Thursday, August 07, 2008

News: New Working Paper and ABM in Second Life

Posts have been a bit sparse the last few months, while I have been exploring the worlds of Neogeography, Web 2.0 and Second Life with colleagues from CASA. Andy Hudson-Smith (who writes an excellent Blog called Digital Urban) and myself have just finished a working paper covering some aspects of the above entitled “The Renaissance of Geographic Information: Neogeography, Gaming and Second Life: Working Paper 142

The abstract is as follows:

Web 2.0, specifically The Cloud, GeoWeb and Wikitecture are revolutionising the way in which we present, share and analyse geographic data. In this paper we outline and provide working examples a suite of tools which are detailed below, aimed at developing new applications of GIS and related technologies. GeoVUE is one of seven nodes in the National Centre for e-Social Science whose mission it is to develop web-based technologies for the social and geographical sciences. The Node, based at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, University College London has developed a suite of free software allowing quick and easy visualisation of geographic data in systems such as Google Maps, Google Earth, Crysis and Second Life

These tools address two issues, firstly that spatial data is still inherently difficult to share and visualise for the non-GIS trained academic or professional and secondly that a geographic data social network has the potential to dramatically open up data sources for both the public and professional geographer. With our applications of GMap Creator, and MapTube to name but two, we detail ways to intelligently visualise and share spatial data. This paper concludes with detailing usage and outreach as well as an insight into how such tools are already providing a significant impact to the outreach of geographic information.”

Full Reference:

Hudson-Smith, A. and Crooks, A. T. (2008), The Renaissance of Geographic Information: Neogeography, Gaming and Second Life, Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (University College London): Working Paper 142, London, England. (pdf)

On another note, Andy, myself and another researcher Joel Dearden are also working on some agent-based models in Second Life. While still rough prototypes, they are looking interesting. We can create, share, and communicate models in a highly visual (3D) and interactive way. The models are simple “proofs of concept” ranging from the Game of Life, Schelling’s segregation model to a pedestrian evacuation model of a building. They are just to demonstrate how virtual worlds could be used by agent-based modellers for outreach purposes. Below are a few screen shots of the models to date. We are currently working on a paper and once written we will give away the code of all the models if anyone is interested in doing such research.
Screen Shot of our Game of Life Model in Second Life:

Screen Shot of Schelling's Segregation Model and GUI in Second Life:

Pedestrian Evacuation Model in Second Life:

While ABM in Second Life is proving interesting we do have an occasional problem of our agents escaping from the pedestrian model and we find them wondering around Second Life:

For more information about Second Life and Andy's work in particular in Second Life see the Digital Urban Blog.

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