Latest Posts

Citizen Science for Observing and Understanding the Earth

Since the end of 2015, I’ve been using the following mapping of citizen science activities in a range of talks: The purpose of this way of presentation is to provide a way to guide my audience through the landscape of citizen science (see examples on SlideShare). The reason that I came up with it, is … Continue reading Citizen Science for Observing and Understanding the Earth

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Citizen Science & Scientific Crowdsourcing – week 3 – Participation inequality

One of the aspects that fascinates me about the nature of participation in citizen science and crowdsourcing is the nature of participation and in particular participation inequality. As I’ve noted last week, when you look at large scale systems, you expected to see it in them (so Google Local Guides is exhibiting 95:5:0.005 ratio). I knew … Continue reading Citizen Science & Scientific Crowdsourcing – week 3 – Participation inequality

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A Review of High and Very High Resolution Remote Sensing Approaches for Detecting and Mapping Slums

Regular readers of this site might of noticed that we have an interest in slums. In the past this has focused on modeling them from an agent-based perspective, comparing volunteered geographical information to more authoritative data on slums, to that …

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Railway Station Numbers

The ORR publishes station entry/exit numbers on an annual basis, on a “best guess” basis, using ticket sales, gate information and modelling. The data is split by ticket type – full fare, reduced fare (off-peak tickets, tickets bought with railcards, advance tickets, child tickets etc) and season tickets. They make this data available as an … Continue reading Railway Station Numbers

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Winter Lights

If Lumiere London, which finished yesterday, has whet your appetite for seeing artistic displays of light after dark, then there is another festival of lights which runs until Saturday. It’s at Canary Wharf and called Winter Lights. Think Lumiere London, in a smaller area and without the huge crowds. And, like the King’s Cross, it’s […]

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Lumiere at King’s Cross

King’s Cross is one of the six Lumiere London areas, where light-based artworks are on display every evening until Sunday. We looked at the general maps of the event yesterday, but we discovered also that King’s Cross has its own map, showing where the exhibits are. You don’t have to follow the marked route, although […]

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Citizen Science & Scientific Crowdsourcing – week 2 – Google Local Guides

The first week of the “Introduction to Citizen Science and Scientific Crowdsourcing” course was dedicated to an introduction to the field of citizen science using the history, examples and typologies to demonstrate the breadth of the field. The second week was dedicated to the second half of the course name – crowdsourcing in general, and its … Continue reading Citizen Science & Scientific Crowdsourcing – week 2 – Google Local Guides

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Lumiere London

The Lumiere London, a free show of more than 50 light-based artworks, scattered throughout central London, starts today and the lights are switched on for the next four evenings, until Sunday 21st. It’s the second running of the event, after the inaugural in January 2016 which led to huge crowds of onlookers on the streets […]

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Launching a citizen science course – week 1

Today, I gave the opening lectures of the new UCL course ‘Introduction to Citizen Science and Scientific Crowdsourcing‘. In a way, it was more work than I originally thought, but I also thought that I’m underestimating the effort – so it’s not completely unexpected. Although I am responsible for the first installation of Moodle, the … Continue reading Launching a citizen science course – week 1

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New Paper: Cancer and Social Media

Continuing our work on geosocial analysis we recently had a paper entitled “Cancer and Social Media: A Comparison of Traffic about Breast Cancer, Prostate Cancer, and Other Reproductive Cancers on Twitter and Instagram” published in the Journal of Health Communication. In the paper we  present a comparative study of differences in messaging for women’s and men’s cancer campaigns on social media through three discrete approaches. 
  1. we directly compare the incident rates of women’s and men’s cancers in the United States to the corresponding levels of traffic that these cancers elicited during World Cancer Day across two social media platforms, Twitter and Instagram. 
  2. we examine social media activity for breast cancer versus prostate cancer on both Twitter and Instagram during the dedicated month-long campaigns (October and November, respectively). 
  3. we compare the top terms associated with each campaign on these two social media platforms to discover whether there are differences in the terms associated with these online discussions.
Below you can read the abstract to our paper, see some of our results and at the bottom of the post have the full citation and link to the paper.

Abstract: 

Social media are often heralded as offering cancer campaigns new opportunities to reach the public. However, these campaigns may not be equally successful, depending on the nature of the campaign itself, the type of cancer being addressed, and the social media platform being examined. This study is the first to compare social media activity on Twitter and Instagram across three time periods: #WorldCancerDay in February, the annual month-long campaigns of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) in October and Movember in November, and during the full year outside of these campaigns. Our results suggest that women’s reproductive cancers – especially breast cancer – tend to outperform men’s reproductive cancer – especially prostate cancer – across campaigns and social media platforms. Twitter overall generates substantially more activity than Instagram for both cancer campaigns, suggesting Instagram may be an untapped resource. However, the messaging for both campaigns tends to focus on awareness and support rather than on concrete actions and behaviors. We suggest health communication efforts need to focus on effective messaging and building engaged communities for cancer communication across social media platforms.

A comparison of percentages of cancer cases (green bars) and references to corresponding cancers in Twitter (blue bar) and Instagram (orange bar) during World Cancer Day 2016.

