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Posted by on Dec 11, 2014 in London, Visualisation | 0 comments

OpenStreetMappers of London

OpenStreetMappers of London

This is a slightly edited cross post from Oliver O’Brien’s Suprageography blog. It offers a behind the scenes look at one of the graphics we created for the opening essay in London: The Information Capital. From Ollie: I contributed a number of graphics to LONDON: The Information Capital, a book co-written by Dr James Cheshire, also of UCL Geography. Two of my graphics that made it into the book were based on data from OpenStreetMap, a huge dataset of spatial data throughout the world. One of the graphics, featured in this post, forms one of the chapter intro pages, and colours all the roads, streets and paths in the Greater London Authority area (around 160,000 “ways” which are discrete sections of road/path) according to the person who most recently updated them. Over 1500 indivdual users helped create and refine the map, and all are featured here. I was pleased to discover I was the 21st most prolific, with 1695 ways most recently modified by myself at the time that...

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Posted by on Nov 6, 2014 in London, R Spatial, Visualisation | 6 comments

Improving R Data Visualisations Through Design

Improving R Data Visualisations Through Design

When I start an R class, one of my opening lines is nearly always that the software is now used by the likes of the New York Times graphics department or Facebook to manipulate their data and produce great visualisations. After saying this, however, I have always struggled to give tangible examples of how an R output blossoms into a stunning and informative graphic. That is until now… I spent the past year working hard with an amazing designer – Oliver Uberti – to create a book of 100+ maps and graphics about London. The majority of graphics we produced for London: The Information Capital required R code in some shape or form. This was used to do anything from simplifying millions of GPS tracks, to creating bubble charts or simply drawing a load of straight lines. We had to produce a graphic every three days to hit the publication deadline so without the efficiencies of copying and pasting old R code, or the flexibility to do almost any kind of plot, the book would not...

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Posted by on Sep 30, 2014 in Featured Maps, London, Slideshow, Visualisation | 0 comments

London: The Information Capital

London: The Information Capital

I am pleased announce that London: The Information Capital will be published on the 30th October. It is a book bursting with maps and graphics about the world’s greatest city and the result of a year of intense work with designer Oliver Uberti. Inspired by London’s design, mapping and visualisation pioneers (think Booth, Snow, Beck) we have sought to paint a contemporary portrait of the city through its abundance of open data. We asked ourselves questions such as Which borough of London is the happiest?  Where are the city’s tweeting hot spots?   How many animals does the fire brigade save each year?  Which London residents have left their mark on history? Where are London’s most haunted houses (and pubs)? What makes London the information capital? and sought to answer them through data visualisation. The book contains over 100 full-colour spreads alongside some brief essays to introduce each of the 5 broad themes – Where we are, Who we are, Where we go, How we’re doing and What we like. We worked closely with our publisher...

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Posted by on Oct 16, 2013 in Featured Maps, London, Spatial Analysis, Visualisation | 0 comments

Open Data as Art: Data Windows

Open Data as Art: Data Windows

Ollie O’Brien and I have just dropped off our invited artwork to the  10X10 “Drawing the City London” project run by the building design charity Article 25. We are amongst a number of (much higher profile) contributors who have donated works to be auctioned on behalf of the charity in November to raise funds for the charity’s projects. The works will also be exhibited beforehand (keep an eye here for details). In spite of an increasing range of more abstract art and print projects on the go,  Ollie and I chose to play to our strengths by producing several maps from the 2011 Census. These covered East London since it was the project’s area of focus this year. The resulting artwork is completely based on open data (and was almost entirely produced with opensource software (QGIS)), licensed under the Open Government Licence.   A single physical copy was printed directly onto white canvas (thanks to Miles Irving at the Drawing Office in UCL Geography). Let’s hope it catches the bidders’ attention!...

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Posted by on Jul 27, 2013 in Featured Maps, London, Media, Slideshow, Visualisation | 0 comments

Crime Map of London

Crime Map of London

I was delighted to be asked to be part of the the Financial Times Magazine’s special graphics issue. It is a really great “celebration of visual culture” and includes an interview with Edward Tufte and work from Stamen. The map I produced takes the street-level crime data from the data.police.uk website and shows, the most frequent crime types across London. As the map shows there are some interesting patterns as the city becomes increasingly residential away from the centre. I was keen not to do a “murder map” or “stabbings vs guns” or any number of other variants on these themes because, although each incident is a tragedy, the chances of Londoners being affected by them are thankfully relatively small. The FT interactive team has also produced an interactive version from the data here. I really enjoyed working on the project and its great to see how it turned out. If its not to late, I would recommend you pick up a copy of this weekend’s FT to check out...

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