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June 2010 Monthly archive

Over the past few months we have been harvesting geospatial data from Twitter with the aim of creating a series of new city maps based on Twitter data. Via a radius of 30km around New York, London, Paris, Munich we have collated the number of Tweets and created our New City Landscape Maps.

New York New City Landscape

Image by urbanTick using the GMap Image Cutter / New York New City Landscape -Use the Google Maps style zoom function in the top right corner to zoom into the map and explore it in detail. Explore areas you know close up and find new locations you have never heard of. Click HERE for a full screen view.

The highest New York point is the Time Square Peak. It sits within a ridge running down the lengt of Manhattan. It drops of in the south shortly after Chinatown Head and Little Italy Side. A second group of mountains are location around the Franklin Avenue Rock and a third in the Jamaica area.

The maps were created using our Tweet-O-Meter, in association with DigitalUrban and coded by Steven Gray, this New City Landscape represents location based twitter activity.

Image by DigitalUrban / Screenshot of the Tweet-O-Meter
Image by DigitalUrban / Screenshot of the Tweet-O-Meter showing New York, London, Paris and Munich.

The data is derived from tweets sent via a mobile device that includes the location at the time of sending the message. The contours correspond to the density of tweets, the mountains rise over active locations and cliffs drop down in to calm valleys, flowing out to tweet deserts. Throughout the emerging landscape features have been renamed to reflect these conditions. Embedded below a zoomable version of London, created using CASA GM Image Cutter software software developed by Richard Milton, you can zoom in and pan around just as you would do on Google Maps.

London New City Landscape

Image by urbanTick using the GMap Image Cutter / London New City Landscape – Use the Google Maps style zoom function in the top right corner to zoom into the map and explore it in detail. Explore areas you know close up and find new locations you have never heard of. Click HERE for a full screen view.

In this visualisation London does not show the normally characteristic East-West differentiation. Here it is a more North-South directed structure. The highest peak is Soho Mountain in the centre of London extending Eastward towards Liverpool Street.

Munich New City Landscape

Image by urbanTick using the GMap Image Cutter / Munich New City Landscape -Use the Google Maps style zoom function in the top right corner to zoom into the map and explore it in detail. Explore areas you know close up and find new locations you have never heard of. Click HERE for a full screen view.

Paris New City Landscape

Image by urbanTick using the GMap Image Cutter / Paris New City Landscape -Use the Google Maps style zoom function in the top right corner to zoom into the map and explore it in detail. Explore areas you know close up and find new locations you have never heard of. Click HERE for a full screen view. This map was created with the support of Annick Labeca.

‘New York, London, Paris, Munich everybody talk about Pop Musik’ – that was 1979 and the catch line by the group M. This was the start of the project, to mine what people are talking about in 2010. This has led to the creation of our New City Landscape maps.

Images of the maps can also be found on flickr. More cities are coming soon….

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A new streetlife clip by Christoph Schaarschmidt. A nice collection of rooftop perspectives.
Music: billionaire versus bear “Oh my, what are they doing?” He has put it forwards as his entry for the “Digital Reportage Award 2010”. The topic was to produce a short video showing “Streetlife”. You can vote for this entry on the competition site.

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It seems to be time again for book on how to build a city. This is as an answer or better a following step to all the publication investigating the city the logical step. Necessarily with such a project one has to define a position in many ways, conceptually, socially, technically, culturally or other wise and is in the following relatively bound. This should of course not be seen in a negative way, but rather as a potential. The in depth and thoughtful aspects are usually developed in such a context. That it will also allow for a lot of critique to be raised should similarly be seen as the start of a healthy debate. Earlier I have discussed the publications “A Manifesto for Sustainable Cities‘ by Albert Speer and Partners, Prestel and ‘Asia Beyond Growth‘ edited by AEOM, Thames and Hudson.
Princeton Architectural Press has just no published a new book that fals into this category, ‘City Building – Nine Planning Principles for the Twenty-First Century‘ by John Lund Kriken with Philip Enquist and Richard Rapaport. Interestingly what these publications have in common, they all come out of large planning companies. Each with a different approach and strategy, both, regarding the content but also the marketing / positioning. The latest one is very close to SOM, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, currently building the Burj Khalifa.
The book presents a structure of nine topics as principles of planning. This is meant as a framework for organisation and decision making. None of the selected headings will surprise you though, the topics have been floating around the professional debate for years now, but they make sense as a collection. A set to cover more or less all aspects of the design process one would come across in practice.

