Tuesday, 30 June 2009

iPhoneApp - oldMapApp

An upcoming very promising application for the iPhone is the oldMapApp. It is a simple application that let you flip through some old maps. But not just that these are simple scans, they are all geo referenced and layered on top of new online maps. The layers transparency can be adjusted and let your compare now and then. For map freaks and location enthusiasts this will be brilliant. Google does offer a similar thing with the 5.0 version of Google Earth by using the timeline. The oldMapApp does, as the name suggests, offer old historic maps, whereas Google offers only access to old satellite imagery, back from when they started Google Earth.
To browse through the history of a place and follow development patterns is very much a detective game and can reveal a lot about the identity of a place. Also elements of collective memory can be found, so keep our eyes open. The application does use the location information from your phone so it now’s where you are and can display the information in connection to the historic maps. Using the newly build in compass in the iPhone 3GS it even know which direction your are looking.
Old Map App uses a modified version of the excellent open-source route-me mapping framework. Modern maps are courtesy of Open Street Map, which is creating an open-source map of the world.
At the moment, this means in the preview, the app offers only scans from the New York region, dated from the 17th to the 19th centuries. We are of course hoping this will be extended before the release, but for now enjoy the preview:

Found through MapRoom.

Monday, 22 June 2009

GPS Data Visualization - Variations

There are lots of different possibilities of GPS data viualizations. For your joy I have put together a not comprehensive list of examples. The variety is striking and so is the range of software, although oft I have not been able to find out how it is done. Different examples of GPS data visualizations is a list of animations but also a list of approaches. Some animations have featured earlier on this blog, other are new, as the intention is to show variety and not completeness. If you have some good examples yourself or know of some, please post in the comment and this showcase of examples will grow lager, contact can be found here.

GPS drawing Week_13 Top Vormstudie from Rnul Interactive on Vimeo.

Software unklnown

GPS Path Demo v0.4 from Finn Rudolph on Vimeo.

software vvvv

Park Drawing from Jeremy Wood on Vimeo.

software unknown

UDtwoMonth_London from urbanTick on Vimeo.

software Google Earth

by derxon2003 on youtube - software GPLIGC/openGLIGCexplorer was used for visualisation of GPS track data. The avi was encoded with mencoder/mplayer.

GPS Art from gallo1 on Vimeo.

software unknown

GPS Movies [Saint-Denis 2005] from Dz on Vimeo.

software unknown

gps_indymarathon from urbanTick on Vimeo.

software mathematica

by ARS on Google Video - software unknown

by ericrodenbeck on youtube - software unknown, using cabspotting data

Cabspotting vs SRTM from kns von Rhein on Vimeo.

software unknown, using cabspotting data

by OSM for ecourier, better version on ecourier.co.uk - software OpenStreetMap

OSM 2008: A Year of Edits from ItoWorld on Vimeo.

software OpenStreetMap

Friday, 19 June 2009

New Garmin Foretrex 301/401

Garmin® Announces Rugged, Waterproof Foretrex® 401 and 301, Wearable Navigation that’s Easy to Use in Tough Conditions

Garmin has announced this week a new model for its Foretrex family. It has been a really long time since the Foretrex 101 and 201 where first introduced. They where really good devices and probably some o the first handheld GPS that where actually useable. And they still are.
The Foretrex is the GPS device I am using so far in the UrbanDiary project and the set of them is still performing quite well. Although I have recently compared it to the new Forerunner 405 that I have two test devices for, is a lot better in terms of GPS signal reception the 201’s still work well.
So there are high expectations for the new models and whether the big step forward that the first Foretrex did can be repeated will reminds to be seen. But lets have a look at what Garmin writes about these models.

