Yearly Archives: 2014


“Geohippies want to make a difference through disruption, geo-evangelism and a bit of altruism” 2

  My pal Ed Freyfogle interviewed me for the GeoHipster series while we were in Berlin for wherecamp. I thought it was going to be too long and rambling but the nice folk at GeoHipster decided to publish all of it despite the fact that I suggested that I wasn’t a GeoHipster and was more of a GeoHippy. Atanas Entchev, who is the man behind GeoHipster, suggested that the difference between a hipster and a hippy […]


A #WTF Story Map 5

The idea that a map can tell a story or illuminate a timeline is not new but it appeals to the geo evangelist in me. Nowadays it is pretty easy to produce a fairly slick map that tells a story. The Knight Foundation have StoryMap JS which has some simple but elegant examples in its gallery like this Yahoo map of the World Cup nations. You could say that these maps are more about the images than […]


There’s a vampire in your data

You know that old adage that 80% of corporate data relates to location? Well it’s usually based on the fact that most records within a business or government database link in some way to an address – think customers, suppliers, staff, planning applications, requests for services etc. Did you know that you might not hold the exclusive rights to your own corporate data? Well at least not if your address data has been validated by using one of […]


Two’s company, three’s a crowd 2

On Friday the ODI hosted an Open Addresses Symposium in London (thanks to the nice people at Arup for their great facilities). The event attracted a pretty large audience of people interested in Open Addresses (remember that idea?) including the ‘usual faces’ and veterans of the Address Wars and a wide range of potential users. As one friend commented near the beginning, it is something of a disgrace that after over 15 years we are […]


There is no such thing as a free lunch 11

This might be a bit of a long and windy road type post, so bare with me as I try to work my way through this topic. If you are impatient, skip the intro and jump into the meat of it. Go back 4 years and I wrote a post called “Cocktails on the Titanic” based on a couple of talks I had given about future business models within the geo space. I said “Open Source software […]


To OAF or not to OAF, that is the question 1

You may recall my blog post a few weeks back about the desperate need for something/one to break the logjam around open access to UK addresses and inviting people to get in touch to discuss building an Open Address File (OAF). It prompted quite a lot of traffic and generally supportive comments. The nice folk at the Open Data Institute reached out to share details of their application to the Cabinet Office for funding to […]


9 years 1

Give me a bit of slack with this post and I will try to contrive a link to geo before the end. Promise! Those of you who know me, follow this blog or my twitter stream will know that my passion for the Arsenal ranks up there with, or even in front of, my love of geo, things open and mistrust of conservative politics. Having  dined on caviar for a number of years, we Arsenal […]


Could you make a better map than this?

Last week, the Local Government Association released a new version of its Shared Services map, they say: “We have changed the appearance and layout of the map to make it more user-friendly” Hmm, have to wonder how unfriendly it was prior to the changes!   Pause for a minute, try it out, see what you can discover about the 383 shared service agreements between 337 councils in England (95% of the total) that are predicted to […]


Maybe, we shouldn’t create new OpenData? 3

This week I received a mail from Ordnance Survey inviting me to attend a launch of some new OS OpenData For the last few months, we have been very busy creating prototype OS OpenData products:1. OS Gazetteer of Great Britain – consisting of settlement names, road names and numbers and postcodes and their locations.2. OS Street View® – an enhanced street-level product that includes a lot of new map data features and content with an improved […]


Enough of this AB PAF, I need an OAF 3

Every politician has their defining moment, it may not be the most important policy/event that they were associated with but it will be one that resonates long after they have retired. For people of my age Margaret Thatcher may well be remembered as ‘Thatcher, Thatcher, the milk snatcher’ rather than the woman who said their was ‘no such thing as society’ or any of her other exploits/achievements (depending on your politics). [Note to self: resist temptation to […]


Trust me, I’m an expert

We all fall for the “trust me, I’m an expert” line once in a while. That’s because the ‘expert’ knows things that we don’t or at least he/she tells us that he does. ‘Experts’ often know how to use tools and techniques to analyse and present information or opinions that the recipients do not, so we are at a disadvantage. The open scientific method relies on some peer review of an analysis and conclusions by […]


What the hack? 3

It seems that barely a week goes by without some organisation (frequently linked to the public sector or an NGO) running a hack to address the challenges of poverty, the environment, sanitation, digital inclusion, unjoined up government, weather, using open data, etc etc and of course most recently flooding. Its hack this, hack that or as I would crudely put it “what the hack?” I have been wondering whether there are any tangible outcomes from […]