Image by SOM, taken from socketsite.com / Treasure Island: Sold To The Bidder Across The Bay For $105M (Plus), SOM to develop masterplan.

The approach to the different topics is very American, if this ‘style’ existis, otherwise let’s call it commercial. SOM is an international practice, but particularly here this american school approach shines through, from how elements are explained and definitely in the sketches. For someone from Europe, some of the topics are some years behind. Trying to make things simpler than they are, is usually not a helpful approach. But beside these style preferences the presented structure of topics and the examples used to illustrate key points are clear and straight forward to understand. The real value is in the detail of the presented examples. Here the authors draw obviously from the large pool of SOM projects to provide in depth understanding of the topics. Maps and plans are at large represented at same scales which makes comparisons possible. Detailing goes as far as discussing aspects of climate and wind direction in their relevance to urban design. This is a element unseen in peer publications. However, at times the topics still remain on the surface and don’t manage to impress. Maybe because the authors have chosen to go with widely discussed keywords.
The nine chosen topics are as follows: Sustainability, Accessibility, Diversity, Open Space, Compatibility, Incentives, Adaptability, Density, Identity.
“The city, in fact is a font of saving solutions for humankind because the way that urban settlement takes place links virtually all other environmental and social concerns. How humans come together in cities is nothing less than a key to the long-term stewardship of the land, air, water, and energy use, as well as to habitat preservation, health, security, and positive social interaction.” (City Building, Part III, p.239) This, I would say, is a statement of someone who truly believes in the city as a model. Someone who lives and breathes the city, someone who loves the city. On the other hand these statements also demonstrate how the perspective shapes the story. In some way some of the contextual comments in this publication have mad me once more aware of the complications we face to conclude and frame a definite thought in the context of our own practice. And furthermore, the essential necessity to remain critical and reflective especially regarding the context and the product.

Image by SOM / SOM’s Master Plan proposes a variety of innovative solutions to facilitate the regeneration of this prime London location. Key amongst these is: the integration of future development with the rail, tram and bus interchange; strengthening the mixed-use core through increased density; amalgamation of green spaces; maximising pedestrian permeability. The scheme establishes a unique sense of place, and ensures social and economic benefits for the community.

This publication represents the perspective of the practitioner and manages to speak the appropriate language. The introduction and the conclusion provide a formal framework, but you really will be interested in the middle bit, with its numerous examples drawn from all over the world and presented in the context providing framework of nine topics, or, as called here, principles. The richness of detail and the relevants make this a very useful source for everyday situations in practice.

Preview on Google Books will also give you a first impression.

Kriken, J.L., 2010. City Building: Nine Planning Principles for the Twenty-First Century, Princeton Architectural Press, New York.

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How do we identify our selves with the spaces we use and how do we navigate with the many obstacles the urban environment contains?
Living in the city means to constantly negotiate spaces as well as navigate space. This becomes more difficult under the density aspect as well as the mobility aspects. Also the cycles of change are very short and frequent adaptations require constant reorientation.
Aspects of repetition and routine play an important role in the navigation of everyday situations. Being familiar with the aspects makes this task a lot easier. However, as soon as there are changes, new features or temporary obstacles, those have to be integrated.
Even more difficult such tasks are for people with disabilities. Here people also have to deal with obstacles built into the urban landscape, simply because someone ignored additional needs.
Megafon is a project to investigate and map these obstacles using collaborative and user generated methods.

Image by megafon.net / Geneva obstacle map 2008. Based on Google Maps with clickable content. Click on image for the interactive map.

They work with focus groups and equip their participants with a camera and GPS to document their experiences in everyday situations. The images were uploaded directly to the internet feeding in to a realtime map of the city. Two of these cities are Barcelona, Spain and Geneva, Switzerland. The resulting maps a very detailed and visualise a very specific perspective on the city.

Image by wired.co.uk / Screenshot of the live tube map
Image by megafon.net / Barcelona obstacle map 2006.