Image by Garmin

Finally Garmin builds in a USB connection, so far the 201 still works with a serial connection. It seems to spot all the features that the previous model had, including sunset and sunrise, fishing and hunting times. There are some new features though. These are an electronic compass and a barometric altimeter and of course a new high sensitive GPS receiver. Also the 401 model will allow transferring data wirelessly to other devices. It will hopefully be based on the ant technology so that the device can also communicate with a computer.
In terms of storage and capacity the device surprisingly has not improved. It is still the 10’000 points per track and 10 tracks, plus 500 waypoints. It is a lot but since every little gadget is increasing its storage capacity it seems odd that this one doesn’t. This is of course not an argument, but a hint. Telling from the images, the screen will be still black and white without the function of adding a contextual map. Which is all right, as the screen quality is good and if you want a coloured feature map you probably buy another device.
Also telling form the description there will be no longer a model with an internal battery. Both models 301 and 401 will work on two AA batteries, with is a shame. I know there are issues with charging an internal battery whilst you are out and about but having only AA option really has the danger to it to produce a lot of battery waste. There are solutions to the charging problem out there ranging from solar chargers to tiny wind turbines and pull strings that work for a series of other devices with internal batteries and since this new model now has an USB connection his will make things in this respect much more simple.
In term of size and weight the new ones are around 20% smaller while still fitted with the same screen size. This is an improvement, as many of my participants using the 201 have mentioned in the feedback, that the device was “a bit chunky”. In terms of weight the new 401 is slightly heavier with 87.3g compared to 78g of the old 201. This is surprising, as the overall size has been reduced.
The direct comparison on the Garmin website between the 201 and the 401 can be found here.
So all in all exciting news but it is a little bit disappointing to see how little the device has improved over at least six years. But as said earlier it remains to be seen how the device actually performs. Prices are on the Garmin page at $200.00 for the 301 and $260.00 for the 401. There are not yet any prices for the UK.
It is advertised on the Garmin blog as “Versatile new Foretrex units perfect for military use or some family fun”. This is a big leap between the two and although we know this is where the technology is coming from the two don’t go well together.

Image by Garmin

Thursday, 18 June 2009

UD Interviews - Maps and Schedules

The interviews are conducted towards the end of the participants tracking period. Designed as a semi structure interview they are recorded. The aim of the interview is to collect information on how the participants actually perceive the activities and how he/she would describe these routines. It is also designed to record additional information about the purpose and the destination of recorded trips. From the GPS data a schedule can be generated, but this might not reflect the intended plans of the individual. Through this personal input it is thought, that the meaning of the data analysis is improved. An additional interest is the participant's memory of their activities. Around this topic a number of questions are designed.
The interview is structured through main topics; these are demographics, routine, space, movement, map, memory, and GPS device. The demographics section is aiming to establish the participant's situation and commitments that influence his/her routines and activities. The next topic is routine, trying to establish the participants different routines set within different time frames, over a day a week and the whole year. As part of this the participants are asked to write this down on a prepared schedule. This will allow to compare the schedules participants have given themselves with the schedule generated from the recorded data. Overall schedules generated from the data will be discussed in the section graphs further below. The topics space and movement are looking into how participants use the space on a daily basis and how it is perceived in connection to the routines. It will also be interesting to see how they are able to connect the spaces they frequently visit regarding their mental map. This is especially interesting in this London setting, as for example the traveling by tube might leave the travelers unable to connect locations spatially. Movement on the other hand is directed towards how participants travel and how this is part of the routine. Here again it is interesting to hear from the participants how they see them selves and how much they think they travel. For the map the participants are asked to draw the mental map of one journey. It is the journey from home to work and back for all participants to allow to compare. To draw the map they are asked to include not only the direction they travel, but also additional elements they use for navigation, orientation or simply remind them about the route. This can be street names, buildings or urban settings. The last topic is to talk to the participants about the usage of the GPS device and their personal experience. This includes general usage, charging, downloading, comfort of wearing and so on.
During the interview interesting aspects of daily activities come up. An interesting one is that a lot of participants do feel the need to explain their activities and excuse for them. Another aspect is that there is a strong believe that more or stronger is better. In this case it is related to amount of movement, flexibility or distance. Routine seems to have a negative image, where as flexible and independent seem to be positive. This experiment has been very disappointing for a number of participants in this respect, as the recorded movement unveiled a routine that seemed to be much stronger than the participants have so far realized.

Images from UrbanDiary - participants mental map of journey to work

The participants draw these maps during the interview, without any visual help such as maps or graphics. It is only their memory they can use and therefore are said to represent the mental image the individual carries in his/her mind. In this setting the mental image of what the participants remembers of their daily trips will be provoked to be visualized. Participants are asked to draw all the same journey, the daily trip from home to their work place and back. This will provide a minimal base they all have in common to let them become comparable.

