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Swimming against the tide and a tale of cookies 

This must be what a salmon feels like.. A urge to swim against them stream in my case to support Brexit when it seems all of my family and friends are very much in the remain camp.

It’s very easy to understand why, in fact with a campaign hijacked by zeonophobic, lunatic rasists supporting the brexit campaign why would anybody not support remain. Well for me immigration has never really been an issue, I see mostly positives in controlled immigration from wherever, Britian has always been a great melting pot of cultures and has historically benefed from immigration.

Really how can anyone support a position supported by Nigel Farrage, with friends like that…

For me the arguement is perhaps a little more abstract and reflects personal experience working with the European Establishment in Brussels.  I love Europe but I hate (and no that is not over using the term) the institution that is the European Union. You really need to spend a few hours walking around the “European District” of Brussels to understand the scope and aspiration of this purely political institution that is to its very core undemocratic.

To make the point clear I am voting tomorrow not against geography, the UK is and will always be part of the continent of Europe, I am voting against the institution.  Unlike parliamentary democracies new laws are introduced within the European Union by the European Commision an unelected body of beurocrates unaccountable to the electorate of any European nation.  The zeitgeist of the European Commision is clear to create a federal European Super State based on political and economic integration.

The Commision creates directives which are then largely rubber stamped by the other insisituions of the EU, the Council of ministers and the European Parliament who collectively seem to fulfill the role of the UK’s House of Lords. Crucially for the perspective of the democratic process there is no process or mechanism to repeal legislation, which brings me to cookies..

I admit this is a perhaps a trivial example, but it proves a point in May 2011 a directive developed by the European Commision was introduced (Do you remember the discussion or this anywhere.. No ?) which required website publishers to ask users permission to store limited data about their use of website in small files on their computers known as cookies. Now it seems every website you visit pops up an annoying dialogue box asking you if it’s OK with you to store a cookie on your computer. It’s open to arguement if this directive actually prospects users privacy or not, but what’s important is this..

If you wanted to repeal this directive as you believed it was a waste of time and resources, how could you do it ?

In the UK I could talk to my local MP who might begin a campaign is parliament to repeal the legislation, after all the Parliment is the elected legislative instrument of government, within the European Union there is no such mechanism.

At the most fundamental level democracy and national sovereignty is based on the principle that laws should not be made nor taxes raised except by our elected representatives – no taxation without representation. Being able to get rid of our lawmakers is a fundamental democratic right, but one not recognised by the European Union.

If you know me I hope you recognis that I am not a “little englander” and I am certainly not a racist, but I will as a matter or principle be voting to leave tomorrow as is my democratic right.

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Concorde 216 G-BOAF, Bristol England

The Last Concorde..

Alpha Foxtrot was the last Concorde to be built completed in 1979 and was the last Concorde to fly arriving at it’s current resting place back at the Filton Factory where it was originally constructed on 26th November 2003. The Concorde version of the Circle of Life then…

The Filton airfield is like Concorde itself no longer operational except for some emergency helicopter traffic and as a result of this Alpha Foxtrot is currently one of the least accessible airframes.

For a few years following its arrival in 2003 there was a pre-booked tour of aircraft necessary because the aircraft is parked with the Airbus Factory site at Filton, however this was stopped in 2010 and the opportunity to get close to this particular aircraft awaits the completion of the new Aerospace Bristol Museum next year.

As a result about the only view of Alpha Fox now possible if from the opposite of the airfield near the Nissan Garage on Hayes Way.

Poor Alpha Foxtrot was not really wanted by British Airways, it was hoped that aircraft 216 could be sold to British Caledonian or Singapore Airlines  by British Aerospace,  but with no other buyers coming forward the legend is that British Airways paid the nominal price of £1000 for the Airframe, and £100 each for the four Olympus 593 engines

IMG_3765

So one of the more disappointing of my Concorde visits,  but I’m pleased with my progress so far.. five visited with thirteen to do and 332 day left to visit them !

Bristol

Workshop on Spatial Data on the Web 2016 at GIScience 2016

I am helping to organise a  Workshop on Spatial Data on the Web 2016 at the 9th International Conference on Geographic Information Science  Montreal, Canada – September 27-30. 2016.

Workshop Description and Scope

In their first joint collaboration, the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) and World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) have established the Spatial Data on the Web Working Group. The group aims at investigating and providing guidance for the following challenges (1) how can spatial information best be integrated with other data on the Web; (2) how can machines and people discover that different facts in different datasets relate to the same place or feature, especially when this place is expressed or represented in different ways and at different levels of granularity; (3) and what are existing methods and tools to publish, discover, reuse, and meaningfully integrate spatial data. The group is presently surveying the landscape of existing theories, methods, tools, and standards and is creating a set of best practices for their use.