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The New City Landscapes have been introduced earlier as a visualisation of tweet activity in the urban context. The maps are derived from data sent via a mobile client and including location information.
The rising mountains and dropping valleys remodel the density of messages as a temporary urban landscape. Earlier coverage on this topic can be found HERE and HERE.
A more detailed series we start now looking at the different places New York, London, Munich and Paris individually. This time the focus is on Paris, Ille de France. In timeRose diagrams the temporary aspect of the data is developed with a visual means line to indicate characteristics of individual units. This method allows graphical analysis, highlighting the important aspects.

Image by urbanTick / New City Landscape of Paris, France. A topography map generated from twitter activity around the Ille of France.

The ‘Dents des Halles’ mark the highest point on the map, being a location of high tweeting activity. It is quite an important meeting point for people of all ages. It is a place to hang out, to stand around with no specific activity at hand. This seems to be an important condition for high twitter activity. Counter the assumption important places wil stand out, usually the less expected places close by will have the peak. Take the ‘Tour Eiffel’ for example it made it only as the ‘Flanc Tour Eiffel’ at the bottom of the ‘Colline d’Champ-Elysees’. The mix is more complicated and I am guessing that everyday location combined with routine activities actually float on the top, over one of activities. However to make the peak it obviously needs a combination.
From the Tour Eiffel up to the ‘Cime Excelmans’ down the ‘Flac des Princes’ across the ‘Carriere Marnes-la-Coquette’, one reaches the ‘Aiguille du Chesnay’, The peak next to Versailles. This another example of lower activity than expected.
A group of three peaks to the north-east marks the airport Charles de Gaulle a dent that would follow the logic.

Image by urbanTick / TimeRose analysis of the tweeting activity in Paris, France over the period of one week. The means line helps to classify the information.

Looking at the activity over time of the individual weekdays the pattern between weekends and weekdays is quit obvious. The visualisation here is a timeRose where the 24 hours are plotted around the circle, with the amount of tweeting plotted radial.
The means line is used to mark the highest activity peaks, with the angle of it indicating the fraction of the day covered. A steep line means late morning and late night, representing the tendency on weekends. Whereas a flat line points to early morning and early evening activity, as it draws on weekdays.
There is a problem with the data from Wednesday, this is due to the fact that witter was down and we do not have data for this period. However the drop off’s on both sides suggest a similar pattern as we find on the other weekdays.
The usual pattern is a three peak blob, representing morning, lunch and evening. With flater means the morning merges in to the lunch peak and a shift towards later times takes place. This shift starts to build up already during the week starting from Thursday.

Image by urbanTick / The island of twitter land Paris in the digital see of information. Generated from tweet density send form mobile devices in Paris, France.

The Other cities wil follow as blog posts very soon, stay tuned.
Thanks forsupport with the development of this to Annick Labeca at Urban Lab Global Cities

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A Google Maps mash-up has gone online that visualises the approximate location of every single tube train on the London Tube network. This has become possible since TfL’s move to install an open API allowing access to their vast pool of data. Through this the map calculates real time location of trains by accessing the data from departure information board. This is the same information passengers see on the platform. The very familiar 7 minutes, 3 minutes, 1 minute, due, writing in orange dot letters.
The API is currently still in beta and provided through the LondonDataStore.
This comes only a few days after the publishing of the API and it was developed by Matthew Somerville via mySociety. The source code for the mash-up is also available. It was developed in the context of the science hack day that took place over the past weekend.
This is great to look at, but like the information on the tube platform, we know from experience that the time displayed usually is just an approximation.
In an earlier post the beat of the london tube network was covered in a different visualisation type, using timeLapse.

Image by wired.co.uk / Screenshot of the live tube map
Image by wired.co.uk / Screenshot of the live tube map

Thanks for the link to Duncan.

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The Football World Cup virus has of course spread to all the mobile platforms, foremost the iPhone and iPad. Numerous apps promis the most up to date info and the most detailed analysis. In an earlier post I was interested in tracking of activity on the football pitch and came across these different methods of analysis. The big sports broadcaster are using a palett of software helping them with analysis as well as visualisation. The visualisation part has become important during these very formal and serious debates around the table. Usually the graphics put in to the video are based on tracking information derived from different cameras. There aren’t currently physical tracking technologies in place, as for example RFID, GPS or Bluetooth. The producers must be very satisfied with the visual tracking tools. Tools are Piero, Visual Sports. A nice visualisation of pitch activity also is supplied by the New York Times including time slider allowing you to scroll through the 90 minutes dynamically.

