Latest Posts

Citizen Science 2017 – Day 2 (Morning) – Biohacking, traditional ecological knowledge, and science communication

Keynote by Dr. Ellen Jorgensen is co-founder and Executive Director of Genspace, a community biolab. She brings DIY-Bio to the conference. Her experience from the previous conference was the experience of “people want me only for my visual cortex” – contributory projects that are science led. Ellen interested in Public driven, public analysed of citizen science. … Continue reading Citizen Science 2017 – Day 2 (Morning) – Biohacking, traditional ecological knowledge, and science communication

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Traffic Counts

My latest London data visualisation crunches an interesting dataset from the Department of Transport. The data is available across England, although I’ve chosen London in particular because of its more interesting (i.e. not just car dominated) traffic mix. I’ve also focused on just the data for 8am to 9am, to examine the height of the […]

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Citizen Science 2017 – Day 1 (Afternoon) – Tools, overcoming barriers, and project slam

The Afternoon session started with Tools for people running projects including the presentation about Doing It Together Science project Breaking the Barriers to Citizen Science Artemis Skarlatidou* – University College London; Alice Sheppard – University College London; Muki Haklay – University College London; Claudia Goebel – European Citizen Science Association.  Alice Sheppard presented the talk, exploring the … Continue reading Citizen Science 2017 – Day 1 (Afternoon) – Tools, overcoming barriers, and project slam

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Citizen Science 2017 – Day 1 (Morning): Flint Water Study, EPA use of citizen science and engagement

Shannon Dosemagen introduces the keynote speakers by pointing that citizen science provides a way to question how science is done and how is doing it. Within citizen science, it is important to notice that scientific degrees don’t always translate to leadership. The keynotes speakers where Dr. Marc Edwards (Virgina Tech) &  LeeAnne Walters (Coalition for Clean … Continue reading Citizen Science 2017 – Day 1 (Morning): Flint Water Study, EPA use of citizen science and engagement

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Citizen Science 2017 – workshops day and opening panel

The Citizen Science Association conference is held at the River Center in St Paul, Minnesota on 17th to 20th May. This post and the following ones are notes that were taken during the meeting in the sessions that I’ve attended. Wednesday was dedicated to workshops, and I joined the Citizen Science at College level workshop. Organised by Thomas … Continue reading Citizen Science 2017 – workshops day and opening panel

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Mayfair & St James’s

We’ve long been fans of artist Stephen Walter’s monochromatic cartographical style and have featured numerous map-based artworks by him over the years. It’s been interesting seeing his style subtly evolve, from intense and slightly angry detections of “seas” of houses and caustic comments, to the slightly more restrained, but still very distinctive, style of his […]

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Population Lines: How and Why I Created It

Thanks to the power of Reddit the “Population Lines” print (buy here) I created back in 2013 has attracted a huge amount of interest in the past week or so (a Europe only version made by Henrik Lindberg made the Reddit front page). There’s been lots of subsequent discussion about it’s inspiration, effectiveness as a form of […]

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Counting Down: Looking Ahead to GEO Business 2017 – GIM International (press release) (subscription) (blog)


GIM International (press release) (subscription) (blog)

Counting Down: Looking Ahead to GEO Business 2017
GIM International (press release) (subscription) (blog)
are panellists Ed Manley, lecturer in smart cities at the University College London’s Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA); Miranda Sharp, head of smart cities practice at Ordnance Survey; Ed Parsons, geospatial technologist at Google; and Mike …

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Counting Down: Looking Ahead to GEO Business 2017 – GIM International (press release) (subscription) (blog)


GIM International (press release) (subscription) (blog)

Counting Down: Looking Ahead to GEO Business 2017
GIM International (press release) (subscription) (blog)
are panellists Ed Manley, lecturer in smart cities at the University College London’s Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA); Miranda Sharp, head of smart cities practice at Ordnance Survey; Ed Parsons, geospatial technologist at Google; and Mike …

and more »

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Unmissable conference line-up featuring keynote presentations from HS2’s Sadie Morgan, Ordnance Survey’s CEO … – DirectionsMag.com (press release)

