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Posted by on Mar 29, 2015 in London, Visualisation | 0 comments

Burger Cartography

Burger Cartography

  I enjoy burgers and have a passion for maps and mapping, which is probably why Andrew Hill’s recent blog post “In Defense of Burger Cartography” offered a sufficiently large piece of bait for me to bite on and respond to (I join Kenneth Field and Taylor Shelton [and others, I am sure] in his cartographers’ keepnet) . In summary, the post says its time to “fall in love with maps all over again” thanks to a “new world of cartography” that has been liberated from old world critiques. I agree with many of Andrew’s points – it’s good to make it easy for people to make maps, traditional cartography can seem a bit crusty in this “new age” of so-called “Big Data” and web mapping, the more people who enjoy maps the better etc. etc. – but I have a few thoughts of my own to add. Firstly, I’m all for “exploratory playfulness” but I am more for thinking critically. Twitter maps are a key example in Andrew’s post – why get hung up...

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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 Jun 17, 2014 in Resources, Slideshow, Spatial Analysis, Visualisation | 1 comment

Welcome to DataShine!

Welcome to DataShine!

Last October I was fortunate enough to be awarded an ESRC “Future Research Leaders” grant. These run for up to 3 years and offer the opportunity for early career researchers to focus on their research interests and personal development activities. My area of interest is the analysis and visualisation of large-scale and open demographic datasets, so the project is called Big Open Data: Mining and Synthesis (BODMAS). The first output from the project is now ready and was developed with Oliver O’Brien. It’s called DataShine: Census and is a mapping platform for the key 2011 Census variables in England and Wales. Oliver has implemented a number of technical innovations to produce maps that are slick and seamlessly switch between geographies as you zoom. You can have custom colour palettes and even export high-resolution PDFs (go easy on this though, as it is hard work for the server!). For more details about the project see here. It is still a work in progress with more functionality on the way so please sign up for updates...

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Posted by on Aug 30, 2013 in Spatial Analysis, Video | 0 comments

Live Singapore

Live Singapore

Live Singapore is a project run by MIT’s Senseable City lab. It takes a large number of data feeds and combines them to create a series of innovative visualisations about Singapore. The work (like much from MIT) is impressive not least because it makes such complex datasets easily interpretable and therefore more understandable to both policy makers and those who live in the...

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Posted by on Jun 10, 2013 in London, Video, Visualisation | 0 comments

London Cycle Hire Tails

London Cycle Hire Tails

Whilst this animation, produced by Jo Wood at City University, is a really nice representation of  the five million Barclays Cycle Hire journeys made in 2010/11 in central London, its main purpose is to show the effect of changing the length of the ‘trail’ left by each journey (starts to increase from 15 seconds into the animation). By changing the prominence given to more common journeys (from 45 seconds onwards), structure emerges from the apparent chaos of journeys. Three major systems become apparent (from 1 minute onwards) – Hyde park to the west, commuting to/from King’s Cross St Pancras to the north and Waterloo to/from the City to the...

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