Image by urbanTick / Screen shot taken from Total Football 2010 iPhone app, analysis of the game Switzerland 1-0 Spain, all passes.

If you are keen to get up to date information on matches and analysis where ever you go and where ever you are, you need a app fot the iPhone or your new iPad. A really cool on eis the Total Football 2010 developed by Colm McMullan. It provides you with all the details and infos you want to know. I was particularly interested in the visualisation of spatial activity on the pitch. How do players stand and where is the action taking place. Here you can get detailed info down to which player took a throw in where, when, in which direction and how far – Amazing! With the dynamic slider all the information can be specifically focused on a specific period of the game or over the whole 90 min period.

Image by urbanTick / Screen shot taken from Total Football 2010 iPhone app, analysis of the game Switzerland 1-0 Spain, all passes in the attack third.

In te context of the game Switzerland Spain, the analysis of the spatial pattern are telling a lot about the narrative of the game. If you look at the spatial distribution of the passes by Spain that covers two third of the pitch towards the opposition goal witha strong focus around the Swiss box. The Swiss passes on the other hand got stuck in the center of the field with a high percentage of red, meaning failed passes.
The Swiss goal that decided the match was a real surprise just a few minutes into the second half. It was one of the long balls in to the Spanish half surprising the Spanish defence and muddling the ball in to to the net.
The strategy of the Swiss team to focus on closing the box with every player and simply not letting the Spanish side get to have a got at the net worked out and left this clear spatial pattern of a maximum of activity just outside the Swiss box.

Image by urbanTick / Screen shot taken from Total Football 2010 iPhone app, analysis of the game Switzerland 1-0 Spain, all shots.

The data feed comes through a service from Opta Sports. They are using a specifically developed software to analyse the games. However surprisingly it is all done manually. Two people are watching a football game. Each one focuses on one team and records every single move. The actions are coded and the operator also registers with the mouse the location and direction on the pitch via visual input. Basically this way they record the ball movement. It could be summarised as a linear recording of the balls movement over 90 minutes.

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The Olympic Games are a global event of sport, writing history and making heroes by defining the athlete who performs best. In 2012 the games are being held in London and preparations are well under way. There is a lot of emphasis on the facilities and what can be seen at the moment is mainly building work on infrastructure and buildings. The building site over in Standford doesn’t really look yet like a beautiful venue as we are shown on the renderings, but some of the buildings develop a recognizable shape.

Image taken from London2012.com / The Olympic Park taking shape on 2010-04-01. An aerial view of the Olympic Park looking north-west, with the Aquatics Centre in the foreground. The Olympic Stadium with the completed lighting towers is in the background.

In fact the Games actually return to London, after they were held here in 1948. Behind the scenes there is a lot of other preparation work going on. Part of this is the heart of the Games, the time keeping. Implementing this complicated system of measuring, processing and reporting accurate times is a big thing and has a lot of ties to other elements of the event. At this stage this involves Architecture, e.g. buildings as well as infrastructure, later on technical settings as well as communications. This means that Olympic time keeping is always part of the preparations from very early on. Omega as part of the Swatch group is once more responsible for keeping accurate times across the whole of the Olympic Games in 2012. The company has a very long tradition in sports event time keeping and were the first company to be appointed for the job by the IOC at the Los Angeles Olympic Summer Games in 1932. They had also done the earlier London Games in 1948 and in this sense the coming event marks 80 years since their first job and will be their 25th instance to keep official Olympic times.