Unmissable conference line-up featuring keynote presentations from HS2’s Sadie Morgan, Ordnance Survey’s CEO …
DirectionsMag.com (press release)
are panellists Ed Manley, lecturer in smart cities at the University College London’s Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA); Miranda Sharp, head of smart cities practice at Ordnance Survey; Ed Parsons, geospatial technologist at Google; and Mike …

and more »

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Unmissable conference line-up featuring keynote presentations from HS2’s Sadie Morgan, Ordnance Survey’s CEO … – DirectionsMag.com (press release)

Unmissable conference line-up featuring keynote presentations from HS2’s Sadie Morgan, Ordnance Survey’s CEO …
DirectionsMag.com (press release)
are panellists Ed Manley, lecturer in smart cities at the University College London’s Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA); Miranda Sharp, head of smart cities practice at Ordnance Survey; Ed Parsons, geospatial technologist at Google; and Mike …

and more »

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Zika in Twitter: Health Narratives

In the paper we explored how health narratives and event storylines pertaining to the recent Zika outbreak emerged in social media and how it related to news stories and actual events.

Specifically we combined actors (e.g. twitter uses), locations (e.g. where the tweets originated) and concepts (e.g. emerging narratives such as pregnancy) to gain insights on the mechanisms that drive participation, contributions, and interactions on social media  during a disease outbreak. Below you can read a summary of our paper along with some of the figures which highlight our methodology and findings.  

An overview of the Twitter narrative analysis approach, starting with data collection, and proceeding with preprocessing and data analysis to identify narrative events, which can be used to build an event storyline.

Abstract:
 

Background: The recent Zika outbreak witnessed the disease evolving from a regional health concern to a global epidemic. During this process, different communities across the globe became involved in Twitter, discussing the disease and key issues associated with it. This paper presents a study of this discussion in Twitter, at the nexus of location, actors, and concepts.

Objective: Our objective in this study was to demonstrate the significance of 3 types of events: location related, actor related, and concept- related for understanding how a public health emergency of international concern plays out in social media, and Twitter in particular. Accordingly, the study contributes to research efforts toward gaining insights on the mechanisms that drive participation, contributions, and interaction in this social media platform during a disease outbreak. 

Methods: We collected 6,249,626 tweets referring to the Zika outbreak over a period of 12 weeks early in the outbreak (December 2015 through March 2016). We analyzed this data corpus in terms of its geographical footprint, the actors participating in the discourse, and emerging concepts associated with the issue. Data were visualized and evaluated with spatiotemporal and network analysis tools to capture the evolution of interest on the topic and to reveal connections between locations, actors, and concepts in the form of interaction networks. 

Results: The spatiotemporal analysis of Twitter contributions reflects the spread of interest in Zika from its original hotspot in South America to North America and then across the globe. The Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization had a prominent presence in social media discussions. Tweets about pregnancy and abortion increased as more information about this emerging infectious disease was presented to the public and public figures became involved in this. 

Conclusions: The results of this study show the utility of analyzing temporal variations in the analytic triad of locations, actors, and concepts. This contributes to advancing our understanding of social media discourse during a public health emergency of international concern.

Keywords: Zika Virus; Social Media; Twitter Messaging; Geographic Information Systems.

Spatiotemporal participation patterns and identifiable clusters over 4 of our twelve week study. The top left panel shows the data during the first week, and time progresses from left to right and from top to bottom towards .

Subsets of the full retweet network pertaining to the WHO (left) and CDC (right), and clusters identified within them. Magenta clusters are centered upon health entities, green upon news organizations, orange upon political entities.

Visualizing a narrative storyline across locations (blue), actors (red), and concepts (green).

Full Reference:

Stefanidis, A., Vraga, E., Lamprianidis, G., Radzikowski, J., Delamater, P.L., Jacobsen, K.H., Pfoser, D., Croitoru, A. and Crooks, A.T. (2017). “Zika in Twitter: Temporal Variations of Locations, Actors, and Concepts”, JMIR Public Health and Surveillance, 3 (2): e22. (pdf)

As normal, any feedback or comments are most welcome. 

