web analytics

— urbantick

Tag "application"

Traditionally Geographic Information System (GIS) have been exclusively run on the Windows platform. Only very few applications run on either cross platform or exclusively on the Mac. This is part two of a review and introduction to Cartographica, a Mac based GIS software. Find part one with a general introduction HERE and the working with section HERE. This third part is looking at the mobile version for your iPhone or the iPad.

The GIS software are generally quite heavy software packages and with all them functions packed in use a fair bit of processing power. A mobile client is not quite the first choice as a platform for such an app. However, the field is where you get your data from, check on changes or record problems. Having a powerful GIS bases system right there to record the information and look up details makes your life so much easier and quite a bit more fun.

With the new quite powerful handheld devices running iOS this has become a reality and both iPad and iPhone rund GIS packages. Cartographica is offering a Cartographica Mobile app, currently at version 1.1 available now from the itunes app store.

With it you can take data with you out into the field. This is as simple as dropping files into your itunes. It will natively read shape files for example. Each file can be accessed from the mobile app, including layers.

Testing this HERE is a download link for Boris Bike station locations in London from the Guardian Datastore. The data can then be droppend into itunes and opened on the iPad.

Image by urbanTick / Accessing the data on your iPad. Here showing the Boris Bike station location around London. As a background OSM is used by default.

You can then zoom in and get to the details that are stored with each data point. This is flexible and can be adjusted to the need even out in the field. As done here an field for photo is added and for each location an Photograph can be recorded and linked in directly form the iPad.

Image by urbanTick / Accessing the data on your iPad. Here showing the Boris Bike station location around London. The details can be accessed individually.

Beside looking at the data and access it new data points can be created. There is a plus button at the bottom of the screen or by keeping your finger on the screen also will bring up a zoom functions with witch a point can be manually located. Alternatively the GPS can be used to add a point at the current location.

Image by urbanTick / Adding data directly on your iPad. The cross zoom helps definitely place a new data point.

Image by urbanTick / Adding data directly on your iPad. The pop up dialoge lets you fill in the preset fields. Those can be manipulated on the go and new ones can be added or old ones deleted.

Image by urbanTick / Adding data directly on your iPad. Using the iPad camera to add photographs of the location, or anything else.

What can’t be done on the go is any processing. The station platform of Cartographica offers a range of tools to analyse and visualise the data (see previous post HERE.) The mobile verson as of now does not include any of this. As such the mobile app goes as an addon rather than a replacement. It is intended to take the data with you check, extend or create and bring it back for analysis and further processing.

Nevertheless, Cartographica Mobile does integrate with a network and multiple users including live updating. This opens up possibility for collaborative work on the move and in the field. This is very need and helpful in many cases.

The Cartographica Mobile version is available from the itunes app store at a price of £54.99 or the equivalent of your currrency. It is available world wide. The Cartographica workstation software is available form the web store at a price of $495 and as an academic student license for only $99 for one year. This is tremendously good offer, especially if compared to some of the other packages prices.

Read More

A publication is no longer just a publication. It can be many things and what we see is only the beginning. A book can be a magazine, an ebook a website or a comic. Different medias are being mixed to play with ways of presentation. New technology plays here are good part and enables some very new concepts to be tested.

The eReader platforms and especially the iPad promise new ways of publishing. Only last week Apple has announced, as part of the app ibooks 2, the publication of text books. Here they put the emphasis more than before on the integration of additional media like video for tutorials and explanations, interactive graphics (like the newly released E. O. Wilson’s Life on Earth) and of course web links and so on. The animated and augmented book is only catching on a the moment. If you’re looking to purchase an iPad try out these Promotional Codes and save some money on this expensive technology!

Yes is more ipad
Image taken from earchitect / Yes is More on the iPad.

The architectural monagraphy is a rather unlikely candidate to put forward such an interactive publication. One would expect it to be a heavy piece with nicely photoshopped images and and a thick cover. This is however a way of presentation for the old garde and if BIG represents the new generation of architects such an interactive option of presentation is the way to go. BIG has always been very much about telling a good story and producing a good show. The show of course is very subjective and this subject is two fold its the facts about the design and Bjarke Ingels the head of the Bjarke Ingels Group (This is what BIG stands for).

Their Yes is More: An archicomic on architectural evolution was originally published back in 2009 by Taschen and as such already wasn’t the architectural monograph one might buy if it was Norman Foster or Richard Meier. BIG presented their work in a sort of comic they branded archicomic. It was however mostly well received even though few probably understood what Bjarke actually meant by Yes is more.

The one architectural monography ambitious architecture practices have to top if they really want to set a mark and the book that has dominated the style of architecture book for the last decades is S,M,L,XL by Rem Koolhass’s OMA and AMO’s Bruce Mau. It was published in 1995 by Monacelli Press.

