First International Workshop on Trends in Pervasive and Ubiquitous Geotechnology and Geoinformation

Posted: August 26th, 2008 | No Comments »

The program of the First International Workshop on Trends in Pervasive and Ubiquitous Geotechnology and Geoinformation as part of GIScience 2008 is now online. I will present a position paper “Assessing pervasive user-generated content to describe tourist dynamics” on my ongoing study of people’s practice of geotagging and geoannotating photos in Flickr.

Abstract. In recent years, the large deployment of mobile devices has led to a massive increase in the volume of records of where people have been and when they were there. The analysis of these spatio-temporal data can supply high-level human behavior information valuable to urban planners, local authorities, and designers of location-based services. This paper proposes the study of publicly available people generated geo-referenced content to provide novel perspectives on tourist dynamics. Our initial works analyzed these digital footprints people leave behind them as a historic of physical presence when they visit a city. The results provided insights on the density of tourists, the points of interests they visit as well as the most common trajectories they follow. Yet to be able to fully analyze these newly available data, there is a need to understand the diverse circumstances they were generated from. We believe that the understanding of the human practice behind these data and their relation to the urban space could open a new perspective in analyzing tourism.

Relation to my thesis: An occasion to mingle with the GI Science community and understand how they perceive the increasing amounts of spatially relevant information (from both human factors and engineering challenges). For instance I have been interested in Brent Hecht’s GeoRS as a way to present Wikipedia knowledge repository as a geographic reference system.

Post-Occupancy Evaluations

Posted: August 24th, 2008 | No Comments »

In a current project in New York, I focus on the analysis of several types of digital footprints to understand the evolution of presence and movements of visitors in lower Manhattan. The study particularly targets the impact of the New York Waterfalls exhibit in that area. I use these digital footprints to reveal the variations in spatial presence and abnormal patterns of temporal presence over the course of a 2 years period. In addition to these quantitative analysis, I use qualitative observations on site to gain insights on the behaviors that lead to the generation of the footprints.

Dan Hill takes a very similar mixed (quantiative+qualitative) approach at Arup to exploit behavioral information to better inform the urban design decisions. City Information Models fed with significant data on actual use can help perform new types of “Post-Occupancy Evaluations” often overlooked in the practice of urban design. He exemplifies this use of multiple perspectives in analyzing the spatial usage patterns in a post-occupancy evaluations of public wi-fi. The objective of this methodology is not only to perform subsequent adaptations on the design object (classic approach in software design) but also to reuse the lessons learned as input of other projects.

Relation to my thesis: The recent availability of digital footprint creates an opportunity to perform new types of Post-Occupancy Evaluations. These quantitative data help reveal the emerging and abnormal behaviors, confirming assumptions and raise questions. The use a qualitative angle then can help explain phenomenon revealed by the quantitative analysis. Beyond my thesis, I expect to apply this type of mixed approach in the future. Strangely enough, I have not seen many works going in that direction to the exception (to some extends) of Cityware (see Mapping, sensing and visualising the digital arena) linked to the Space Syntax approach.

Cities Are All About Difficulty

Posted: August 23rd, 2008 | 1 Comment »

Adam Greenfield on the present and future of cities in the premiss of his talk at PICNIC:

“You know, I believe that cities are all about difficulty. They’re about waiting: for the bus, for the light to change, for your order of Chinese take-out to be ready. They’re about frustration: about parking tickets, dogshit, potholes and noisy neighbors. They’re about the unavoidable physical and psychic proximity of other human beings competing for the same limited pool of resources.
And as it happens, with our networked, ambient, pervasive informatic technology, we now have (or think we have) the means to address some of these frustrations.

bicing waiting
Daily urban difficulty, waiting for a free and working slot at a Bicing station in Barcelona.

Why do I blog this: As always enjoying Adam’s pragmatic view on the state of urban informatics that echoes well with Sliding Friction, From Sentient to Responsive Cities, Embracing the Real World’s Messiness and Phil Hubbard’s hybrid city. I would add to Adam’s comment that urban informatics also add new types of frustrations. In addition, our ability to overcome the tiny urban frustrations and difficulties is part of the joy of urban life. I would argue that urban informatics are about promoting this sustainable chaos and not eliminate it (Visions of “Next Generation” Cities).

CFP Workshops and Conferences

Posted: August 5th, 2008 | No Comments »

Potential venues to submit this Summer’s research outcomes:

AAAI Spring Symposium 2009 – Human Behavior Modeling

This workshop will explore methods for creating models of individual and group behavior from data. Models include generative and discriminative statistical models, relational models, and social network models. Data includes low-level sensor data (GPS, RFID, accelerometers, physiological measures, etc.), video, speech, and text. Behaviors include high-level descriptions of purposeful and meaningful activity or abstractions of cognitive and affective states. These include activities of daily living (e.g., preparing a meal), interaction between small sets of individuals (e.g., having a conversation), mass behavior of groups (e.g. the flow of traffic in a city) and related internal user states.
Deadline: October 3, 2008

4th International Symposium on Location and Context Awareness
technical papers describing research results on systems, services, and applications to detect, interpret and use location and other contextual information. Context includes physiological, environmental and computational data whether sensed or inferred. In addition, context includes users’ activities, goals, abilities, preferences, interruptibility, affordances, and surroundings. With context, we can expect computers to deliver information, services, and entertainment in a way that maximizes convenience and minimizes intrusion. Developing awareness involves research in sensing, systems, machine learning, human computer interaction, and design.
Deadline: December 18, 2008

See previous list of CFP Special Issues, Workshops and Conferences

Understanding Cyberspace Cartographies: A Critical Analysis of Internet Infrastructure Mapping

Posted: August 5th, 2008 | No Comments »

In his PhD thesis Understanding Cyberspace Cartographies: A Critical Analysis of Internet Infrastructure Mapping, Martin Dodge describes the different approaches in cyberspace cartographies to reveal what the Internet looks like. His work takes an interpretive stand with a focus on the connotative meaning and power of statistical mapping to represent the nature of the globalisation of Internet connectivity. Then, on a more critical stand, Martin provides insights into how different interest groups want the Internet to look.

Relation to my thesis: Part of my work is to map the data generated by our interaction with the multiple Internet infrastructures to “reveal the invisible”. That is maps OF cyberspace from cyberspace census-taking as exemplified by Jean Gottman‘s statistical map of telephone calling patterns from Washington DC (p. 79) to reveal a megapolis. But then it is still unclear what is the nature of power these new types of maps mirroring our own activities have to do work in the world.