This large data set is at the moment being processed. Some first analysis of maps and schedules have featured on the blog earlier.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Protests in Iran Early Map Mashups

Following the election results from last Friday large-scale protests are under way in Iran since the weekend. On BBC journalists guess they are the biggest demonstration since the 1979 revolution. They guess, because journalists are no longer allowed to work and cover stories related to election and protests.
The Government seems to have restricted services on Telephones, SMS and Internet. Protesters and Iranians from all over the world have taken to Twitter to communicate and report on what is happening. Also on youtube the videos documenting scenes and rallies are huge. Twitter has reportedly delayed its maintenance, which would have meant for the site being down during the day for Iranians, as found on ITworld. It appears that Twitter is down in the UK at the moment at 2009-06-16 22h05. This might not mean that it is down in Iran. We’ll hear about it in the news.
It is amazing how quick location based information is generated and within almost the last year it has become normal in the internet to have all the information georeferenced on a map.
Some fist mashups, found on programmableweb and googlemapMania, have emerged others will definitely follow, when the newspapers get round to actually start mapping some information.

A mashup with Twitter mesages by mibazaar click to access

And a mash-up with clips from YouTube by mibazaar click to access

Mashup by 20min.fr click to access

If you know nothing about Iran, the BBC has put together some helpful information, in maps and in text on latest events and in text on historical events.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Dog Drawing

A series of video tracking clips by Jeremy Wood. Great visualz, but not sure how it is done and processed. It sais GPS but it looks more like video tracking...

by Jeremy Wood and Hugh Pryor

Dog Drawing from Jeremy Wood on Vimeo.

Jeremy Wood is working with GPS for a long time and on his website GPSdrawing.com he shows an extensive archive of his personal records and works using GPS. There are some great drawings and writing to be checked out.

Image by Jeremy Wood - Location: N51° 52' 14.3" W3° 27' 36.4" Brecon Beacons (2.1 km SW from Pen Y Fan), Wales
Time: 16/07/02 (09:41:07-10:29:14), Track Length: 4.169 km, Average speed: 3.5 kph, Method: Foot
I lost the fight to finish the off the dragon in the time available, it remains half emerged from the side of a hill.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Shaping City Presentation at ARUP London

I gave a talk today at ARUP London about my research on cycles and rhythms in the city.
The talk was titled Shaping Cities, from the body rhythm to urban morphology. With this title, it brings together the different aspects of scale in the research, ranging from natural body functions to patterns of movement in the city.
Along this key terms such as memory, identity, time and orientation are explored and visualized with examples from the work featuring on this blog, ranging from PLY365 to UrbanDiary.


Friday, 12 June 2009

Cycle of Greatness - the PGA Tour

The topic of cycles covers a great range of scales. This could be ranging from body functions like the pulse to daily routines weekly repetition of free days to yearly celebration of festivals and goes all the way up to live cycles or careers. A lot of aspects of life are cyclical and there is continuous repetition.
A surprising category is the subject of sport. Talking F1, there are a number of careers of great drivers that are not linear. A great example is Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton’s careers. A big up and down and kind of unpredictable sequences. Button started of almost ten years ago as a promising driver, but hasn’t really won anything until this season. Hamilton on the other hand has won the title world champion in his second year, but is nowhere in his third.
There is a lot of talent involved, but a large part is also routine and practice. This applies to all areas of excellence. It does need the right format to fit the particular field, but then it takes time to build a confidence and routine. Some people claim it to be around 10’000 hours of practice to turn someone into an expert.
On the golf course things are similar. Online at History shots I came across this great visualization of the major performers on the PGA tour. If you are familiar with this sport from Hagen to Woods will tell you something, if not don’t worry just look at the curves and lines of the visualization and you’ll understand the joy, sadness, hope and tragedy of a great variety of careers.
Image from Historyshots

"Cycles of Greatness is a fascinating map of the history of all the great golfers over the past 90 years. From Hagen to Woods, it's all covered; the amount of information is stunning. Any fan of golf will certainly enjoy this print." Patrick Gleason, P.G.A. Professional
Image can be bought on the website directly, It is properly sourced, with a long list of golf references ...!

Image from Historyshots detail

Interesting are how the careers are interwoven, as the rise of one player means the fall of some others. In the special zooms integrated on the main map, these details of tour rivalry are shown and it visualizes how these ups and downs are connected.

