#OpenStreetMap - A Year of Edits 2011 through animation via @mapperz @derickr #GIS #neogeography #VGI

“This video shows all edits made to the OpenStreetMap project in 2011. OpenStreetMap is a free geographic database that anyone can edit; it’s like the wikipedia of mapping data.

This animation shows all additions and modifications of nodes (white flashes) and cumulative edits (purple) in 2011. It gives a good overview of the effort that 1000s of contributors put in to make OpenStreetMap the best source of mapping data.

This animation has been made by Derick Rethans entirely out of free and open source software. The added data is parsed and rendered by PHP and its extension, and the mapping and animation itself with POV-Ray. It’s licensed under a Creative Commons license.”


I am no geographer or cartographer, but this company argues that using three words instead of 8 character GPS coordinates to pinpoint a location will facilitate crisis response when there is human to human communication as opposed from device to device.


“submap 2.0: mapping news mentions of urban centers” / kitchen budapest / source

the main error in the core argument of those who promote [neogeography] as a democratic force is the assumption that, by increasing the number of people who utilise geographic information in different ways and gain access to geographic technology, these users have been em-powered and gained more political and social control. As demonstrated in this paper, neogeography has merely opened up the collection and use of this information to a larger section of the affluent, educated, and powerful part of society.The control over the information is kept, by and large, by major corporations and the participant’s labor is enrolled in the service of these corporations, leaving the issue of payback for this effort a moot point. Significantly, the primary intention of the providers of the tools is not to empower communities or to include marginalized groups, as they do not re-present a major source of revenue.
—  Muki Haklay (via iRevolution)
Getting Comfortable with Visual Aids

Tonight, I’m working on my eighth speech in the Toastmasters Competent Communication manual, “Getting Comfortable with Visual Aids.” The speech is titled, “Neogeography: Maps Remixed.” The speech is about a recent paper I completed for a graduate course in Spatial Reasoning for GIS. I’m working on turning the paper into a speech and an accompanying powerpoint slideshow. The completed version will be tomorrow’s blog post.


Cold Amazon: The Mackenzie River Basin - Trailer (by WDGF Channel)


The Web and the Quest for the Perfect Document - Paul Ford at Monktoberfest 2013 (by Tom Raftery)

The ethics of crisis mapping

Steve Stottlemyre argues that some of the information crowd-sourced during the Libyan civil war by crisis mappers – whether they knew it or not – met the minimum requirements to be considered tactical military intelligence, in accordance with U.S. joint military intelligence doctrine.

“It appears from similar maps created during the ongoing uprisings in Syria that the creation of finished intelligence products by crisis mappers may become a regular occurrence.”

“Indeed, some are already questioning the direction of crisis mapping in the absence of professional oversight (Global Brief 2011): “[If] crisis mappers do not develop a set of best practices and shared ethical standards, they will not only lose the trust of the populations that they seek to serve and the policymakers that they seek to influence, but (…) they could unwittingly increase the number of civilians being hurt, arrested or even killed without knowing that they are in fact doing so.””


Read the full paper: Stottlemyre, S., and Stottlemyre, S. (2012) Crisis Mapping Intelligence Information During the Libyan Civil War: An Exploratory Case Study. Policy and Internet 4 (3,4).

Neogeography paper for my Spatial Reasoning course

In my Master of Information Science program to graduate a student needs to take two Cognitive Science courses.  This is the reason I’m taking Spatial Reasoning in GIS. Many of you are probably wondering what is Spatial Reasoning. I’ll use Howard Gardner’s definition, who included spatial intelligence as one of nine intelligences in his Theory of Multiple Intelligences.  It is defined by Howard Gardner, “as a human computational capacity that provides the ability or mental skill to solve spatial problems of navigation, visualization of objects from different angles and space, faces or scenes recognition or to notice fine details."  My class is slightly different from the normal spatial reasoning course because it deals strictly with spatial reasoning in the geographic information science field (GIS).  The class looks at ways geographic information is displayed.  It’s actually an interesting topic.  For our class paper I need to write a review paper on a single topic based on five or more related articles published during the past five years (2008 - 2012).  The final paper must consist of 2000 - 4000 words (approximately 6 - 12 double-spaced pages) including references.  The paper should be in APA format. 

While researching topics for my paper I was trying to find something interesting so these six to twelve pages as easy as possible.  In my research of scholarly articles I came across the idea of Neogeography.  Wikipedia gives a basic definition of Neogeography (new geography), "is the use of geographical techniques and tools for personal and community activities or by a non-expert group of users. Application domains of neogeography are typically not formal or analytical."  After researching about Neogeography I became interested in the topic because it aligns with my interests in the social web and crowdsourcing.  Neogeography has been around for a long time, it’s been used since 1922, but has become popular in the Web 2.0 era.  Neogeography has been talked about with crowd source mapping, video game mapping, Google Maps & Earth, and mapping used in applications like Foursquare.  I found seven articles, which relate to Neogeography and I’ve listed them below:

1.        Batty, M., Hudson-Smith, A., Milton, R., & Crooks, A. (2010). Map mashups, Web 2.0 and the GIS revolution. Annals of GIS, 16(1), 1-13.