BIG had a go at this with the comic. It was well received, but not quite enough to land in the hall of fame. It certainly did stir things a little and it fitted well with the self image Bjarke is building around his practice and the delivered projects. The advancing technology however meant new opportunities are opening up. BIG has been working more and more with new media, testing animation, 3d as well as augmented reality.

Now in 2011 the original book has been transformed into an app for the iPad as Yes is more! An Archicomic on Architectural Evolution by BIG. It is published by Taschen again and available on itunes. It is not exactly an ebook since it is as a comic mainly imagery based and now also integrated animations and movies. The comic comes to live with clips that play within the grid of images or in full screen mode. It’s clear from the start that this format fits the stile. The publication really thrives with the media in this case.

Image taken from the app / Page spread 218-219 in landscape mode and page 219 in portrait mode. Both show at the bottom the navigation bar.

Yes is more! An Archicomic on Architectural Evolution by BIG - TASCHEN GmbH

The app works both in portrait and in landscape mode. With the swipe of a finger one browses through the sequence of images learning about reasons and effects, but also a lot about Bjarke. Where he lives and what the view of his balcony looks like. Details can be zoomed in on, just like you are getting used to on your touch screen. A youtube like triangle symbolises clips and a click opens these additional medias in a small window or plays them at full screen at rather good resolution. Quality is ver good through out even if zoomed in on details.

Navigation is organised in a bar at the bottom that appears with a tab. To choose or jump to a new topic one can either use a slider of miniature pages or a selector roll. Of course individual pages can also be found by page number. However, the layout does not show any page numbers. They have been removed. In this sense the app is not at all a pure digital version of the paper based publication.

The app also offers a search box for key word search or a separate listing of all the clips if only moving images are of interest. The app offers the option to put bookmarks. There is no note option though, something a lot of ebook users probably have come to like from other platforms.

The experience the app offers is very good even though they have chosen not to the mimicked turn the page effect. It runs smooth the displayed material is qualitative very good with nice colours and sharp contours. Its what you get from other ebooks.

THe feel of the app has very little to do with a book any longer. The turn the page effect is missing, which to be fair, is a stupid thing, an purely visual imitation, but it comes the closest to turning a page and with it imitating the book. Then also the page numbers are missing, a very distinct design element of a paper based publication. This is not so much about the actual number but about orientation and progress. How far have I read and how many pages ago did the lead character last smile? Here we have no page numbers unless we choose to look at it in the bottom bar by tapping to activate it every time. There is however, a tiny bar appearing with each swipe of the page at the bottom indicating the position in the book, assuming the whole length of the screen is the entire book. This is very neat and practical. It would be nice if this little feature could also be draged and enable a sort of quick flip.

Currently there is no way to quickly flip through the book. the swipe response is quite slow and three quick swipes result in only one page shift. Similar the page numbers don’t move you through the pages that quickly. If now this little bar could do such a thing, maybe even in combination with the thumbnail page preview it would make for a great navigation.

The sequence of pages are presented in linear fashion. There are for example no links within the book. The last chapter BIG City provides an overview of the BIG project grouping similar projects together to city districts. It would be nice if clickable and acting as hyperlinks to jump to the details. Or maybe select one of the groups and look at all these projects together. It being programmed as an independent app such options would be possible enabling more browser like handling with back and forth or even history options, where the linearity of the paper based publication would be unlocked. With out this and it feels a bit like a slide presentation and in terms of the linearity would represent a power point against a prezi.

Yes is more ipad
Image taken from klatmagazine / Yes is More on the iPad.

To sum it up, navigation and experience are working fine. Every function you would need is there. Its just that most things have the feel of a computer based click with your mouse here sort of solution. At the same time the app designer have not really let go of the book and present it in a purely linear fashion. It remins a hybrid, and is as sort of ebook with its own app not quite defining a new category of interactive, reader driven, content platforms.

As it being an independent app there are is the downside that it does not link up with other publications. The thing about ebooks is that they still, at least in the term, link up and the same software is playing for all of them. Notes are taken across books, so are markings. This publication is a standalone thing and plays at most with the collection of apps, but not necessarily the books or ebooks in this case. This is more from a collectors perspective a point, but then if you are into architecture you want a whole bunch of similar publications to cover your entire field of interest. One single item doesn’t really satisfy this and remains the odd one out. Bjarke doesn’t mind to be the odd one out as long as he’s being talked about.

Nevertheless its an interesting publication and an impressive one. Its not just a few swipes long, something you have swiped through in under five minutes. This is your proper comic you can read on the tube and the bus for an entire week of commuting. It comes along happily on you iPad and pops upen where you left it. It is currently priced at £6.99 which is nearly the price of the actual print, on amazon for £11.66 (on the Taschen website it is priced at £ 17.99, here the app a bit less than half). You can buy the app from HERE on itunes and the book from Taschen or amazon.