Image from Historyshots detail

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Following the Disruption

The tube strike in London did go ahead and is in action since yesterday 19h00. Operation on all tube lines is disrupted. But actually some lines have a service.
What a surprise the Northern Line has a good service since morning. It was the first line to be open, but during the morning other lines opened.
Staff at Euston kept a map to inform passengers what service is available. At around 10h15 already a number of lines operate a very delayed and interrupted service.

Image by UrbanTick

The clip starts in Tufnell Park where little is to see from the strike impact, as the Northern Line is in good service. Only buses coming down towards Kentish Town are jammed. There are obviously a lot of commuters on the bus who usually take the tube. At each stop a number of people ask the driver for advice and information on where the bus goes and how to get to certain places. On a normal day on the bus, hardly anyone speaks to the driver.
Same at Mornington Crescent, tube station is open and not busy. Towards Euston it gets busier and a lot of people are walking down the street, as road is jammed with buses. Euston runs a taxi service with a special taxi marshal, and the queue reaches through the big entrance hall.
Other tube stations are deserted and ticket offices closed.

UTtubeStrike_090610_HD from urbanTick on Vimeo.

music from mp3 unsigned by
Andrew Bowsher & The Sceptics (Experimental)
A man at one with his bedroom

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Disruption Second Take

A major strike on the Tube in London is announced for today. From Today Tuesday 19h00 to Thursday 19h00 there will be no Tube services in London if the strike goes ahead as announced. This will mean that thousands of commuters and travelers will be forced to search for alternatives.
We already had this once this year. The heavy (12cm : ) snowfall from February 2nd brought a major disruption to London’s transport network and an extra day of for thousands of Londoners. This event was covered in posts here and here.
And again this disruption will change the rush hour for two days. Maybe everyone will be using the riverboat service, as the Major Boris Johnson has arranged for all of us to travel for free.
We’ll see how London and Londoners will manage the situation. In terms of routines it will definitely be different.
Transport for London promotes cycling and walking; this is the cheapest option for them. Walking maps are available from the tfl.gov.uk site. The maps are not very good and hardly any better as a normal tourist guide. Maybe another project would actually be a bit more successful here. The shortwalk project is aiming at promoting the information about distances between inner London tube stations. While doing some research the people behind the project discovered that sometimes it is actually quicker to walk than squeezing into the tube. A nice map visualizes this.

Image by shortwalk

Other option is to plan your journey as a walk on walkit.com or even Google Maps could help you find the shortest route...

A micro blogger community has formed and collects a variety of suggestions and options to beat the strike. A good collection of them is available on TimesOnline. Unlike with the snowfall in February, people seem to be determined to get in to work tomorrow. We’ll see how it goes and whether or not Londoner can make it again a positive disruption of their weekly rhythms.

First Images start to emerge on the web, Image from Canary Wharf. A new central London transport map on Flickr, click for details:
Image from carltonreid's photostream

TomTom for the iPhone

At yesterdays WWDC TomTom has announced to release their in car navigation for the iPhone (also for the new iPhone 3GS) including car kit for secure docking. The docking attaches to the windscreen and allows portrait and landscape mode.
The TomTom application including the latest maps will be available from the iTunes store soon they say.
Some first shots from the conference shown at engadget.

Lets hope soon, so that we can have a look at it. So far we have to enjoy the clip on Youtube:

See the TomTom announcement here.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Explore, Collect, Run - with Open Street Map