Hans Gubler, who is heading the implementation team of Swiss Timing, the company responsible for the running and installation of the time keeping system, speaks to urbanTick about the job of keeping accurate times and implementing the icon of timekeeping. Of course of interest will be the development of the technology since the implementation of the photo finish camera ‘ at the 1948 London Games, but also we want to discuss implications of time and working with time in a broader sense.


urbanTick: Is it important to be on time?
Hans Gubler: Yes and No. It depends largely in what context the “being on time” is. In my job being on time is very important.

urbanTick: Omega was the first time keeping company to take the official times at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles in 1932. They have done the job ever since. Can you explain briefly the historic key elements?
Hans Gubler: In the 1930s timing was still done manually, meaning using stop watches. An early version photo finish camera already existed but was not approved by the sports federation in those days. Horse racing was the first sport where a photo finish device was put in place. With the arrival of the transistor in the 1940s things changed rapidly. Our company started to develop timing devices of which the key element was a high precision quartz. Electric photocells were used to start and stop timing at great precision. At the same time the photo finish technology was further developed and eventually homologated for Athletics and used for the first time at the London 1948 Summer Olympics. In the meantime conventional photo finish film technology has been taken over by computer technology. New technologies also include the introduction of transponders.

Image by Hans Gubler / Olympic Summer Games Beijing 2008 – Swimming, Finished.

urbanTick: You are working for one of the biggest temporal events globally, can you describe your current workplace?
Hans Gubler: I work with a team of 12 people (employed by my company) working at the Games organising committee’s premises. Our activities comprise of planning our needs in the Olympic venues (cabling, space and power requirements, infrastructure for sports scoreboards) and testing results system software with all dependencies (Television, Integration with other systems).
Swiss Timing is a Timing, Scoring and Results services company within Swatch Group alongside with Omega, Longines, Swatch, Rado, Tissot and other watch brands. Watch brands such as Omega, Longines and Tissot use Swiss Timing’s services for marketing/branding at sports events. Events range from the Olympics and Paralympics to World Championships, World Cups and many more events.

urbanTick: The Olympic Games have a cycle of four years, what are the ‘cycles’ for your company, how much time do you need for the setup?
Hans Gubler: The setup takes about 3.5 years. Whereof we are 2.5 – 3 years on site prior to the Games. The operational teams would show up on the venues for the test events and finally, for the Games.

urbanTick: How many Olympic sites have you already worked on and where was it?
Hans Gubler: My first Olympic games were the Winter Games in Sarajevo 1984, then Los Angeles 1984, Seoul 1988, Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Torino 2006 and Beijing 2008. In Sydney I started to be on site long term (three years), whereas before my involvement was only just for the Games periods.

urbanTick: Looking back, how have you come to this position and what is your background?
Hans Gubler: I come from an electrical engineering background and have worked in this industry for the last twenty years. At the time I looked for a job in a technical environment connected to sports.

urbanTick: What are the differences between personal and work related time aspects?
Hans Gubler: Personal time management can often be adjusted according to how one feels. Not all time lines have to meet a certain deadline. Professionally there are two levels. The first is to meet the time lines of deliveries (submission of documents, building/installing of equipment, testing of software) to synchronise with other parties’ deliveries. The second is to be on time for a sports match or race and be precise in timing sports events (i.e. 100m dash race).

Image by Hans Gubler / Olympic Summer Games Beijing 2008 – Cycling Track, Start system.

urbanTick: In a rather global sense, how would you define time?
Hans Gubler: Time can be either described as space (amount of time) into which a quantity of work/activity is placed or the moment things are happening (from now to the end of race).

urbanTick: Are you using a specific definition of time you are using for your work?
Hans Gubler: Both of the above definitions. 1. Planning phase and 2. The actual event, measuring time of a sports performance.

urbanTick: How accurate can time measuring be?
Hans Gubler: Time accuracy can be indefinite however technical constraints and sports rules and regulations keep accuracy at bay. The highest resolution required in sports for the time being is 1/1000th of a second (i.e. Swimming), whereas Marathon over 42km only requires a resolution of 1 second.

urbanTick: Speaking of these completely different sports that the Olympics cover, how do they differ in terms of time keeping? Witch one is technically the most complicated to measure, witch one is the most beautiful?
Hans Gubler: Typically there are two categories namely timed sports and scored sports. Every sport has its own rules however some sports are very similar. Handball, Basketball, Football, Water polo for instance are scored sports where the match time is timed but the scores are relevant for the outcome. Swimming, Cycling and Athletics require precision timing for the ranking of the athletes. One of the most complicated sports is Modern Pentathlon where five disciplines are played in one day (Fencing, Swimming, Riding, Shooting and Running). It requires a lot of timing and scoring equipment and is intricate when it comes to networking all five sports for results compilation and live TV coverage.
Every sport has its beauty one way or another. My personal favourites to watch are Athletics and Tennis.

