Abstract. Geographically referenced user generated content provides us with an opportunity to, for the first time, gather perspectives on place over large areas by exploring how very many people describe information. We present a framework for analysing large collections of user generated content. This involves classification of descriptive terms attached by users to photographs into facets of elements, qualities, and activities. We apply this framework to two contrasting photographic archives — Flickr and Geograph, representing weakly and strongly moderated content respectively. We propose a method for removing user–generated bias from such collections though the user of term profiles that can assess the effect of the most and least prolific contributors to a collection. Analysis and visualization of co–occurrence between terms suggests clear differences in the description of place between the two collections, both in terms of the facets used and their geographical footprints. This is attributed to the role of moderation/editorialising of content; to the role tags and free–text have on descriptive behaviour and to the geographic footprint of content supplied by the two collections.

… Not so long ago, airports were built near cities, and roads connected the one to the other. This pattern—the city in the center, the airport on the periphery— shaped life in the twentieth century, from the central city to exurban sprawl. Today, the ubiquity of jet travel, round-the-clock workdays, overnight shipping, and global business networks has turned the pattern inside out. Soon the airport will be at the center and the city will be built around it, the better to keep workers, suppliers, executives, and goods in touch with the global market. 

This is the aerotropolis: a combination of giant airport, planned city, shipping facility, and business hub. The aerotropolis approach to urban living is now reshaping life in Seoul and Amsterdam, in China and India, in Dallas and Washington, D.C. The aerotropolis is the frontier of the next phase of globalization, whether we like it or not …

Amazon Exclusive: A Q&A with Author Greg Lindsay

Q: In a few sentences, what’s the central message of your book?

A: Successful cities have always been founded because of trade—from Ur to New York, these are places where people exchange goods, money and ideas. Meanwhile, the shape of cities has always been defined by transportation. Boston was built around its docks;,Chicago around the railroads, and Los Angeles around the car. And the world is poised to build literally hundreds of new cities as 3 billion urbanize over the next forty years. So where would you put a new city today? And how would a city in western China—historically the middle of nowhere—connect to the world? The answer is the airport. In a global economy, where trillions of dollars in goods and billions of people follow digital bits around the world, sooner or later we would end up building cities defined by their airports, because the only geography that matters vis economic geography. It sounds like science fiction, but it’s always been this way.

Q: What differentiates the aerotropolis from other commercially-centered visions of urban planning, like the suburban strip mall or Leavittown?

A: Those are examples of what you get when private developers are driving the agenda, which has been the case in American since post-WWII suburbia, at least. The places that are consciously looking to develop (or redevelop) the areas around their airports, like Detroit, or Amsterdam, or Beijing, have done a much better job about thinking regionally, about bringing public and private interests together, and trying to build something that makes sense from both an economic and urban planning standpoint, rather than just make a quick buck. A great example is Amsterdam, which built an entirely new business district called the Zuidas on its southern border with towers expressly designed for the Netherlands’ largest banks and other companies, along with housing, all centered on a train station that is six minutes from the airport. It’s a lot better than the alternative—exurbs lying forty miles from Phoenix, Arizona.

… A few methods of mapping time and space that I am interested in exploring in my own work:

“Solidarity Map” AREA Chicago 2006 - methodology: the power of naming places

“Superimpositions” Dan Mills 2007 method: scale comparison of Iraq and United States – this also reminds me of the power of the If It Were My Home Oil Spill Map.


“A Historical, Chronological and Genealogical Chart” Bostwick method: mapping geographical location with change over time.


“Evolution Charts” Loewy 1933 method: mapping change in forms over time.


“Los Angeles Urban Rangers Official Map and Guide” LA Urban Rangers 2004 method: subverting conventional NPS map symbology


“Memory Map” Ellis Nadler 2007 method: drawing things as we remember or imagine them — which reminds me that I need to add Kevin Lynch to my reading list.


“Polish American System of Chronology” Elizabeth Palmer Peabody 1850 method: total geometric abstraction of time.

“Water Line” Maya Lin 2002 method: showing 2-d representational methods in 3-d.

CrisisCommons is a global network of volunteers who use creative problem solving and open technologies to help people and communities in times and places of crisis. We seek not only coders, programmers, geospatial and visualization ninjas but collaborative, smart and savvy folks who can lead teams, manage projects, search the internet, translate languages, apply intuitive and universal access interfaces. We embrace innovation and open systems. We believe an idea can change the world. As they say, it takes a village. Won’t you join our tribe?