Trailrunner is managing software for exercising. It supports a broad variety of exercising forms, ranging from manual records, pulse meters, shoe pods to GPS trackers. The software has been around for a few years and has evolved quite a bit. Especially now with the new 2.0 release that is available now as a beta release. The new feature that caught the attention is the integration of Open Street Map.
With Trailrunner you would always get a base map. Even in the early days you could choose from different free mapping services. For a free online available software this was something special. Although the maps and aerials have been crude and often in a low resolution it was something that differed Trailrunner from others.
Things have changed dramatically across the internet regarding free mapping services and very detailed and accurate information is available in different forms. Trailrunner managed to develop in sync with this and when you look at the product now, the map integration is probably still the best feature. With the integration of Open Street Map (OSM) the software allows access to the open source platform and ensures a certain independency from Google or Microsoft Virtual Earth. Both other services are available too, but to give the user the choice between the completely different projects is a big plus. Out there in the mapping community is a great divide, or better a number of divisions. Some swear on Google maps, other only use Microsoft and a third group would only go for open source projects such as OSM. Integrating all of them is a clever move and pleases a wider user group. It is even possible to manually ad your own maps.
But apart form this Trailrunner knows to please with a series of other features too. From the range of supported gadget, to the range of file formats and the detail of visualization and settings, all the way to the customization there is something for everyone.
The software supports directly the import from iPhone/iPod, the Nike Pod, LoadMyTracks, SonicLink and a variety of Garmin formats and software including the Ant Stick. Manually files can be imported from a GPX, TCX, HRM or KML file format.
The visualizations are on the map or as diagrams and include a nice playback feature. The tracks can be manipulated right in the software by splitting or merging and new tracks can be added also by drawing them directly on the map. For exporting there are options to choose from such as, GPX, TCX, KML, PDF or text available. There are lots to the Trailrunner and elements like dairy and exercise plan I haven’t discussed here. Compared to other similar services such as the online service Garmin Connect or Nokia’s Sports Tracker it demonstrates how much fun managing your exercises can be. For up to date news visit the Trailrunner blog. The latest software version of Trailrunner can be downloaded here.


Friday, 5 June 2009

Inaugural Ceremony 2009 - Obama one People

“For President Obama's 100th day in office, the MIT SENSEable City Lab has created visualizations of mobile phone call activity that characterize the inaugural crowd and answer the questions: Who was in Washington, D.C. for President Obama's Inauguration Day?”
The team arond Carlo Ratti has not only recently visualized and analyzed mobile phone data. They have been experimenting with this data source for a while and produced number of interesting projects. There are the great visualizations for Rome that show mobile phone activities during the Madonna concert, done mainly by Jon Reades.
Reads is again involved with this project set up round Obma’s inauguration day back in January. This time the mobile phone call data from around the ceremony’s location is analyzed. It is analyzed regarding amount of activity and destination of the call, either world wide or per american state. THe time period they are looking at is the full week in which the inauguration took place.

Isn’t it amazing what can be done with a mobile phone call data set? Yes and No. Yes, because there is a great deal of information hidden in the data and results of who is watching and presumably reporting this back home is interesting compared to the results of the election. Questions like did states who voted for Obama attend the ceremony or did mainly states that voted for McCain follow he ceremony live, are of interest. But it has o be said, that the visualizations from the clip are very difficult to understand. There is probably too much being communicated at the same time. The two lines of information along the left hand side and the bottom together with the animation in the centre are confusing. Earlier visualz comming out of the lab where using a different graphic and I fond where simpler to understand, such as the New York Talk exchange or the Puls of the Planet.

Image from senseable.mit.edu/obama - click for beter resolution version)

The No for the second part of the answer probably goes for “if we can do it, we might not wana do it” or not everything we can do, we actually want to do. The MIT shows here that it is possible to map and animate this kind of information. Potentially even in real time, although they are taking 100 days to do it (this is most like a problem with the mobile phone companies, but nevertheless it might be possible to generate instant visualz of this kind of data. THe problem lies with the interpretation of it. This is not as instant as the visual. It takes time to understand the content and to define a reasonable bit to compare it to. As shown in this example the pro Obama votes.
So it is not quite what they sel it to be, but it is still a great visualization of space-time data - the Obam aquarium if you want.


Thursday, 4 June 2009

Book - Data FLow

Visualisation is part of our daily lives and we re constantly reading, interpreting or producing this kind of communication. In today’s book visualisations are described, as “Visual metaphors are a powerful aid to human thinking.” It goes o with referring to the modern time and the newly found complexity with “As our experience of the world has become more complex and nuanced, the demands to our thinking aids have increased proportionally.”
Anyway, the book is about visualiing information and called Data Flow - Visualizing Information in Graphic Design. It is not new, new, but recent, published by Gestalten in late 2008. It brings together a great collection of recent graphic visualisations of information and data. Of course the book it self is highly designed and a real joy to look at.

Image from Data Flow - Cover

The book is structured into six topics, namely Datasphere, Datanet, Datascape, Dataoid, Datalogy, and Datablocks. This is a purely visual characterisation of the final products, but formally helpful and of course sexy. Actually sexy is pretty much everything in this book.
As these titles already tell you the represent circle, net, surfaces, blocks. Those are the simple ones, the hard ones are Dataoid and Datalogy, here some references are needed to explain what the editor means with the title. Datanoid is deriving from humanoid, meaning “having human characteristics or form”. It describes visualisations humans can easily relate to through different ways, by integrating people, photographs and actions. The Datalogy seems to derive from analogy and refers to “similar to”, combining comparison and experience.
To make things simper a complex structure is needed. The book certainly achieves this. They seem fairly formal groupings at first, but have some thinking behind.

