Tuesday 26 November 2013

Luminous Cities: offering an alternative way of geotag

Image1. The webpage of Luminous Cities_Manhattan

Studying human behaviours and communication in time and space has been regarded as the important factor of modern urban planning. In this digital era, collecting online data and analysing the data provide an opportunity to understand the intention and the process of the behaviours and the communication which had not been revealed.

Geotag, which is attached on Social Network Service (SNS), is concerned as one of connecting link between the internet and urban. Mainly, there are two types of geotag. One is user-generated geotag that SNS users identify the places on their contents. The other is automatically generated with spatial coordination by the services. It represents the political, social and economic characteristics of the places as well as the physical location of the user or the data produced.

There are many good examples of mapping the geotag data of SNS. Eric Fischer’s well known mapping images reveal not only the density of the geotag data but also social aspects in cities such as the invisible dimensions of tourism in New York (Image 2). Twitter Languages in London by James Cheshire and Ed Manley shows the popularity of languages depends on different locations in London ((Image 3).

Image2. The mapping geotag data of locals and tourists by Eric Fischer 

Image3. Twitter Languages in London, James Cheshire and Ed Manley

Luminous Cities is the project to demonstrate the interactive map of Flickr geotag data supported by CASA at UCL and CSAP at the University of Leeds. It has developed by Gavin Baily and Sarah Bagshaw. The project does not remain the displaying density and distribution of the geotag, but offers in-detail contents of the geotag such as user, tag, time of the day and timeline over 50 cities in the world. With the multiple contents, Luminous Cities could be a platform to check out the geotag data of Flickr based on personal interest, and to view their cities from a different side. When it comes to Networking City, who is interested in protest and demonstration in the city, it would be a helpful tool to examine the relationship between protests or occupy tags of Flickr in London and actual events of them. Also, some interesting results may be emerging when we compare two data sets: Flickr and Twitter.

Image4. Berlin user geotag map from the webpage of Luminous Cities

Image5. London occupy geotag map from the webpage of Luminous Cities

Image6. Tokyo geotag map, Zoom out, from the webpage of Luminous Cities

Image7. Tokyo geotag map, Zoom in, from the webpage of Luminous Cities

You can find more things from following links.
Flickr was shown as the highest growing application in 2013 by Mashable

Mapping the world with Flickr and Twitter by Guardian

Infographic Of The Day: Using Twitter And Flickr Geotags To Map The World

Sunday 10 November 2013

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, Python and 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