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Zika in Twitter: Health Narratives

In the paper we explored how health narratives and event storylines pertaining to the recent Zika outbreak emerged in social media and how it related to news stories and actual events.

Specifically we combined actors (e.g. twitter uses), locations (e.g. where the tweets originated) and concepts (e.g. emerging narratives such as pregnancy) to gain insights on the mechanisms that drive participation, contributions, and interactions on social media  during a disease outbreak. Below you can read a summary of our paper along with some of the figures which highlight our methodology and findings.  

An overview of the Twitter narrative analysis approach, starting with data collection, and proceeding with preprocessing and data analysis to identify narrative events, which can be used to build an event storyline.

Abstract:
 

Background: The recent Zika outbreak witnessed the disease evolving from a regional health concern to a global epidemic. During this process, different communities across the globe became involved in Twitter, discussing the disease and key issues associated with it. This paper presents a study of this discussion in Twitter, at the nexus of location, actors, and concepts.

Objective: Our objective in this study was to demonstrate the significance of 3 types of events: location related, actor related, and concept- related for understanding how a public health emergency of international concern plays out in social media, and Twitter in particular. Accordingly, the study contributes to research efforts toward gaining insights on the mechanisms that drive participation, contributions, and interaction in this social media platform during a disease outbreak. 

Methods: We collected 6,249,626 tweets referring to the Zika outbreak over a period of 12 weeks early in the outbreak (December 2015 through March 2016). We analyzed this data corpus in terms of its geographical footprint, the actors participating in the discourse, and emerging concepts associated with the issue. Data were visualized and evaluated with spatiotemporal and network analysis tools to capture the evolution of interest on the topic and to reveal connections between locations, actors, and concepts in the form of interaction networks. 

Results: The spatiotemporal analysis of Twitter contributions reflects the spread of interest in Zika from its original hotspot in South America to North America and then across the globe. The Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization had a prominent presence in social media discussions. Tweets about pregnancy and abortion increased as more information about this emerging infectious disease was presented to the public and public figures became involved in this. 

Conclusions: The results of this study show the utility of analyzing temporal variations in the analytic triad of locations, actors, and concepts. This contributes to advancing our understanding of social media discourse during a public health emergency of international concern.

Keywords: Zika Virus; Social Media; Twitter Messaging; Geographic Information Systems.

Spatiotemporal participation patterns and identifiable clusters over 4 of our twelve week study. The top left panel shows the data during the first week, and time progresses from left to right and from top to bottom towards .

Subsets of the full retweet network pertaining to the WHO (left) and CDC (right), and clusters identified within them. Magenta clusters are centered upon health entities, green upon news organizations, orange upon political entities.

Visualizing a narrative storyline across locations (blue), actors (red), and concepts (green).

Full Reference:

Stefanidis, A., Vraga, E., Lamprianidis, G., Radzikowski, J., Delamater, P.L., Jacobsen, K.H., Pfoser, D., Croitoru, A. and Crooks, A.T. (2017). “Zika in Twitter: Temporal Variations of Locations, Actors, and Concepts”, JMIR Public Health and Surveillance, 3 (2): e22. (pdf)

As normal, any feedback or comments are most welcome. 

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River Services Map

Londoners will be very familiar with the crowded London Underground services and their famous diagrammatic Tube Map, but might be less familiar with another public transport network – boats on the River Thames. Yes, you can commute to work by catamaran – as long as you live and work close to the river. London’s river […]

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Opening address by S for IT at Internet Economy Summit 2017 Thematic Forum “Smart City for Better Living” – 7thSpace Interactive (press release)

Opening address by S for IT at Internet Economy Summit 2017 Thematic Forum “Smart City for Better Living”
7thSpace Interactive (press release)
Today, we are privileged to have Ms Lilian Coral, Chief Data Officer for the City of Los Angeles from the United States, and Professor Michael Batty, Chair of the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis of University College London, who will speak to us

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Shifting Concrete – Architecture in Motion

There is motion in architecture. Not at first glance, but if you start looking it can be found in most aspects. Being this from the movement of people goods or materials to building parts such as doors, windows or blinds. Even by design buildings can move. See for example designs by Frank Gerry, Himmelb(l)au or the late Zaha Hadid.