Images from Data Flow - Chapter introduction

The introduction to each chapter stars with a quite poetic description of each topic. This makes reading the book fun but is little helpful if one is interested in details. It is followed by a summary of the chapter again in a fairly superficial manner, but comparing or introducing a few key examples. This gives a good impression of what follows. Each graphic is then described with a short text block of around 60 words. This is very brief an each creator could probably fill pages with contextual information, but the visualisation is designed to speak for it self so it might be a good compromise. This kind of defines the character of the book; it is more of a compendium than a reader, containing a collection and not a description.
Between all this there are a few interview with designers of some of the presented visualisations, they are, Lust, Jessica Hagy, Cybu Richli and Catalogtree. Some of their work also features over a number of pages, whereas normally through out the book, one page is one visual, with 256 pages this might be about 180 different visuals in full colour obviously.
The interviews are rather short, something around eight questions. The style of the interview is a rather school like question and answer game. A bit more of a flexible chat would probably make the discussion more interesting. In the end one gets the feeling that the questions generally have been rather implicit, which leaves little room for surprising answers. Anyway, I you have the patience to read through them there is interesting insight on who the designers approach projects and what they think about the topic of visualisation.

There are a number of diagrams we have seen published elsewhere before. One of Christian Nolde’s Emotion Maps, the San Francisco Emotion Map is published here. For his book Emotional Cartography see earlier post here. Funny enough this is in the chapter Datascape and not in Dataoid. Other projects are the cap spotting project that features with a graphic (see blog entry), or the "manual" visualisation of mobile phone activity by Nicolas Fischer, maybe something the MIT should be thinking about (upcoming blog post) or the plotting of the 90 minutes movement of footballer, taken from the Game England vs. Poland in the 2006 World Cup. Who won 2:1?

Images from Data Flow - Sample pages

Some of the other stuff, mainly the Dataspheres recently featured in the Computer Arts 2009 March edition.
To conclude on this review, the book is great and very sexy, as mentioned above. It is one of the sort of books that give you real inspiration and immediately makes you wana pimp all that recent stuff you have produced. And once more you find yourself saying, I knew it for long it is possible to actually produce great visuals! And for a very short moment you forget about all the crap and ugly stuff your are surrounded by, nice!

Image from Data Flow - Sample page, just because it is so nice.

The book:
R. Klanten, N. Bourquin, S. Ehmann, F. van Heerden, T. Tissot, 2008. Data Flow. Berlin: Gestalten

Some links to designer featuring in the book:

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

UrbanDiary Data in Autodesk Map 3D

CASA has recently been awarded “Centre of Excellence“ by Autodesk, and they provide their software packages. The software no is available in CASA and a few projects are taking shape on them. See a recent post by digitalUrban on the latest project using LandXplorer to map aerial images onto a 3d Lidar London model.
An other software of the Autodesk package is the Map 3D, a sort of AutoCAD GIS. On their website it is described as ”AutoCAD® Map 3D software enables engineers, planners, mapping technicians, surveyors, and GIS professionals to directly access, edit, visualize, and analyze a broad variety of CAD and spatial data in a familiar AutoCAD® software environment.“
With the experience from the previous mapping of the UrbanDiary data, this product looked as if it would be worth having a look at. The initial came from a link I came a cross on the web while searching for something related to a csv file. On map3d.wordpress.com I cam ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ a blog post on how to import a csv file into Map 3D and as the UrbanDiary data was available in csv I thought I just give it a go.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Image by UrbanTick - Screenshots from Map 3D

Image by UrbanTick - Screenshots from Map 3D - attribute box

It is actually straightforward once I figured out that the data formats in the csv file have to be set to number rather than text. Anyway, the data can be linked in via the OCDB data base link. This will include all the attributes from the csv table.
So far so good the data is there and can be used. With the help of the attribute table, changes in the visualization are simple. The rule builder is easy to use and produces good results, including an automatically generated key

Image by UrbanTick - Screenshots from Map 3D - generated key

Image by UrbanTick - Screenshots from Map 3D - data displayed per week day including a label

