Yearly Archives: 2011


A plague of potholes – citizen science may not be enough 2

Potholes are one of those things that get everyone united in righteous indignation “Harumph, they should do something about this!” No one is going to suggest that potholes are desirable but are we too eager to bash the local authorities who are tasked with spending our taxes to keep the roads in good condition? The Telegraph and several other papers reported last week on the “plague of potholes” identified by the AA’s recent Streetwatch Survey. […]


Another week, another map, some #opendata but where is the insight? 5

This could become a habit and is certainly unlikely to win me many friends but here goes anyway. This morning the Guardian published a map of road accidents and deaths over the last ten years produced by the clever folk at ito World who have produced some of the most stunning visualisations of transport and OSM data that I have seen. So what do you think of this? At first sight it is just a mass […]


Just because you can map something .. plus a bit of free data and we reach new highs (or are they lows?) 1

Usually maps that inspire, delight, offend, aggravate, mislead or seem pointless get a short mention on The Good, the Bad and the Ugly but thanks to Mark Percival and Rolllo Home Flood Map gets a front page spread. I don’t know much about the techniques of flood modelling but I have a feeling that it is a bit more complex than sucking up a 90m resolution free data set and draping it over Google. However you […]


When the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing you can get into a Pickle

Government is a big place, so it isn’t surprising that different departments can have conflicting agendas or not always be completely in the loop about what others are up to. A couple of weeks ago an announcement came out of DCLG that a new wave of council openness was being hailed by Eric Pickles. A Code of Recommended Practice for council transparency is being published and “ministers are minded to make it legally binding” “The code of […]


GeoCommunity 2011 – 2 more days of Love, Peace and Maps, Pt2 – Map heroes, friends and getting angry 3

The second day of a conference always faces the challenge of the morning after syndrome, even more so after a monster bash of geonerds trying to relive their student drinking days and drain the bar dry. In my opinion it was a good thing that we were thrown out of the bar at 1.00 am, I shudder to think what mayhem might have ensued if we had been allowed to carry on! One of the […]


GeoCommunity 2011 – 2 more days of Love, Peace and Maps, Pt 1 3

So another GeoCommunity has been and gone, the format has evolved, the new venue at Nottingham is a big improvement and I have to admit to a slight sense of paternal pride that successive conference teams bring fresh energy and ideas. This was my second year as a plain participant, well a presenter participant rather than an organiser or conference chair – no responsibilities, no worries, just the opportunity to sit back and enjoy which […]


The return of #W3G the unconference 2

For the 2nd year AGI’s GeoCommunity kicked off with an informal preconference unconference day, W3G. I had a lot of fun at this event last year but this one topped it. The morning started with a small panic as @MadProf (aka Jonathan Raper) had not appeared by 9.45, Gary Gale and Rollo Home are starting to reorganise the schedule when Jonathan strolls in wearing full evening dress and muttering about people thinking he was on […]


Between a rock and a hard place 2

On Tuesday I went to the Google Geospatial Summit at the Science Museum with the guys from geo.me who had a booth at the event.   The event was pretty plush with the background of the Science Museum and the auditorium was the IMax cinema which was impressive, particularly if you were sitting high up! The main focus of the event was to launch Google Earth Builder in the UK. GEB follows on from Google […]


Is the door on #OpenData opening or closing? 2

On Tuesday evening I was “in conversation” with Jonathan Raper (a.k.a. @MadProf, very apposite IMHO) at the British Computer Society arguing, agreeing and venting on the topic “Open Data and the PDC: Whose data is it anyway and who pays for it?” As most readers will or at least should know, the Cabinet Office are consulting at the moment for views on “Making Open Data Real” and “Data Policy for a Public Data Corporation“. I […]


Maps with feeling not precision

I went to the Museum of London yesterday to have a look at the small display of hand drawn maps in the entrance area, if you are anywhere nearby this is well worth a short visit. Each of the maps gives a very personal view of a part of London, the author’s experiences and perhaps a comment on the way a much loved part of our city has changed. They reminded me that in contrast […]


Thick clients can be very smart

I was reading some blurb from a big GI vendor which included a mention of “thick clients”, my initial response was to wonder whether they meant that their customers were stupid. You might be so cynical (more than me even) that you would respond “if the customers continue to buy those old style heavy footprint desktop applications then they are “thick clients”” The thin/thick terminology is perhaps unfortunate but it does illustrate an apparent miscomprehension […]


Oh Sh1t! Spin the wheel, that looks like an f’ing big iceberg ahead! 4

At the beginning of 2010 I was involved in editing the AGI Foresight Study and focussed on changing business models and the challenges that we foresaw for the UK industry. My personal take on this evolved into a presentation that I gave a few times entitled Cocktails on the Titanic. My final slide asked the audience whether they felt they were facing a threat or an opportunity, implying that the impact of change could be […]