Digital Design Weekend 2014

Had a busy weekend entertaining the visitors to the Digital Design Weekend 2014 at the V&A museum with building one’s own Raspberry Pi weather stations.

As part of the AHRC-funded the ‘Secret Life of a Weather Datum’ (http://secretlifeofdata.wordpress.com/), the project team has co-developed a weather station powered by the Raspberry Pi and a user-friendly instruction available at http://sheffieldpistation.wordpress.com/. We devise this kit to encourage the public to monitor micro-climates in the areas where they live, collect their own weather data, and contribute them to the MetOffice’s Weather Observation Website (WOW).

Over the weekend, Paula Goodale and I had successfully introduced  the Kit and the idea of user-generated, crowd-sourced data to the visitors to the DDW2014. The enthusiasm and positive feedback from the visitors is encouraging and we are more confident than ever to ensue our follow-on project engaging more schools across the UK to make a greater impact.

Although I had been busy, I still managed to make some time to network with other talented artists and designers who were also exhibiting their work at the V&A. Lots of creative projects emerged from the MetOffice’s hackathon (e.g., #beauforthair, the internet connected spacesuit, open air pollution data). The ballet dance – [arra]stre (a collaboration of the Battle Abbey Schol, readysaltedcode CIC) – was beautifully choreographed and performed. The repertoir was also very relevant – big data, malware, debugging, software at work. There were many exhibitions about computational jewellery, wearable computing, brain-computer interface (using neuroheadsets like Emotiv EPOC to play computer video games), Microsoft’s physical visualisation etc.

If you have missed the London Design Weekend – too bad. Make sure you are there next year!

Working out how to build a Raspberry Pi Weather Station (Digital Design Weekend 2014, V&A)

Working out how to build a Raspberry Pi Weather Station (Digital Design Weekend 2014, V&A)

Working out how to build a Raspberry Pi Weather Station

Working out how to build a Raspberry Pi Weather Station

#Beauforthair

#Beauforthair

#beauforthair (MetOffice Hackathon V&A Digital Design Weekend 2014)

#beauforthair (MetOffice Hackathon V&A Digital Design Weekend 2014)

Internet Connected Spacesuit (Digital Design Weekend 2014, V&A)

Measuring Wind Speed at the Digital Design Weekend at V&A

Measuring Wind Speed at the Digital Design Weekend at V&A

A few things from the REACT Hub (http://www.react-hub.org.uk/)

A few things from the REACT Hub (http://www.react-hub.org.uk/)

Rehearsing the data dance

Rehearsing the data dance

Pomona

I joined a discussion about Pomona, a project initiated by moreCRIT at MadLab today. The method the group used, connecting local history research, walking, photographing, helps me to improve the mapping method I’m developing.

After an introduction on Pomona history (with historic photographs shared amongst participants), and recent photographs taken by participants on their visit to the site, people threw out ideas in what forms they’d like their work to be presented (exhibitions, zines, books, blogs or films). The discussion was very interesting as so many political, technical, social issues were discussed: Peel Group’s rich assets and the tensions between the public and the private access to land, where to photograph private land / buildings, how to socialise with fellow photographers, with security guards who are paid to watch the private land (waste land), the relationship between men and nature, engagement with the local, awareness raising of the new development / urban regeneration. 

I, for one, have learned something new today, about the past and future of Pomona, a place I used to pass by almost everyday on my way to work at the MediaCityUK. 

Here are a few links from which you can swat up on your Pomona knowledge (credit to moreCRIT).

http://www.theskyliner.org/pomona-palace/

http://www.theskyliner.org/pomona-island-on-film/

http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/manchesters-eden-project-protest-picnic-6846772

http://chethamslibrary.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/m-m-m-m-m-m-m-my-pomona.html

http://manchesterhistory.net/manchester/gone/salforddocks.html

OpenStreetMap studies (and why VGI not equal OSM)

hiyashi:

Muki’s article is relevant to one of the outputs from the fem2map project. Discussing definitions is one of the most boring things that excite academics and hence leads to heated debate. In the conference paper “Gender dimensions in UGC and VGI – A desk-based study“, my co-authors and I were so ambitious (and perhaps also naive) that we tried to define not only VGI but also UGC. We thought we were doing a good job comparing OSM with other UGC and VGI projects. Now I feel it’s an open call for criticism / feedback to an over-simplified sets of definitions and to this conference paper.