So for not having used the software before I am quite satisfied with the result. Importing the data, sorting it according to the attribute table and apply visualization characteristics depending on features, not bad.
It appears that the program slows down quite quickly. The first run was with a subset o the UrbanDiary data, some 10’000 points and this was fine. Going up to 45’000 points used quite a lot of power and slowed down the machine drastically. Switching from 2D mode into 3D did not really work and it was a struggle to get back without quitting the program.
The next thing was the analyzing functions. Using the buffer worked ok, again on a subset of points, but the machine got slower again. Meaning it was not responding at times and I would get the funny message by Vista ”The program is currently not responding would you like to quit or wait for the program?“ Of course I want to wait for the program and eventually it would come back. The first crash was not far and after the importing some aerial imagery of London to give the points some context I gave up. But only for today, because I was impressed by the program’s user-friendly approach. Compared to other GIS that are very technical, Map 3D was a little bit intuitive to me. I am now telling myself that the performance problems are all down to me not being experienced enough and it will be all better next time.
The next thing to try is eventually to get the GPS data from Map 3D into Autodesk 3D Studio Max for visualization purposes. This would be the software way, people here in CASA are currently working on a programming solution for this.

Movement Mapping Using Flickr

As a by-product of a research project called “Mapping the World’s Photos” a nice movement map was generated. The work by Davis Crandall, Lars Backstrom, Daniel Huttenlocher and Jon Kleinberg from the Department of Computer Science, Cornell University is looking at organizing a large collection of geotagged photos. Large in this context means something around 35 million images, collected from Flickr via the public API. The main hypothesis of the project is “that geospatial information provides an important source of structure that can be directly integrated with visual and textual-tag content for organizing global-scale photo collections”. They where using image recognition software to locate the photos together with the interpretation of the photo tags.
In this context the computation bit behind this is not the focus of the interest, although it sounds very impressive. If you are interested in this bit, have a look at their paper directly, which is published online here.
The bit I am interested for this post is the bit where they plot the geospatial information. As they describe it in their paper it was more of a by-product that came with the project, but never the less it generated interesting visuals.
By using the time stamp and the geolocation the movement of the photographer can be traced. Similar to a rough GPS track the different locations a photo is taken can be mapped as a sequence in space and time. Crandall et all where plotting this information and the result was a series of urban tourist’s movement maps. In the paper they published two of them on of Manhattan, NY and the other one of the San Francisco Bay area.

Image courtesy of David Crandall / New York - To produce these figures, we plotted the geolocated coordinates of sequences of images taken by the same user, sorted by time, for which consecutive photos were no more than 30 minutes apart.

A great way to collect data by mining the existing and continuously growing, as they call it “global photo library” by using the public API and the published image information. It is a project very similar to the recently posted project “Just landed”, where the Twitter API was used together with a tweet analysis regarding phrases containing “just landed” to map global movement.
The selection of the image generators, the photographers and sharers is again, just as it was with twitter a critical point. Who does this represent, who is this group and what can we learn from this groups data?

An other city mapped by the photos taken is London.
London generated from FLickr photo locations
Image courtesy of David Crandall / London as seen through the camera clicks shared on Flickr with geolocation.

Quoted paper: David Crandall, Lars Backstrom, Daniel Huttenlocher and Jon Kleinberg, 2009. Mapping the World’s Photos.

Found through 7.5th Floor by Fabien Girardin - As he points out in his blog post there are a number of related projects including Currid and Williams’ work on Mapping the Cultural Buzz.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

36h city - projection

A beautiful clip documenting a video installation about the city. 36h city is multi layered, but also a multi dimensional projection merging different aspects of the city in order to paint a more comprehensive picture. The very interesting point here is how time can be integrated in a spatial representation. The narrative is simple and only concerned with the city but very complex on how it can be told.
This work was produced by dottodot as a design for an exhibition. They where using only one projector for this and it was put together in a software called vvvv.

Lea 36h City Projection from Ankit Shekhawat on Vimeo.

And just because this is so beautiful, I put in a second clip from the same producers using the same technique. This time it is built around a hotel room.

lea ceramiche 36H hotel scenario 3d projection from dotdotdot on Vimeo.

dottodot have also produced lots of other nice interactive exhibition designs such a SkyWalker or Valcucine’s skyscraper.