Monday, September 22, 2008

Concepts, Tools and Applications: The Rise of Neogeography

Just a quick note that Andrew Hudson-Smith from Digital Urban and myself are organizing a session at the 2009 AAG. entitled "Concepts, Tools and Applications: The Rise of Neogeography" Below is an extended abstract for the session:

The world of Geographic Information (GI) Science has changed. It has experienced expeditious growth over the last few years leading to fundamental changes to the field. Web 2.0, specifically The Cloud, GeoWeb and Crowd Sourcing are revolutionising the way in which we gather, present, share and analyse geographic data. This renaissance in the importance of geography in the Web 2.0 world is becoming known as 'Neogeography'.

Neogeography is geography for the general public using Web 2.0 techniques to create and overlay their own locational and related information on and into systems that mirror the real world. Location and space now represents a key part of the Web 2.0 revolution. Tagging not only the type of information but where such information is produced, who uses it and at what time, is fast becoming the killer application that roots information about interactivity generated across the web to systems that users can easily access and use in their own communication with others.

The aim of this session is twofold; first to bring together practitioners to discuss concepts and challenges that the field of Neogeography faces. Secondly, to provide an opportunity for researchers and developers to present recent tools and applications for collecting, sharing and communicating spatial data for the Neogeographer. We are actively seeking topics ranging across the entire spectrum of Neogeography, from Crowdsourcing, Digital Earths, Neogeography, Web Mashups, Volunteered Geographic Information, Virtual Worlds (e.g. Second Life) and associated Web 2.0 technologies.

Anyone who wishes to presents a paper must first register for the annual meeting, submit an abstract (no more than 250 words that describes the presentation's purpose, methods, and conclusions) by the October 16, 2008. Once this has been done, you need to send us your program identification number (PIN), which we will use to add you to the session.

Further details on the paper requirements and cost of registration for the AAG meeting can be found at

We look forward to hearing from you

Andrew and Andy

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Update: Agents in Second Life

At CASA we use Second Life as a online urban laboratory -which could be termed collaboratories, to explore issues pertaining to urban planning and public debate in a visually 3D collaborative environment (click here to see some of CASA's previous work from Digital Urban)

One of the aspects I am working on with others at CASA is exploring Second Life's potential for 3D agent-based modelling for social scientists. To this end we have created three agent-based models using the Linden Scripting Language (see Rymaszewski et al., 2007). It is the purpose of these models to act as pedagogic demonstrators and as a “proof-of-concept”, thus we have chosen Conway’s Game of Life, Schelling’s (1971, 1978) Segregation model. These models were chosen as they highlight how classical automata styles of models which have inspired a generation of modellers can be created and explored in Second Life. The third model we present is a prototype pedestrian evacuation model which is more complex than the previous two and highlights at the variety of models that can be potentially created in Second Life. This model relates to the genus of such models of which the social forces model developed and popularised by Helbing and Molnár (1995) is typical.

While being work in progress we thought its worth showing a short movie of our work to date.

The sound track for the movie is 'Just a Memory' from ANDYF.

Potentially this environment demonstrates how experts, model builders and the non specialist can view, interact and discuss agent-based models in a 3D collaborative environment. Any thoughts or comments are most welcome.


Helbing, D. and Molnár, P. (1995), 'Social Force Model for Pedestrian Dynamics', Physical Review E, 51(5): 4282-4286.

Rymaszewski, M., Au, W.J., Wallace, M., Winters, C., Ondrejka, C. and Batstone-Cunningham, B. (2007), Second Life: The Official Guide, John Wiley and Sons, Inc, Hoboken, NJ.

Schelling, T.C. (1971), 'Dynamic Models of Segregation', Journal of Mathematical Sociology, 1(1): 143-186.

Schelling, T.C. (1978), Micromotives and Macrobehavior, WW Norton and Company, New York, NY.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Neogeography: disseminating geographic content with Web 2.0 technologies

I gave a talk the other day on behalf of the GeoVue project at CASA at the RGS-IBG Annual International Conference in London, and giving a paper entitled "Neogeography: disseminating geographic content with Web 2.0 technologies" in the The e-Social Science agenda: challenges and opportunities for geographers session. The session showcased new e-Social Science developments, explaining and illustrating the opportunities and challenges it poses for geographers, by disseminating the activities of geographers who are engaged in e Social Science. These include applications of e-Social Science in Evidence-based Policy Assessment (EBPA) and other fields of geographies that matter.

The abstract of the talk was:

"In CASA, we are working on Web 2.0 technologies that take geographic content and disseminate to a range of interested users from professionals to non-experts in a way that enables them to interact with the content and to add value to the visualisations that they are able to produce. This is essentially what Web 2.0 is all about – user driven content involving location and place as well as the networks that connect users together. It is the basis of what is currently being referred to as NeoGeography. In this talk, we will illustrate these technologies starting with our developments of virtual cities through our Virtual London model which is within Google Earth move to show how we can user other Google software to enables users to create their own maps using our GMap Creator software and then illustrate how we are building the equivalent of a YouTube for Geographers that we call MapTube. Much of the content that we are working with can also be ported into virtual worlds which represent the next stage of web based development and we will illustrate how we are porting such content from virtual cities and web -based maps into Second Life where we are piggy-backing this content into Nature’s Second Nature space."

Below is a movie of the talk (including all the movies and nice sound provided by Andrew Hudson-Smith's of Digital Urban, you might want to fast forward bits) and a pdf of the talk can be downloaded from here (15MD).

Neogeography: disseminating geographic content with Web 2.0 technologies from Andrew Crooks on Vimeo.

What was interesting is that while the research is of interest to a large online community as supported by interest from the BBC, potentially neogeography is still a niche topic in UK geography. Maybe it suggests that the 'traditional' geographer (what ever this is) is unaware of the latest digital technologies in reaching out for the masses.

On a side note we have a new working paper entitled "Mapping for the Masses: Accessing Web 2.0 through Crowdsourcing" which might be of interest.

Full reference:
Hudson-Smith, A., Batty, M., Crooks, A. T., and Milton, R. (2008), Mapping for the Masses: Accessing Web 2.0 through Crowdsourcing, Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (University College London): Working Paper 143, London, England. (pdf)

More information about the GeoVue project, Web 2.0, Second Life etc can be found and Andrew Hudson-Smith's Blog: Digital Urban