However noting makes architecture move ore than light. It constantly transforms and changes the shape and appearance of buildings.

Shifting Concrete — Video Mapping. Video by WECOMEINPEACE on Vimeo.

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Shifting Concrete – Architecture in Motion

There is motion in architecture. Not at first glance, but if you start looking it can be found in most aspects. Being this from the movement of people goods or materials to building parts such as doors, windows or blinds. Even by design buildings can move. See for example designs by Frank Gerry, Himmelb(l)au or the late Zaha Hadid.

However noting makes architecture move ore than light. It constantly transforms and changes the shape and appearance of buildings.

Shifting Concrete — Video Mapping. Video by WECOMEINPEACE on Vimeo.

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Smart Cities in IEEE Pervasive Computing

We are excited to announce that the special issue that we organized for IEEE Pervasive Computing is now out. In the special issue entitled “Smart Cities” and demonstrates the state of the art of pervasive computing technologies that collect, monitor, and analyze various aspects of urban life. The articles and departments in the special issue highlight the coming revolution in urban data via some of the different approaches researchers are taking to build tools and applications to better inform decision making (to reduce energy consumption or improve visitor flows, for example). Such research will be critical to setting goals for sustainable urban development within different global contexts. We need to better understand cities and their underlying systems if we want to improve the quality of urban life. To this end, in the special issue we have an introduction (editorial) followed by a number of articles, an interview and a research spotlight:
We hope you enjoy them. Thank you for the authors who submitted papers, the reviewers, Rob Kitchen for giving an interview and Barbara Lenz and Dirk Heinrichs for discussing their research. Lastly, we would also like to thank the IEEE Pervasive Computing team for ensuring that the special issue came to fruition.

Full Reference to the Introduction: 

Crooks, A.T., Schechtner, K., Day, A.K and Hudson-Smith, A (2017), Creating Smart Buildings and Cities, IEEE Pervasive Computing, 16 (2): 23-25. (pdf)

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Smart Cities in IEEE Pervasive Computing

We are excited to announce that the special issue that we organized for IEEE Pervasive Computing is now out. In the special issue entitled “Smart Cities” and demonstrates the state of the art of pervasive computing technologies that collect, monitor, and analyze various aspects of urban life. The articles and departments in the special issue highlight the coming revolution in urban data via some of the different approaches researchers are taking to build tools and applications to better inform decision making (to reduce energy consumption or improve visitor flows, for example). Such research will be critical to setting goals for sustainable urban development within different global contexts. We need to better understand cities and their underlying systems if we want to improve the quality of urban life. To this end, in the special issue we have an introduction (editorial) followed by a number of articles, an interview and a research spotlight:
We hope you enjoy them. Thank you for the authors who submitted papers, the reviewers, Rob Kitchen for giving an interview and Barbara Lenz and Dirk Heinrichs for discussing their research. Lastly, we would also like to thank the IEEE Pervasive Computing team for ensuring that the special issue came to fruition.

Full Reference to the Introduction: 

Crooks, A.T., Schechtner, K., Day, A.K and Hudson-Smith, A (2017), Creating Smart Buildings and Cities, IEEE Pervasive Computing, 16 (2): 23-25. (pdf)

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Dr Hannah Fry: We need to be wary of algorithms behind closed doors – The Register


The Register

Dr Hannah Fry: We need to be wary of algorithms behind closed doors
The Register
Dr Fry is a lecturer in the mathematics of cities at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at UCL, where her research “revolves around the study of complex social and economic systems at various scales, from the individual to the urban, regional and

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London’s Street Trees

Following a data release of Southwark’s publically maintained trees a couple of years back, the Greater London Authority recently published a map which shows street trees (trees along roads and public paths, and trees in public open spaces, such as small parks and other minor green areas). Each borough has its own tree database and […]

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Cellular Automata

In the recently released “The International Encyclopedia of Geography: People, the Earth, Environment, and Technology” I was asked to write a brief entry on “Cellular Automata“. Below is the abstract to my chapter, along some of the images I used in my discussion, the full reference to the chapter.

