Phil Gyford


Tuesday 13 May 2003

PreviousIndexNext Cartographic Congress Show and Tell

Here’s my brief notes from the Cartographic Congress Collaborative Mapping Week Show and Tell. Apologies if I have any names or other details wrong… My thoughts are in square brackets.

  • Ben from Headmap showed us Dav’s friendship map, built from data spidered from his Friendster network. Everyone seems to be spidering something at the moment… FOAF, Friendster, news headlines, etc… people trying out new programming languages for it all…

    He wondered if the whole precise positioning stuff, the latitude and longitude, is always that important. Maybe being connected to people who are near you is what’s important, like at EtCon where everyone was connected with everyone else in the “neighbourhood.”

    He talked about collaborative mapping projects. The Waag Society in Amsterdam who have created maps of cities by giving people GPS units and mapping their travels., which allows one to zoom in on an aerial photo and select a building which can then be annotated.

    He mentioned that Bangladesh was mapped in four years by people carrying GPS units. [Actually, this BBC News story says the maps were bought commercially are based on commercially bought maps and are only updated by GPS-equipped men on motorbikes.]

    He said that Wallasea[?] Island in Essex was being GPS mapped by M[?] Fujuyata[?], over ten years. [Anyone got more details?]

  • Jo Walsh explained what RDF is; here’s where we were in RDF thanks to Jo’s Spacenamespace.

    Then she whizzed through some stuff: Grubclone (here’s the Boxing Club again); NoCat’s Development node map combines various kinds of cartographic and other data on nice maps; Picdiary is a photo gallery by Matt Biddulph where each set of pictures has an RDF file describing it.

  • Graham[?] was next and showed The Waag Society’s 9 project. People can make collections of photos and link them to other peoples’ (with permission). This is similar and for late 80s / early 90s satirical photomontage.

  • Jon Bryant from the Ordnance Survey R&D department talked a bit about what they do. [Unfortunately he was repeatedly interrogated about the OS’s inability to give data away free, something he’s not in a position to do much about, so he didn’t have much time to talk.] Britain apparently has the most detailed and comprehensive mapping of any country, down to 25cm level of accuracy. He showed the difference between their traditional maps (of line-based building outlines, fences, etc.) and the newer OS Master Map (of space- and use-based building shapes, car parks, green spaces, roads, etc.). [The space-based stuff reminds me of what little I know of Space Syntax.]

  • Someone whose name I missed talked about their Urban Tapestries project, creating a framework for understanding the social, political, etc. implications of pervasive wireless systems. They’re trying to create a way for users to author, rather than just consume, information. Communicating and annotating space.

By now my limited attention couldn’t cope with more talking, so I left. But it was an interesting evening, with around 35 people there. I can’t help thinking this report is just like those wonderful columns in local newspapers where the Womens’ Institute or the local Philatelic Society report on a recent meeting.

[Update, 14 May 2003: Chris Heathcote took some notes too.]


I did a talk at XMLEurope ( last week on the use of RDF in my photo galleries. The slides are at if you want to read more.

Posted by Matt Biddulph on 14 May 2003, 8:47 am | Link

Wallasea is spelled correctly ( I have not idea why anyone would want to map it though: there's nothing there and if you walk too far in the wrong direction you'll get shot at by the MoD.
I sail in Burnham-on-Crouch and I'm intrigued by this.

Posted by Nico on 14 May 2003, 12:42 pm | Link

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maps, quakes and geocoding
I've been updating my IndyMap for early summer trips to Italy and France and using WhereOnEarth to fill in the location details. Phil Gyford links to lots of mapping and geocoding resources on the basis of a conference he went to recently.
At 'take one onion' on Sunday 1 June 2003, 12:18 AM