic, social and physical characteristics from the maps and its meaning in the projects. (Image 1)



Image 1



And then, he moved to GIS software industry which has been significantly growing. As interest and the utilisation of GIS are increasing, GIS software market is expanding almost 10% every year and now it is used in all industries and public sectors such as business, public safety, military and education. The popular GIS tools: Arc GIS, MAP Info, Quantum GIS, Pythonand R, and specific points of each tool were introduced. Also, small description of GIS cloud and online GIS tools was following. (Image 2)

Image 2

In the last part, he said of various kinds of the data and the way of gathering the data which is the key element to proceed the research. Easily, we can classify the data according to the way of gathering. On the one hand, we can use the open data, which are provided by public sectors and other organisations. On the other hand, we need to collect the data through participation and measuring by ourselves. Some websites of the UK, which contain the open data or shapefiles, and the characteristics of each website were mentioned. As we can see Image 3, some other methods like WebScarping and Volunteered Geographic Information were shown as alternative ways to collect the data by ourselves, when the given data are unclear, and the goal of the research needs the specific data.

Image 3

 

The lecture was finished with the emphasis on caution when using the open data and the mapping with it. Much of the data are made with inadequate formats like pdf, or do not include any spatial reference, so we need to be careful to collect and use the data. When it came to the mapping with the data, he insisted that it is necessary to make analytical and meaningful maps rather than something fancy or colourful. In addition, it is essential to acknowledge that some errors could be made by way of ‘generalisation’ in the process of research, therefore, setting up the range and the level of the research will enrich the quality of it.
 
After one hour lecture, students had a training session that mapping population data on the map of London Borough with R. (Image 4)
Image 4

 

Continue reading »

GIS Course Note 02: Research Application, Software and Data Sources

The second lecture of GIS comprised mainly three parts, the examples of practical research by using GIS, GIS software and the way to gain relevant data for the research.  
In the beginning, Dr. Adam Dennett, the lecturer of CASA, informed the aim of the lecture to understand the basic elements of social science research using GIS and the diverse analytical approaches with it. He showed several example maps, which are related to population, crime, deprivation, health care, flooding, and education, and the way how to read economic, social and physical characteristics from the maps and its meaning in the projects. (Image 1)



Image 1



And then, he moved to GIS software industry which has been significantly growing. As interest and the utilisation of GIS are increasing, GIS software market is expanding almost 10% every year and now it is used in all industries and public sectors such as business, public safety, military and education. The popular GIS tools: Arc GIS, MAP Info, Quantum GIS, Pythonand R, and specific points of each tool were introduced. Also, small description of GIS cloud and online GIS tools was following. (Image 2)

Image 2

In the last part, he said of various kinds of the data and the way of gathering the data which is the key element to proceed the research. Easily, we can classify the data according to the way of gathering. On the one hand, we can use the open data, which are provided by public sectors and other organisations. On the other hand, we need to collect the data through participation and measuring by ourselves. Some websites of the UK, which contain the open data or shapefiles, and the characteristics of each website were mentioned. As we can see Image 3, some other methods like WebScarping and Volunteered Geographic Information were shown as alternative ways to collect the data by ourselves, when the given data are unclear, and the goal of the research needs the specific data.

Image 3

 

The lecture was finished with the emphasis on caution when using the open data and the mapping with it. Much of the data are made with inadequate formats like pdf, or do not include any spatial reference, so we need to be careful to collect and use the data. When it came to the mapping with the data, he insisted that it is necessary to make analytical and meaningful maps rather than something fancy or colourful. In addition, it is essential to acknowledge that some errors could be made by way of ‘generalisation’ in the process of research, therefore, setting up the range and the level of the research will enrich the quality of it.
 
After one hour lecture, students had a training session that mapping population data on the map of London Borough with R. (Image 4)
Image 4

 

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‘Mapping the Space of Flows’: the geography of the London Mega-City Region

I’m pleased to be able to post here the penultimate version of an article that Duncan Smith and I recently had accepted to Regional Studies. In this article we look at ways of combining ‘big data’ from a telecoms network … Continue reading 

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‘Mapping the Space of Flows’: the geography of the London Mega-City Region

I’m pleased to be able to post here the penultimate version of an article that Duncan Smith and I recently had accepted to Regional Studies. In this article we look at ways of combining ‘big data’ from a telecoms network … Continue reading 

Continue reading »

Going to Cambridge for Cinematic Urban Geographies Conference





Image1. The poster of Cinematic Urban Geographies Conference.
 