Geografias do Mar - Projeto de videoinstalação “Geografias do Mar # Travessia”

Geografias do Mar # Travessia é uma videoinstalação composta por vídeos produzidos a partir da Travessia Mar Grande-Salvador e de imagens-satélite. A obra aborda as experimentações do mar vivenciadas por nadadores, barqueiros e tripulantes de pequenas embarcações.

Três monitores dispostos lado a lado exibem diferentes vídeos. O primeiro apresenta a navegação através da rota de GPS gerada pela equipe de filmagem no dia da Travessia Mar Grande-Salvador. O áudio deste vídeo foi elaborado a partir de entrevistas realizadas com os maratonistas neste mesmo dia, após a competição. O segundo monitor exibe três vídeos com imagens gravadas durante o percurso da travessia, com captura de som ambiente e/ou trilha sonora. Já o terceiro monitor mostra imagens de simulação da variação de calor no Oceano Atlântico

HBO’s The Wire is an urbanistic enquiry too | Y Magazine
… n The Wire, the city appears clearly for what it is: an organic Social Network in which commercial, political, criminal informations and goods are passed through, like it happens in a DNA chain, making a difference not only for the single point, but for the whole chain.
s noted by James Harkin in his recent book Cyburbia: The Dangerous Idea That’s Changing How We Live and Who We are, The Wire is one of the most accurate enquiries over an urban environment – if you think at them as a network of exchanges. But it’s more than that, The Wire gives us a map to orientate ourselves in a modern city. And not in a prototype or just a city of the future, but the cities as we already know it: an urban conglomerate of chinese boxes where the money, their movements, their transfers, their rehabilitation from dirty money to clean and disposable money makes everything happen – from the planning of the instruction system to the renovation of urban areas, from transportations to media topics.As a result of all these blind effects, The Wire shows his “omniscient” follower the daily reterritorialization of Baltimore’s “moral” geography.

HBO’s The Wire is an urbanistic enquiry too | Y Magazine

… n The Wire, the city appears clearly for what it is: an organic Social Network in which commercial, political, criminal informations and goods are passed through, like it happens in a DNA chain, making a difference not only for the single point, but for the whole chain.

s noted by James Harkin in his recent book Cyburbia: The Dangerous Idea That’s Changing How We Live and Who We areThe Wire is one of the most accurate enquiries over an urban environment – if you think at them as a network of exchanges. But it’s more than that, The Wire gives us a map to orientate ourselves in a modern city. And not in a prototype or just a city of the future, but the cities as we already know it: an urban conglomerate of chinese boxes where the money, their movements, their transfers, their rehabilitation from dirty money to clean and disposable money makes everything happen – from the planning of the instruction system to the renovation of urban areas, from transportations to media topics.
As a result of all these blind effects, The Wire shows his “omniscient” follower the daily reterritorialization of Baltimore’s “moral” geography.

Critical Planning is the graduate student-run journal of the UCLA Urban Planning Department, producing one volume annually. Since 1993, Critical Planning has served as a forum for the urban studies and planning communities to debate current issues, showcase emerging research, and propose new ideas concerning cities and regions. The journal attracts submissions from scholars, graduate students, and practitioners from across disciplinary boundaries and from around the world. Through our double-blind peer-review process, Critical Planning is committed to identifying and publishing insightful scholarly research with a critical approach. As one of the cores of intellectual life in the Urban Planning Department, the journal provides a convivial space for rigorous debate. Our public programs—including lectures, exhibitions, film screenings, and symposia—extend this work to audiences in Los Angeles and beyond …

Prácticas cartográficas: de los oligopolios a los sistemas abiertos

Siguiendo con el artículo sobre GPS hackers,

En la práctica cartográfica digital, tanto en los mapas como en el software de análisis (los GIS, sistemas de información geográfica, y programas similares) se han creado monopolios u oligopolios (en el software el monopolio de ESRI con ArcGis; en los mapas los oligopolios de Nokia y TomTom). El resultado son acceso restringido (por coste y limitaciones legales y de formatos), costes muy elevados y usos restringidos a expertos asociados a instituciones y empresas.

La combinación de iniciativas abiertas de comunidades de usuarios (en mapas OpenStreetMap; en software algunos proyectos de software libre, aunque en este caso su impacto ha sido mucho más limitado) y de empresas (Google con Maps y Earth o Garmin dejando que sus gadgets funcionen con OpenStreetMap) han permitido la popularización de las prácticas cartográficas (desde el uso de mapas digitales, GPS y software para navegación a la creación de cartografías ciudadanas), el abaratamiento radical de estas herramientas y la mejora de la calidad de los sistemas.