The GIScience community has a long standing interest and expertise in many of the issues outlined above. In fact, work on geospatial semantics, geographic information retrieval, data integration, and spatial data infrastructures, has been part of the GIScience research agenda for many years. Therefore, this workshop aims at bringing researchers together to (1) discuss typical challenges in publishing spatial data on the Web,

(2) identify best practices,

(3) point out conceptual and theoretical foundations that need to be strengthened or established,

(4) identify common quality issues for existing data and lessons learned,

(5) improve and develop existing geo-ontologies for the semantic annotation of spatial data, and

(6) discuss interface and services that will further improve data linking, sharing, and retrieval across communities.
Topics of interest include (but are not limited to):

  • Semantic Enablement of Spatial Data Infrastructures
  • Quality issues in geo-ontologies and Linked Spatiotemporal Data
  • Experience reports on scalability, discoverability, and so forth
  • Coreference resolution and data linkage
  • New perspectives on semantic interoperability
  • Publishing, retrieving, and accessing sensor data
  • Modeling measurement types
  • Ontologies for space and time
  • Event conceptualization and representation
  • Long term preservation of spatial data
  • Provenance and the publication of scientific workflows
  • Trust and information credibility frameworks
  • Coverages as Linked Data
  • GeoSPARQL in the wild
  • Geo-Data in JSON-LD
  • Geo-data specific user interfaces for Linked Data and beyond
  • RESTful services and Linked Data services
  • Use Cases and Requirements for spatial data on the Web
  • Best practice for publishing spatial data on the Web

Workshop Format

The workshop will focus on intensive discussions and experience reports to identify common challenges and best practice for publishing spatial data on the Web. The workshop will accept two kinds of contributions, full research papers (6-8 pages) presenting new work, surveys, and major findings in the areas indicated above, as well as statements of interest (2-4 pages). While full papers will be selected based on the review results adhering to classical scientific quality criteria, the statements of interest should raise questions, present visions, and point to existing gaps. However, statements of interest will also be reviewed to ensure quality and clarity of the presented ideas. The presentation time per speaker will be restricted to 10 minutes for statements of interest and 15 minutes for full papers. This ensures that there is enough time for discussions, interactions, and breakout group leading to a typical workshop setting instead of a mini-conference. Papers should be formatted according to the Latex or Doc LNCS template.

Submissions shall be made through easychair at https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=sdw16

To register for the workshop, please visit http://giscience.geog.mcgill.ca/?page_id=28.
Important Dates

Submission due: 20 May 2016
Acceptance Notification: 17 June 2016
Camera-ready Copies: 25 June 2016
Workshop: 27 September 2016

Organizers

Krzysztof Janowicz, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA
Joshua Lieberman, Center for Geographic Analysis, Harvard University, USA
Kerry Taylor, Australian National University, AU
Grant McKenzie, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA
Simon Cox, CSIRO, AU
Ed Parsons, Google, UK

Programme Committee
Werner Kuhn – University of California, Santa Barbara, US
Adila A. Krisnadhi – Wright State University, US
Tomi Kauppinen – Aalto University School of Science, FI
Payam Barnaghi – University of Surrey, UK
Carsten Keßler – Hunter College, City University of New York, US
Oscar Corcho – Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, ES
Sven Schade – European Commission – DG Joint Research Centre, IT
Christoph Stasch – 52º North Initiative for Geospatial Open Source Software GmbH, DE

Iot

IoT Technology Research Award Pilot

There is understandable interest in the Internet of Things fral all people involved with Geospatial Technology,  as after all location is a foundational component for many IoT applications. I still love the fact that my central heating is controlled by a Nest thermostat monitoring the location of my smartphone, making sure my home is not heated unnecessarily, while turning on the heating when I am 30 minutes from home.

Yesterday Google Research announced the Google Internet of Things (IoT) Technology Research Award Pilot,  a programme to provide Research with IoT technology to carry out short term experiments.

Technology available include;

  • OnHub Router, Chrome Boxes.
  • The Google beacon and Physical web platform.
  • Google Cloud Platform IoT Solutions

Submit your proposal by February 29th in order to be considered for a award. We are  looking for projects that offer impact and interesting ideas so priority will be given to research that can make immediate use of the todays technologies.

A night at the Worlds Busiest Airport..

An early flight from Chicago’s O’Hare airport required a stay at the O’Hare Hilton, not recommended but the view is good..

Interesting fact courtesy of wikipedia, the IATA code for Chicago ORD comes from its original name Orchard Field, another name to bring back perhaps along with Idlewild ?

Talking of lost traditions..

Posted from the American Airlines Flagship Lounge, Chicago .

Election Maps – Can do better ?

Showing my age a bit I know, but my first real exposure with web mapping was supporting the use of Autodesk’s then revolutionary MapGuide software for the 1997 General Election on the UK.

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Web Mapping was young then.. a bit like Tony Blair !

Over the next few months people will be rushing to their shiny new web tools to visualise the election on May 7th, but have we really moved on in our efforts to explain the geographic distribution of results..

You are likely to see maps like this ..

2010 UK Election Map : Source Wikipedia
2010 UK Election Map : Source Wikipedia

Which are highly misleading as the electoral system in the UK  is not based on the area of parliamentary constituencies which is a key feature of this map!  For a well argued criticism of  choropleth mapping like this in elections, take a look Ken’s excellent blog post on the subject from a few years ago.

With this as motivation I’m pleased to announce that Google is sponsoring a special prize at this years British Cartography Society awards for the “Best Election Map”, hopefully we will see some innovative approaches that go beyond the choropleth!