LAST month, Networking City submitted an application for the conference: Cinematic Urban Geographies which is organised by CRASSH, University of Cambridge. The conference tries to understand urban characteristics through cinema. The proposal ‘The Introduction of Architecture: Drawing our route on the map’ was accepted and originally scheduled in a session on ‘cinematic cityscapes within social& cultural practices’. But it was recently relocated in the session of ‘’film as sites as memories’. 

During the presentation, Networking City will be introducing that we can redefine our ordinary life and spatial intimacy by mapping our daily route on the map, and it can imply various social aspects. The abstract is following.  




Image2. The image was captured in the movie of ‘The Introduction of Architecture’


The Introduction of Architecture: Drawing our route on the map

It does not require much effort to rediscover our city in the ordinary, everyday city of others. When we draw our daily route on a map, every space I walk in the city re-emerges with spatial organisations, street scenes, movements and sounds. Through the act of mapping, hidden experiences and activities in the city become a small part of the city and accumulate as a social and cultural layers within it. 

The plot of ‘The Introduction of Architecture’, released in 2012, shows a love story between young university students who meet in a class called ‘Introduction of Architecture’. In the movie, a lecturer asks students to draw their commuting routes – from their homes to the university, which is located in the old centre of Seoul – on a map. When the hero marks his route, he finds his way already underlined by the heroine.

The following are some themes that the movie reveals to us: first of all, through a simple action like drawing a line on the map, we can redefine our ordinary life and spatial intimacy. The line illustrates not only the sense of the same social backgrounds, but also the possibility of collective memory with others. Secondly, the movie hints at the growing regional inequality within Seoul by the admiration of the hero, who lives in the old city centre – which is relatively underdeveloped – contrasting it with the wealth and upper-class lifestyle of the southern part of Seoul that people call Gangnam. 

Continue reading »

Going to Cambridge for Cinematic Urban Geographies Conference





Image1. The poster of Cinematic Urban Geographies Conference.
 
LAST month, Networking City submitted an application for the conference: Cinematic Urban Geographies which is organised by CRASSH, University of Cambridge. The conference tries to understand urban characteristics through cinema. The proposal ‘The Introduction of Architecture: Drawing our route on the map’ was accepted and originally scheduled in a session on ‘cinematic cityscapes within social& cultural practices’. But it was recently relocated in the session of ‘’film as sites as memories’. 

During the presentation, Networking City will be introducing that we can redefine our ordinary life and spatial intimacy by mapping our daily route on the map, and it can imply various social aspects. The abstract is following.  




Image2. The image was captured in the movie of ‘The Introduction of Architecture’


The Introduction of Architecture: Drawing our route on the map

It does not require much effort to rediscover our city in the ordinary, everyday city of others. When we draw our daily route on a map, every space I walk in the city re-emerges with spatial organisations, street scenes, movements and sounds. Through the act of mapping, hidden experiences and activities in the city become a small part of the city and accumulate as a social and cultural layers within it. 

The plot of ‘The Introduction of Architecture’, released in 2012, shows a love story between young university students who meet in a class called ‘Introduction of Architecture’. In the movie, a lecturer asks students to draw their commuting routes – from their homes to the university, which is located in the old centre of Seoul – on a map. When the hero marks his route, he finds his way already underlined by the heroine.

The following are some themes that the movie reveals to us: first of all, through a simple action like drawing a line on the map, we can redefine our ordinary life and spatial intimacy. The line illustrates not only the sense of the same social backgrounds, but also the possibility of collective memory with others. Secondly, the movie hints at the growing regional inequality within Seoul by the admiration of the hero, who lives in the old city centre – which is relatively underdeveloped – contrasting it with the wealth and upper-class lifestyle of the southern part of Seoul that people call Gangnam. 

Continue reading »

Google Maps raises the bar

Google have been reworking their Maps, currently available by request to review in beta. The other day Ollie O’Brief blogged with a breakdown of the pros and cons of the new design, arguing it represents a visual improvement but functional regression. Here I’ve thrown a few screenshots together to illustrate the comparisons at different scales […]

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