On private emotions being thrown into the public sphere:
People escape the Dunbar world for obvious reasons: life there appears prosaic and uninspiring. They find a digital interface and, like Alice in Through the Looking-Glass, enter a new realm that glitters with infinite possibilities. Suddenly, you can flicker like a spark between the digital and the real. The exhilarating sensation is that you have been taken to a high place and shown all the kingdoms of the world: “These can be yours, if. . . .” If your video goes viral. If...
Tom MacWright on chess. Reduce distraction, increase concentration
Once you have concentration, you realize that there’s another layer: rigor. It’s checking the timer, checking for threats, checking for any of a litany of potential mistakes you might be about to make, a smorgasbord of straightforward opportunities you might miss. Simple rules are easy to forget when you’re feeling the rush of an advantage. But they never become less important.
Might start giving chess a try just to see how I do. Haven’t played in years, but I’m curious.
I love that people out in the open source world still build things like this. It’s an xterm-compatible renderer for accessing interactive map from a terminal console.
I even tried it from a console on an EC2 instance I’ve got. A quick telnet command gets you connected, a and z keys to zoom, arrow keys to pan:
Funnily enough, I could even see this being useful if you needed to reference a map while on a command line on a remote server. Mostly it’s a clever toy,...
The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team has been working on an experimental version of the Tasking Manager tool that incorporates deep learning-assisted mapping projects.
The OSM community has long been (and still largely is) averse to machine-based mapping, as it’s counter to the founding ethos of the project being “created by mappers, where they live.” But if the project is to survive and still see adoption and usage in commercial applications, there has to be effort to improve the depth of coverage and refresh rate to stay competitive with the commercial providers like...
Our friends over at the Santa Barbara County Sheriff have been using a deployment of Fulcrum Community over the last month to log and track evacuations for flooding and debris flow risk throughout the county. They’ve deployed over 100 volunteers so far to go door-to-door and help residents evacuate safely. In their initial pilot they visited 1,500 residents. With this platform the County can monitor progress in real-time and maximize their resources to the areas that need the most attention.
Khan Academy’s Andy Matuschak on tasks that require “depth of knowledge” versus those that have higher “transfer demand.” Both can be considered “difficult” in a sense, but teaching techniques to build knowledge need different approaches:
One big implication of mastery learning is that students should have as much opportunity to practice a skill as they’d like. Unlike a class that moves at a fixed pace, a struggling student should always be able to revisit prerequisites, read an alternative explanation, and try some new challenges. These systems...
In this latest cartography project I’m working on, I’m rediscovering the tedium of searching for appropriate data. I’ll grant that it’s amazing how much high quality data is produced and freely distributed, but given the advances of web technology, it’s frustrating to see how bad many of the web map content management systems are.
Of course the difficulty of finding data depends on the geographic area. I happen to be working on a region that’s pretty sparse, so some data (like rasters) can be harder to find.
Here are a few resources I’ve either found or rediscovered worth sharing:
I’m working on a special side project right now, getting myself back into cartography a bit. The last time I did any serious cartography work was with TileMill, probably 4 or 5 years ago. This time I’m trying my hand with QGIS to see what I can do.
For part of this project I wanted topographic maps, for both data and design inspiration. I was reminded of this excellent tool for browsing and downloading the archive of historical topo maps from the USGS. I have no idea why this isn’t the primary interface for the National Map, but I’m glad...
This week is some reading, but some simple admiring. I wanted to highlight the work of two cartographers I follow that is fantastic. We live in a great world that people can still make a living producing such work.
A beautiful, artistic work from David Garcia sorting each island’s landmass by area. My favorite map projects aren’t just eye candy, they also teach you something. I spent half an hour on Wikipedia reading about a few of these islands.
This is a project...
With tools like Mapillary and OpenStreetCam, it’s pretty easy now to collect street-level images with a smartphone for OpenStreetMap editing. Point of interest data is now the biggest quality gap for OSM as compared to other commercial map data providers. It’s hard to compete with the multi-billion dollar investments in street mapping and the bespoke equipment of Google or Apple. There’s promise for OSM to be a deep, current source of this level of detail, but it requires true mass-market crowdsourcing to get there.
The businesses behind...
I swung through an Apple Store a couple of weeks ago to check out the new hardware. The Smart Keyboard Folio has been hard to imagine the experience with in reviews without handling one. Same with the Pencil. I was particularly impressed with the magnetic hold of the Pencil on the side of the device — it’s darn strong. The current Smart Keyboard has some deficiencies, as pointed out in this article. No instant access to Siri or at least Siri Dictation, no system shortcut keys...
One of the coolest open source / open data projects happening right now is OpenAddresses, a growing group effort assembling around the problem of geocoding, the process of turning human-friendly addresses into spatial coordinates (and its reverse). I’ve been following the project for close to a year now, but it seems to have really gained momentum in the last 6 months.
The project was started last year and is happening over on GitHub. It now has over 60 contributors, with over 100 million aggregated address points from 20 countries, and growing by the day. There’s also...
This is an essay I wrote that was published in the OpenForum Academy’s “Thoughts on Open Innovation” book in early summer 2013. Shane Coughlan invited me to contribute on open innovation in geographic data, so I wrote this piece on OpenStreetMap and its implications for community-building, citizen engagement, and transparency in mapping. Enjoy.
With the growth of the open data movement, governments and data publishers are looking to enhance citizen participation. OpenStreetMap, the wiki of world maps, is an exemplary model for how to build community and engagement...
I wrote a blog post last week about the first few months of usage of Pushpin, the mobile app we built for editing OpenStreetMap data.
As I mentioned in the post, I’m fascinated and excited by how many brand new OpenStreetMap users we’re creating, and how many who never edited before are taking an interest in making contributions. This has been an historic problem for the OpenStreetMap project for years now: How do you convince a casually-interested person to invest the time to learn how to contribute themselves?
There are two...
Here are the slides from my talk at the first ever Ignite Tampa Bay. It was a blast to watch all the great talks from such a varied set of interests and passions. Great turnout, too — we drew a sellout crowd out to watch.
As difficult as it is to prepare for Ignite (20 slides, 15 seconds each, autoadvancing), I would do it again in a heartbeat. I’ve essentially done zero public speaking, so it’s nerve-wracking for me to stand up in front of 100+ people and talk at all —...