 References to breast cancer (green line), prostate cancer (orange line), and Movember (blue line) over the full year 2015 in Instagram.

Full Reference: 

Vraga, E., Stefanidis, A., Lamprianidis, G., Croitoru, A., Crooks, A.T. Delamater, P.L., Pfoser, D., Radzikowski, J. and Jacobsen, K.H. (2018), Cancer and Social Media: A Comparison of Traffic about Breast Cancer, Prostate Cancer, and Other Reproductive Cancers on Twitter and Instagram, Journal of Health Communication. 3(2), 181-189. (pdf)

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PhD Opportunities

I’m delighted to announce two funded PhD opportunities at University College London with Kantar Worldpanel (@K_Worldpanel) and Arup. Successful candidates will join a cohort of students at the UBEL Doctoral Training Centre, become part of the team of researchers at based the Consumer Data Research Centre and UCL Geospatial Analytics and Computing Research Group. These are […]

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London Sherry Trail

Dry January? You might want to look away. From the industry’s official promoter of the fortified Andalusian wine in the UK, comes this map of tapas bars and restaurants in central London where you can be sure of finding a good glass of sherry. The map was published in October last year but we just […]

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Online course – Introduction to Citizen Science and Scientific Crowdsourcing

It’s a new year, and just the right time to announce that starting on the 11th January, UCL will run an 11 weeks hybrid (online and face to face) course called “Introduction to Citizen Science and Scientific Crowdsourcing“. This course aim is to introduce students to the theory and practice of citizen science and scientific crowdsourcing. … Continue reading Online course – Introduction to Citizen Science and Scientific Crowdsourcing

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Spatial Strategies

PGRG Blog #8, December 2017 Spatial Strategies Supporting Complex Human Systems: A Health and Aged Care Case Study By Dr Hamish Robertson Introduction In the 21st century population ageing represents a very complex ‘problem’ with which various human systems (political, economic, health) continue to grapple. The geography of ageing is dynamic and the epidemiological complexity … More Spatial Strategies

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Come Work with Us: 2 Postdocs in Urban Simulation

The George Mason University Department of Geography and Geoinformation Science within the College of Science, has an immediate opening for two postdoctoral fellows (up to 2-years), subject to budgetary approval. These positions will be part of the “Urban simulation” project team conducting research as part of the DARPA’s “Ground Truth” program, a network of DARPA-funded teams across the USA. The GMU team is directed by Andreas Züfle, Dieter Pfoser, and Andrew Crooks and supported by Carola Wenk at Tulane University. George Mason University has a strong institutional commitment to the achievement of excellence and diversity among its faculty and staff, and strongly encourages candidates to apply who will enrich Mason’s academic and culturally inclusive environment.

Postdoc 1

Responsibilities:
The primary job responsibilities of this position consist of the design, development and refinement of an agent-based simulation framework for urban areas. Using the existing Multiagent Simulation Toolkit (MASON) platform (written in Java), new agent logic will have to be implemented, thus creating agents that use socially plausible rules for mobility and interaction with other agents. A main goal is to create computationally efficient agent logic, thus allowing millions of agents to make decisions, find shortest paths between locations, and interact with their simulated world at the same time. For this purpose, implemented algorithms will need to be highly parallelizable, thus allowing to scale simulation via distribution among computing clusters located at GMU and Tulane. The successful candidate will also supervise graduate-level research assistants, collaborate with fellow scholars, and promote the department’s accomplishments through publications, presentations, and other public events.

Required Qualifications:

  • Ph.D. in computer science, data science, or closely related field;
  • Strong programming skills in Java;
  • Excellent written communication skills demonstrated by prior publications;
  • A track record that demonstrates the ability to work well with interdisciplinary research teams.
Preferred Qualifications:
  • Solid knowledge of graph algorithms;
  • Experience with Agent-Based Modeling and social science simulation;
  • Experience in design and implementation of software systems.
Postdoc 2
Responsibilities:
The primary job responsibilities of this position will be the design of an agent-based model based on the first principles underlying human needs, social interactions, and mobility to define socially plausible causalities. This model will contribute towards the design, development and refinement of an agent-based simulation framework for urban areas. Using the existing Multiagent Simulation Toolkit (MASON) platform (written in Java), new agent logic will have to be implemented, thus creating agents that use socially plausible rules for mobility and interaction with other agents. The successful candidate will also supervise graduate-level research assistants, collaborate with fellow scholars, and promote the department’s accomplishments through publications, presentations, and other public events.