urbanTick: Do different conditions for time measuring exists. Say like weather conditions influence the performance? Does the wind direction influence the time?
Hans Gubler: Weather as such does not really influence time keeping (as long as the equipment is kept dry to function), however wind is a factor taken into account in Athletics where the sports rules stipulate a record time only to be recognised with wind from the back of < 2m/second. This rule applies to track races of up to 200m and long/triple jump. urbanTick: What are the different methods you are using to work with time?
Hans Gubler: Time is measured by using visual means (photo finish camera technology), infrared beams, wireless transponders, GPS technology

Image by Hans Gubler / Olympic Summer Games Beijing 2008 – Mountain Bike, Transponder.

urbanTick: Photo finishing and infrared are stationary technologies, GPS and wireless transponders can be mobile, are you tracking all the athletes and how accurate can this be?
Hans Gubler: GPS and wireless tanponders are mainly used for pisitionning of athletes during the race (intermediate times). The accuracy is no more than 1/10 of a second and is not recognised as the offical finish time.

urbanTick: Back in the Days of the 1932 Los Angeles Games hand-operated chronographs were used for timekeeping. What does it mean to work with time today, can you describe the context and support systems required?
Hans Gubler: The heart of time measurement is the high precision quartz used in custom made timing computers. Leading from there (depending on what sport and what precision is required), infrared beams, high resolution photo finish cameras, transponder systems or GPS systems are put in place.

urbanTick: Are you using the latest technology or even inventing them especially for the games or is the reliability of the system more important and you only implement well tested and proofed systems? What is the innovation you bring to the London 2012 Games?
Hans Gubler: New technology is developed not just for the Olympic Games but also for other high profile events such as World Championships and World Cups. Whether it would be for the Olympics or other events, new technology is tested thoroughly over periods of time in shadow (running alongside with existing and approved systems) before they are approved and used for events. Wireless systems are, in fact, not used in mission critical areas (i.e. data entries at Tennis, false start systems at Athletics etc.) since the risk of being interfered by other RF users is very high, especially in the Olympic Games.
New technology in London, as an example, is the timing of the mark roundings at Sailing using GPS.

urbanTick: Is there a backup system if the timing fails?
Hans Gubler: All crucial systems are equipped with back-up systems. The back-up system consists of a secondary system doing exactly the same as the primary system. A further contingency is the power supply back-up in form of an UPS (un-interrupted power supply).

urbanTick: Has there ever been an incident of hectic moments with failing systems at any of the Olympics you have worked for?
Hans Gubler: In Seoul 1988 the cartridge of the starting gun failed to go off properly in an Athletics race. The timing system was then immediately switched to the back up system. The race finished without a flaw.

Note – This is not the race mentioned above, just one of the races from Seoul in which Ben Johnson pitched a new world record over 100m.

urbanTick: The event relays on the time-measuring to determine the winners and this is turn is connected to a lot of investment and money in various areas. This presumably put a lot of pressure on the system and your job. Can you sleep at night?
Hans Gubler: The pressure is very high before and during the Games for both the operational and managing staff. The key element to meet and reduce risks is anticipation and proper preparation (thorough testing of software, hardware and procedures (exercising the switching to contingency systems)).

urbanTick: You are also responsible for the result tables and ranking system, how much time lies in between the event, the end of the event, and displaying it to the spectators on site and on TV? Is this immediate and solely determined by the technology or do you have to consult photos first and a judge takes a decision?
Hans Gubler: In the case of Athletics and Cycling the winner’s time is displayed immediately (sub-second) on scoreboards and TV. The official time for the winner and all other athletes is read from the photo finish pictures and transferred into the results system as they are read. This process is a matter of a few seconds, unless there is a tie where careful analysis of the picture is required. In Swimming the times are officially recorded by the touch pads at the end of the pool.

urbanTick: Do you think different times exists, take place or could be constructed?
Hans Gubler: I think time could take place at a different level perhaps combined with space. There could also be different time levels that are still unknown to us.