Abstract: 

Cellular Automata (CA) are a class of models where one can explore how local actions generate global patterns through well specified rules. In such models, decisions are made locally by each cell which are often arranged on a regular lattice and the patterns that emerge, be it urban growth or deforestation are not coordinated centrally but arise from the bottom up. Such patterns emerge through the cell changing its state based on specific transition rules and the states of their surrounding cells. This entry reviews the principles of CA models, provides a background on how CA models have developed, explores a range of applications of where they have been used within the geographical sciences, prior to concluding with future directions for CA modeling. 
The figures below are a sample from the entry, for example, we outline different types of spaces within CA models such as those shown in Figures 1 and 2. We also show how simple rules can lead to the emergence of patterns such as the Game of Life as shown in Figure 3 or  Rule 30 as shown in Figure 4.

Figure 1: Two-Dimensional Cellular Automata Neighborhoods

Figure 2: Voronoi Tessellations Of Space Where Each Polygon Has A Different Number Of Neighbors Based On A Shared Edge.

Figure 3: Example of Cells Changing State from Dead (White) To Alive (Black) Over Time Depending On The States of its Neighboring Cells.

Figure 4: A One-Dimensional CA Model Implementing “Rule 30” Where Successive Iterations Are Presented Below Each Other.

Full Reference:

Crooks, A.T. (2017), Cellular Automata, in Richardson, D., Castree, N., Goodchild, M. F., Kobayashi, A. L., Liu, W. and Marston, R.  (eds.), The International Encyclopedia of Geography: People, the Earth, Environment, and Technology, Wiley Blackwell. DOI: 10.1002/9781118786352.wbieg0578. (pdf)

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Cellular Automata

In the recently released “The International Encyclopedia of Geography: People, the Earth, Environment, and Technology” I was asked to write a brief entry on “Cellular Automata“. Below is the abstract to my chapter, along some of the images I used in my discussion, the full reference to the chapter.

Abstract: 

Cellular Automata (CA) are a class of models where one can explore how local actions generate global patterns through well specified rules. In such models, decisions are made locally by each cell which are often arranged on a regular lattice and the patterns that emerge, be it urban growth or deforestation are not coordinated centrally but arise from the bottom up. Such patterns emerge through the cell changing its state based on specific transition rules and the states of their surrounding cells. This entry reviews the principles of CA models, provides a background on how CA models have developed, explores a range of applications of where they have been used within the geographical sciences, prior to concluding with future directions for CA modeling. 
The figures below are a sample from the entry, for example, we outline different types of spaces within CA models such as those shown in Figures 1 and 2. We also show how simple rules can lead to the emergence of patterns such as the Game of Life as shown in Figure 3 or  Rule 30 as shown in Figure 4.

Figure 1: Two-Dimensional Cellular Automata Neighborhoods

Figure 2: Voronoi Tessellations Of Space Where Each Polygon Has A Different Number Of Neighbors Based On A Shared Edge.

Figure 3: Example of Cells Changing State from Dead (White) To Alive (Black) Over Time Depending On The States of its Neighboring Cells.

Figure 4: A One-Dimensional CA Model Implementing “Rule 30” Where Successive Iterations Are Presented Below Each Other.

Full Reference:

Crooks, A.T. (2017), Cellular Automata, in Richardson, D., Castree, N., Goodchild, M. F., Kobayashi, A. L., Liu, W. and Marston, R.  (eds.), The International Encyclopedia of Geography: People, the Earth, Environment, and Technology, Wiley Blackwell. DOI: 10.1002/9781118786352.wbieg0578. (pdf)

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Call for Papers in a special issue of Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation on citizen science

Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation is a new open access journal, addressing the interdisciplinary field that links different aspects of remote sensing (the use of different imaging and sensing technologies) and the field of ecology and conservation. It is publishing its papers in Open Access, so the papers are free to download and share. … Continue reading Call for Papers in a special issue of Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation on citizen science

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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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