Required Qualifications:

  • Ph.D. in computer science, data science, or closely related field; 
  • Experience with Agent-Based Modeling and social science simulation; 
  • Excellent written communication skills demonstrated by prior publications; 
  • A track record that demonstrates the ability to work well with interdisciplinary research teams.
Preferred Qualifications:
  • Strong programming skills in Java;

More Information: https://jobs.gmu.edu/postings/42109

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    Come Work with Us: 2 Postdocs in Urban Simulation

    The George Mason University Department of Geography and Geoinformation Science within the College of Science, has an immediate opening for two postdoctoral fellows (up to 2-years), subject to budgetary approval. These positions will be part of the “Urban simulation” project team conducting research as part of the DARPA’s “Ground Truth” program, a network of DARPA-funded teams across the USA. The GMU team is directed by Andreas Züfle, Dieter Pfoser, and Andrew Crooks and supported by Carola Wenk at Tulane University. George Mason University has a strong institutional commitment to the achievement of excellence and diversity among its faculty and staff, and strongly encourages candidates to apply who will enrich Mason’s academic and culturally inclusive environment.

    Postdoc 1

    Responsibilities:
    The primary job responsibilities of this position consist of the design, development and refinement of an agent-based simulation framework for urban areas. Using the existing Multiagent Simulation Toolkit (MASON) platform (written in Java), new agent logic will have to be implemented, thus creating agents that use socially plausible rules for mobility and interaction with other agents. A main goal is to create computationally efficient agent logic, thus allowing millions of agents to make decisions, find shortest paths between locations, and interact with their simulated world at the same time. For this purpose, implemented algorithms will need to be highly parallelizable, thus allowing to scale simulation via distribution among computing clusters located at GMU and Tulane. The successful candidate will also supervise graduate-level research assistants, collaborate with fellow scholars, and promote the department’s accomplishments through publications, presentations, and other public events.

    Required Qualifications:

    • Ph.D. in computer science, data science, or closely related field;
    • Strong programming skills in Java;
    • Excellent written communication skills demonstrated by prior publications;
    • A track record that demonstrates the ability to work well with interdisciplinary research teams.
    Preferred Qualifications:
    • Solid knowledge of graph algorithms;
    • Experience with Agent-Based Modeling and social science simulation;
    • Experience in design and implementation of software systems.
    Postdoc 2
    Responsibilities:
    The primary job responsibilities of this position will be the design of an agent-based model based on the first principles underlying human needs, social interactions, and mobility to define socially plausible causalities. This model will contribute towards the design, development and refinement of an agent-based simulation framework for urban areas. Using the existing Multiagent Simulation Toolkit (MASON) platform (written in Java), new agent logic will have to be implemented, thus creating agents that use socially plausible rules for mobility and interaction with other agents. The successful candidate will also supervise graduate-level research assistants, collaborate with fellow scholars, and promote the department’s accomplishments through publications, presentations, and other public events.

    Required Qualifications:

    • Ph.D. in computer science, data science, or closely related field; 
    • Experience with Agent-Based Modeling and social science simulation; 
    • Excellent written communication skills demonstrated by prior publications; 
    • A track record that demonstrates the ability to work well with interdisciplinary research teams.
    Preferred Qualifications:
    • Strong programming skills in Java;

    More Information: https://jobs.gmu.edu/postings/42109

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      ‘Songdo: the hype and decline of world’s first smart city’ in ‘Sustainable Cities in Asia’

      Routledge published ‘Sustainable Cities in Asia’ last September.The book was edited by Federico Caprotti, Associate Professor in Human Geography at the University of Exeter, and Li Yu, Reader in Planning at Cardiff University.It contains 23 chapters th…

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      ‘Songdo: the hype and decline of world’s first smart city’ in ‘Sustainable Cities in Asia’

      Routledge published ‘Sustainable Cities in Asia’ last September.The book was edited by Federico Caprotti, Associate Professor in Human Geography at the University of Exeter, and Li Yu, Reader in Planning at Cardiff University.It contains 23 chapters th…

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      Point Pattern Analysis using Ecological Methods in R

      Here is a quick example for how to get started with some of the more sophisticated point pattern analysis tools that have been developed for ecologists – principally the adehabitathr package – but that are very useful for human data. Ecologists deploy point pattern analysis to establish the “home range” of a particular animal based […]

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      December Book Review

      PGRG Blog #7, December 2017 An introduction to Population Geographies: lives across space by Holly Barcus and Keith Halfacree review – a much needed social perspective on population geography Review by Dr Laura Prazeres University of St Andrews Population Geography has become ever more relevant within our global society and this book provides a comprehensive … More December Book Review

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      Children’s Map of London

      The Children’s Map of London (sometimes called the Children’s Pictorial Map of London) was first published by Bartholomew in 1938, the edition here is a minor update in 1955. All royalties from the sale of the map went to the Hospital for Sick Children in Great Ormond Street (aka GOSH) which appropriately does itself appear […]

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      East End Independents

      This hand-sketched map has been produced by Adam Dant and Herb Lester, for the East End Trades Guild, to promote over 200 small businesses based in east and north-east London. Over a hundred of these are independent shops, cafes and restaurants to visit. The map is presented with an unusual projection, focusing on Columbia Road […]

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      The decline in US internal migration continues

      PGRG Blog #6, December 2017 Tony Champion Newcastle University The latest annual update on geographic mobility in the USA was released on 15 November 2017 by the Census Bureau. It shows a continuation of the long-term decline in mover rates, giving the within-US one-year address-change rate as 10.6% for 2016-17, the lowest since the Current … More The decline in US internal migration continues

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