Image by Hans Gubler / Olympic Summer Games Beijing 2008 – Athletics, Timing Room.

urbanTick: Would you say that there is something like a time legacy? In some sense one could argue that the times measured for the Olympics live on in the record books for generations of athletes to try and compete. What is the importance of the times in the context of the Olympics but also in general?
Hans Gubler: The legacy of times/records can be regarded as milestones for other athletes to live up to. They serve as comparison data to the media (press and TV/radio commentators). Times and records from the past also reflect the development of sports and increase in performance. A famous, if not the most famous, record was probably Bob Beamon’s 8.90m in long jump during the Mexico 1968 Olympics. The record was only broken by Mike Powell with the distance of 8.95m in 1991.

urbanTick: You have lived in a lot of different countries, following the Olympic circus. Can you describe differences in time perception, usage or keeping from your experience?
Hans Gubler: There is definitely a difference of time perception depending on peoples’ culture and mentality. A big difference I experienced between the Mediterranean (Athens) way of thinking (rather casual approach to managing time) versus the Chinese (Beijing) way of time approach (nothing is left unplanned, no surprises). The difficulty for us came with the former approach leaving little space for errors (planning, testing). Interestingly the former approach also meant more flexibility whereas the latter was much more rigid.


In an interview series urbanTick is looking closely at meaning and implications of time in everyday life situations. In the form of dialogs different aspects are explored, with the idea to highlight characteristics. The main interest is circling around the construction and implementation of different concepts of time between independent but related areas of activity, such as leisure and work, private and public, reality and virtual. This interview series will not be continuous, but more adhoc, so you might want to use the interview tag to catch up with the rest.

Image by Hans Gubler / Olympic Summer Games Beijing 2008 – Athletics, Finish camera.

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World cup is on and I even find my self occasionally following a game with some pretended interest. What I am more interested really is the movement and the strategies. There is not much space and most of the points of orientation are moving elements. However rough positions are allocated together with assigned tasks.
There is a lot of important talking about options and chances, tactics and plans. It sounds all very sophisticated and important. But what is it in the end, 23 guys chasing the ball.
This however is random enough to generate some distinct pattern. of course random in this context means the characteristic mixture of task oriented inventive behaviour as we also observe it in everyday movement. In a very interesting blogpost Rob from Mammoth has summarised his thoughts on the similarities between football and urban movement tactics – as diagram traced on exported landscape.

Image by urbanTick /Adidas’ Match Tracker, the heath map view – game Chelsea vs International.

Analysis of the game in real time is this year available from multiple sources. Addis offers the ‘match tracker‘ or you can check out visualsports.com. The adidas tool offers a graphic replay feature that based on a movement record. It has a quite elaborated interface with an interactive time tracker below.
A very different approach took the artist David Marsh with his work ‘Some People are on the Pitch‘. He traced with pen and paper the movement of the players in the 1966 victory, the last time England won the World Cup. He also offers the selection of some particular traces, though. For example one plate is the movement of Martin Peters in the first half of the game, another is Charlton vs Beckenbauer over the full length of the match.
It is ‘Created by mapping archive footage at 1/2 real speed, using the pitch markings and the stripes of the cut grass as a coordinate system, the work follows the movement of each player against time, on and off the ball, as they move across the ‘field’ of play throughout the full 90 minutes, plus extra time.
The recorded information is then coded through a system of line type, weight and colour to allow the narrative of the recorded information to be represented and read graphically, producing a work simultaneously latent with an immense level of information, and one seemingly abstract in its aesthetic.’

some people are on the pitch by David Marsh

Image by David Marsh / ‘Alan Ball – Full Mach’ Working drawing, Ink on trace.

Details via Mammoth and Infostetics. Other football drawings can be found via SwissMiss.

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THe city scape of Ephemicropolis was an installation y the artist Peter Root made from around 100’000 staples. The installation shown here took about 40 hours to set up, see ‘the making of’ below. Root graduated from the Fine Art BA Hons at University College Falmouth in 2000. Its amazing how this models the way we perceive the city and the building structure as a sort of abstraction. From the stationary cupboard to the Streets of the world.

Ephemicropolis by Peter Root

Image by Peter Root / Detail Ephemicropolis.

This comes via ashjdkahlasd

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