Originally posted on Po Ve Sham - Muki Haklay's personal blog:

As far as I can tell, Nelson et al. 2006 ‘Towards development of a high quality public domain global roads database‘ and Taylor & Caquard 2006 Cybercartography: Maps and Mapping in the Information Era are the first peer review papers that mention OpenStreetMap. Since then, OpenStreetMap received plenty of academic attention. More ‘conservative’ search engines such as ScienceDirect or Scopus find 286 and 236 peer review papers that mention the project (respectively). The ACM digital library finds 461 papers in the areas that are relevant to computing and electronics, while Microsoft Academic Research find only 112. Google Scholar lists over 9000 (!). Even with the most conservative version from Microsoft, we can see an impact on fields ranging from social science to engineering and physics. So lots to be proud about as a major contribution to knowledge beyond producing maps.

Michael Goodchild, in his 2007 paper that started…

View original 497 more words

THF!2014 Mapping Party

I led a mapping party yesterday to celebrate the 10th anniversary of OpenStreetMap. Some THF!2014 participants and PerroVerd and Joana from Barcelona went mapping at Vallbona D’anoia. We started at Calafou, and walked to the town centre, where ATM machines, shops, a nice slow food restaurant La Fonda del Saumell (blog), sport centre, sport pitches, parks, car parks, other amenities were mapped.

One participant Eva (from Madrid) commented during the mapping, it’s amazing to see this little village got so many facilities. There were so many things to map, and we still didn’t exhaust mapping all local attractions.

When I told the participants that they could map a bird house on a tree at Calafou, someone asked: “But how if the bird house was removed or damaged?” I answered: “Good question. That’s the reason why the Map would never be complete. There’s never going to be a finished map. There’s always something to add or fix.”

Here are the screenshots of the OSM map and the Google Map before the mapping party (as of 9 August 2014):

Screenshot of Google Map from 2014-08-09 15:40:23

Screenshot of Google Map from 2014-08-09 15:40:23

Screenshot from 2014-08-09 15:40:38

Screenshot of OSM from 2014-08-09 13:37:05

Screenshot of OSM from 2014-08-09 13:37:05

Screenshot of OSM from 2014-08-02 21:47:32

Screenshot of OSM from 2014-08-02 21:47:32

And this is how Vallbona D’anoia looks like on OpenStreetMap now (as of 17 August 2014 22:30 GMT+1):

Vallbona D'anoia on OpenStreetMap Screenshot from 2014-08-17 22:21:08

Vallbona D’anoia on OpenStreetMap Screenshot from 2014-08-17 22:21:08

And how it looks like on Google Map (still the same, as far as I can see):

Vallbona D'anoia on Google Map

Vallbona D’anoia on Google Map

Some photographs taken during the mapping party:

Ca

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Checking if the pay phone is working or not.

Checking if the pay phone is working or not.

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An ATM machine that we added to the Map. Note the closure of summer holiday time in the photo.

An ATM machine that we added to the Map. Note the closure of summer holiday time in the photo.