Los oligopolios basados en sistemas cerrados han provocado una geografía convencional ligada a los intereses de las instituciones que controlan los datos y herramientas. Los sistemas abiertos han permitido el desarrollo de una cartografía ciudadana y de una geografía experimental que critica las visiones convencionales e inmovilistas y permite la creatividad en el análisis y la resolución de problemas.

The Territory is the Map – Space in the Age of Digital Navigation (pdf). Valérie November, Eduardo Camacho-Hübner & Bruno Latour (submitted to Environment and Planning).

Let us begin with a mapping difficulty that has puzzled us for a long time: when a cartographer wishes to record some reefs that might threaten the navigation of ships and yachts, it is enough to draw their rough shape and inscribe them on the map by pinpointing their exact location using their longitude and latitude and indicating by a conventional symbol the presence of a conventionally painted warning buoy. But when the same cartographer wishes to draw the risks (fire, flood, pollution, unemployment, crime etc) that might have to be taken into account by a given population, she is told that there is no place on the map for that sort of preoccupation and that it should be added as a thematic layer “on top” of a base map. So, whereas reefs can easily be mapped with the usual vocabulary of points, lines, surfaces and names, it is much more difficult for risks. This is surprising since both reefs and risks seem to belong equally to the definition of what is a territory and since both are clear obstacles to courses of action, both should be registered and marked just as easily through sets of conventions on many kind of maps (such as danger maps) …

The current issue of the Journal of Location Based Services is a special edition on Neogeography edited by Sanjay Rana and Thierry Joliveau.

Apart from the editorial there are three papers of particular note in this special issue. The first is by Michael Goodchild, entitiled “NeoGeography and the nature of geographic expertise" The abstract of the paper is below:

"NeoGeography has been defined as a blurring of the distinctions between producer, communicator and consumer of geographic information. The relationship between professional and amateur varies across disciplines. The subject matter of geography is familiar to everyone, and the acquisition and compilation of geographic data have become vastly easier as technology has advanced. The authority of traditional mapping agencies can be attributed to their specifications, production mechanisms and programs for quality control. Very different mechanisms work to ensure the quality of data volunteered by amateurs. Academic geographers are concerned with the extraction of knowledge from geographic data using a combination of analytic tools and accumulated theory. The definition of NeoGeography implies a misunderstanding of this role of the professional, but English lacks a basis for a better term. "

The second article is by Marcus Foth et al., entitled “The Second Life of urban planning? Using NeoGeography tools for community engagement" The abstract of the paper reads:

"The majority of the world’s citizens now live in cities. Although urban planning can thus be thought of as a field with significant ramifications on the human condition, many practitioners feel that it has reached the crossroads in thought leadership between traditional practice and a new, more participatory and open approach. Conventional ways to engage people in participatory planning exercises are limited in reach and scope. At the same time, socio-cultural trends and technology innovation offer opportunities to re-think the status quo in urban planning. NeoGeography introduces tools and services that allow non-geographers to use advanced geographical information systems. Similarly, is there a potential for the emergence of a neo-planning paradigm in which urban planning is carried out through active civic engagement aided by Web 2.0 and new media technologies thus redefining the role of practicing planners? This paper traces a number of evolving links between urban planning, NeoGeography and information and communication technology. Two significant trends - participation and visualisation - with direct implications for urban planning are discussed. Combining advanced participation and visualisation features, the popular virtual reality environment Second Life is then introduced as a test bed to explore a planning workshop and an integrated software event framework to assist narrative generation. We discuss an approach to harness and analyse narratives using virtual reality logging to make transparent how users understand and interpret proposed urban designs". 

While the third paper is by myself, Andrew CrooksMaurizio GibinRichard Milton; and Michael Batty entitled “NeoGeography and Web 2.0: concepts, tools and applications" in which we explore the concepts and applications of Web 2.0 through the new media of NeoGeography and its impact on how we collect, interact and search for spatial information. We argue that location and space are becoming increasingly important in the information technology revolution. To this end, we present a series of software tools which we have designed to facilitate the non-expert user to develop online visualisations which are essentially map-based. These are based on Google Map Creator, which can produce any number of thematic maps which can be overlaid on Google Maps. We then introduce MapTube, a technology to generate an archive of shared maps, before introducing Google Earth Creator, Image Cutter and PhotoOverlay Creator. All these tools allow users to display and share information over the web. Finally, we present how Second Life has the potential to combine all aspects of Web 2.0, visualisation and NeoGeography in a single multi-user three-dimensional collaborative environment.