2.         Hudson-Smith, A., Crooks, A., Gibin, M., Milton, R., & Batty, M. (2009). NeoGeography and Web 2.0: concepts, tools and applications. Journal of Location Based Services, 3(2), 118-145.

3.         Hudson-Smith, A., Batty, M., Crooks, A., & Milton, R. (2009). Mapping for the masses accessing Web 2.0 through crowdsourcing. Social Science Computer Review, 27(4), 524-538.

4.         Haklay, M., Singleton, A., & Parker, C. (2008). Web mapping 2.0: The neogeography of the GeoWeb. Geography Compass, 2(6), 2011-2039.

5.         Crooks, A. T., & Wise, S. (2011). Modelling the Humanitarian Relief through Crowdsourcing, Volunteered Geographical Information and Agent-based modelling: A test Case-Haiti. In Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on GeoComputation, University College London, London, UK.

6.         Hudson-Smith, A., & Crooks, A. (2008). The renaissance of geographic information: neogeography, gaming and second life.

7.         Papadimitriou, F. (2010). A “Neogeographical Education”? The geospatial web, GIS and digital art in adult education. International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education, 19(1), 71-74.

For the next few days, I’m going to be reading each article and posting a summary of the article on this blog.  My preliminary title for this paper is Maps Remixed where I hope to be talking about map crowdsourcing, neogeography, and something cool about video games.


You might have noticed, we have something new on the wall. It’s a “What’s Up? South! World Map.” A huge thanks to Keith Fulford from Winnipeg for getting it for us.

When some people open up this map their first impulse is to hold it … upside down. That is, to hold it so that North America is on their left and Asia is on their right the way they usually do when the Atlantic is in the middle. Of course right away they realize the type is upside down and … duh! … that they’d just bought the “What’s Up? South!” map.

So they turn it rightside up, that is, so that Asia is on their left and North America is on their right and the type reads. Only when this map is upside down is it rightside up. It’s confusing when you think about it. When you’re done thinking about it, though, everything’s a little more sharply focused. That’s why this map is so refreshing: though at first it befuddles, in the end it’s clarifying. It’s a graphic example of what we mean by…thought provoking.

The thing is, we so easily get into ruts. By the time we leave school, even if we don’t make it out of high school, we’ve seen so many maps of the world with North America on the left and Asia on the right — that is, with north at the top — that we come to think this must be the way it is, the way the world is. But it’s just the way we’re used to seeing it. The world doesn’t have a top. It’s a ball and we can roll it anyway we want and look at it from any point of view. What we put on top is a matter of habit, of convention, of emphasis. 

Historically maps have been made with all sorts of directions on top. The wall-sized map carved onto marble tablets in 3rd century Rome is oriented southeast to the top. An early Medieval “Isodore” map is bound south up (but the writing’s every which way so it doesn’t really have a top). Often maps had an obvious natural feature at the top to make orientation easy. Swiss maps, for example, were long oriented to the south where the Alps made a natural horizon. For the same reason maps of north Italy were oriented to the north.

Until the sixteenth century most European maps of the world had east at the top, “the direction of Paradise.” In fact our word “orientation” comes from oriens, the Latin word for “east”. Oriens came from oriri, “to rise,” and it came to refer to the east because that’s where the sun “rises”.

The sun “rises” because the earth turns. It’s this turning that gives us our four cardinal directions: east is the direction the sun “rises,” west is the direction it “sets,” and north and south are the directions at either end of the axis around which the planet spins. This spin also generates a magnetic field in which compasses align themselves. Once people began using compasses, it began to make sense to orient maps to the compass, especially in the ocean where there were fewer natural features than on the land. Since compasses line up north-south, so did maps; and though there was a brief tradition of south-up maps oriented to south-pointing compasses (it’s only convention after all that puts the arrow on one end or the other of a compass needle), world maps in particular began to buy into the convention that north is up.

It’s not. “Up” is over our heads, and when we mix “up” with “top” and “north” we do ourselves a disservice. We confuse all the other things we associate with “up” and “top” (like “good” and “heaven”) with north; and all the things we associate with “down” and “bottom” (like bad and hell) with south. So Australia is “down under” (under what?) and Antarctica is “the bottom of the world.” Antarctica doesn’t even show up on this "What’s Up? South!” map of the world. Some world