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Calafou

Calafou

Calafou

Calafou

Calafou

Calafou

During my stay at Calafou, I had also been improving the other residential area ‘Castell de Cabrera’ and this is how it looks like on OpenStreetMap now (as of 17 Aug 2014, 22:30 GMT+1):

Castell de Cabrera on Google Map Screenshot from 2014-08-17 22:34:12

Castell de Cabrera on OpenStreetMap Screenshot from 2014-08-17 22:34:12

Compared to how it looks like on Google Map, it has much more detailed geographical information:

Castell de Cabrera on Google Map

Castell de Cabrera on Google Map

But Google Map wins when it comes to the other nearby village on the other side of the hills where all the roads were named after numbers (rather than names). A total virgin land for OpenStreetMappers. Anyone up for a challenge?

virginland

Screenshot from 2014-08-17 22:34:53

Florence Howe – life of a feminist publisher

Photographer Stewart in action 1, taking photographs of Lucie Armitt, Florence Howe, Susan Watkins (left to right)

Photographer Stewart in action 1

Photographer Stewart in action 2

Photographer Stewart in action 2

Photographer Stewart in action 3

Photographer Stewart in action 3

Photographer Stewart in action 4

Photographer Stewart in action 4

Photographer Stewart in action 5, taking photograph of me and Florence Howe

Photographer Stewart in action 5, taking photograph of me and Florence Howe

Me and Florence Howe at the University of Lincoln, Contemporary Women's Writing Skills Development Workshop

Me and Florence Howe at the University of Lincoln, Contemporary Women’s Writing Skills Development Workshop

Contemporary Women’s Writing

I was invited to share my work with a group of aspiring female scholars who work in the field of contemporary women’s writing at an AHRC-funded skills development workshop at the University of Lincoln this weekend.

Contemporary Women’s Writing, according to the journal Contemporary Women’s Writing, critically assesses writing by women authors who have published approximately from 1970 to the present, especially in essays that reach beyond a reading of a single text in order to challenge existing thinking or extend debates about an author, genre, topic, or theoretical perspective and relate literary analysis to wider cultural and intellectual contexts.

My talk was on technofeminism and gendered innovations. I shared some examples about how technological development is gendered, and how technologies shape women’s lives. For example, I used the UN #Womenshould campaign to critique the male default in machine translation or machine learning. I was surprised to find out that, as of today, the results of Google Autocomplete for ‘women should’ were: “women shouldn’t”, “women shouldn’t vote”, “women should stay at home”. There were no returns for ‘women need to’, ‘women cannot’, ‘men should’, ‘men need to’, ‘men cannot’. Google obviously has done something (or removed evidence). I also used the results from the Fem2Map project to illustrate the problems women face to participate in free/libre open source software projects (lack of time, no support or no networks, do not feel motivated or cannot find relevance to their lives or work), and how this can be remedied using participatory action-oriented performative methods. Afterwards, I led the participants to map the local area (amid heavy thunderstorm). The concept of walking and mapping, inspired by psychological geographers and situationists, was well-received. I’m glad both the talk and the mapping activity were well-received, and people were not put off by the rain. Participants seemed to be very interested in the idea of having a customisable map, especially making an accessibility map (for the disabled) or a heritage map.

In the afternoon, we have also done ‘interview exercises’ (being interviewed by radio and tv presenters). The exercises were useful media training. We have also tried out Oculus Rift Rollercoaster simulator – really cool.

It has been a great pleasure of meeting the organisers Lucie Armitt, Susan Watkins, the co-founder of The Feminist Press Florence Howe and many other young, beautiful, bright, early-career scholars in contemporary women’s writing.

Video edit suite

Exercising to be interviewed by a tv presenter.

Exercising to be interviewed by a tv presenter.

This was the area we walked and mapped:

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UCA Graduation 2014

My first experience with UCA graduation ceremony was great. Good venue (Royal Festival Hall), great turn-out from the proud staff (including GTAs), inclusive and accessible set-up (sign language translator at work, wheel-chair users friendly), student involvement (the speech by the student rep), and the free drinks in the end which certainly topped everything with prosecco served to all visitors!

All dressed up, left to right: Steve Miller (Journalism), Yuwei Lin (Media and Communications), Matt Lindsey (Photography)

All dressed up, left to right: Steve Miller (Journalism), Yuwei Lin (Media and Communications), Matt Lindsey (Photography)

View from the level 5 of the Royal Festival Hall

View from the level 5 of the Royal Festival Hall