Image taken from the Yes is More app / Spread showing the project with the very poignant title Swept under the carpet. It is not a particularly famous BIG project, but it is one that summarises a lot about the approach. (click image to read the details) The introduction of the publication shows Bjarke with his feet on the table proclaiming his architecture paradigme is to say YES to everything. He claims that architecture can incorporate everything and still be progressive. In this very particular project, Swept under the carpet, he literally sweeps the pollution, this very project is built on a piece of land with polluted soil and the competition asked for solutions to deal with this fact, under the carpet with the argument: “Instead of cleaning up the mess we just cover it. We can spend the money required for cleaning the soil on my project and cover up.” He in fact says NO, in this case to the environment and a longterm solution. Much rather, he lets the polluted soil continue to contamine the water around the community and sailing centre and lets the kids swim in the dirty waters, but everything is nicely covered up. Even though BIG claims for their working attitude to be about process the reflection stage is missing in their project. No critical questions are asked, there is often little attitude or actual opinion on things. Even though BIG is subjectivated and purely focused on the person of Bjarke Ingels it is a brand and not a person.

The comic style fits well with the experiment of a ebook hybrid. There isn’t much to loose by putting it in an rather experimental form and it thrives on it. However the comic style dose not add anything to the content. It is however playful option to publish a book base don figure notes. Yes is More is a graphic novel taking the communication of architecture in visual terms to the extreme by not even attempting to talk about architecture in text form. The comic here is interpreted as annotated pictures and this fits perfectly with the way BIG explain projects, in simple steps explaining what is happening as if it were a DiY manual.

For BIG it’s all about the presentation. They way the projects are presented makes the projects directly ind simply accessible, see video below. The media used are engaging, playful and fitting. The explanations are very simple making every move easily understandable even for a layperson. Interesting however is more how arguments are made and here BIG’s background shines through. Everything is very much the famous and with this publication very much targeted form follows function. Following this paradigma the entire project is presented, throwing in here and there a few clever references and options, but essentially argumentation is very much founded on functionality.

Yes is more! An Archicomic on Architectural Evolution by BIG - TASCHEN GmbH

Ingels, B., 2010. Yes is More: An Archicomic on Architectural Evolution, iPad App., Cologne: Taschen GmbH.

Read More

Mobile devices have become the first stop shop for news and information. It is, as a platform constantly available and always updated in real time taking the promis of any news to the limit, to actually getting the latest news.

There are different approaches to news delivery on the devices. On one hand there are the news readers and the news curators, apps that allow the reader to brows the news from different sources in an general environment, often offering the option to link to many online sources including social media. This type like Flipboard or Flud are very popular and flexible.

Image by Ralph Barthel for urbanTick / Architect’s news on the iPhone provided by BD.

The second approach on the other hand is for each news provider to launch their individual corporate news app. It is very dedicated and the provider has a complete controle over the way each information reaches the reader.

This second option is being offered by a lot of newspapers. However, most of them can also be integrated with other readers as they offer general webnews that the curator apps can integrate. One of the key factors of course is not only to let readers read and enjoy, but to also let them share. They want to show of what they are reading in order to stay in the game of social media and feed their Twitter, Facebook and so on accounts.

Architecture news so far have mainly been using their blogs to keep news uptodate and allow readers to integrate a feed with their favourite curator app. Things are changing and Architecture News sites also begin to offer their dedicated mobile app for readers to enjoy the freshest and crispiest news in the filed of architecture and planning.

Image taken from BD iPhone app / Screenshot of the app news section with sharing options.

Building Design (BD), the British architecture news platform, is the first one here in the UK to offer an app for the iPhone. It was launched only this week and provides complete access from your iPhone to all the content on BD. Of course the main fous is on the latest news in various categories.

The initial view is organised in Top Stories, News, Buildings, Opinions and under More you can find the rest. Well the rest contains Competitions, Events, App Showcase (nothing there yet, but presumably this is for architecture related apps) and Jobs. This is actually quite an interesting selection and for the filed will be essential. This is what makes a good architecture news platform, where you get profession related inside information that are practical. Any other building news you can find on the blog sphere in a range of formats and versions.

Image taken from BD iPhone app / Screenshot of the in app photo viewer. With a single tap on the screen the images can be enjoyed full screen text free (bottom right).

The BD app is neat and plain providing the essential options, such as changing the font size and marking an article as a favourite which can be reinterpreted by the users as an I read it later button. It also provides a neat feature to view the article related photos and illustrations in a separate window. This makes the text simpler to read on the small screen and can make use of the full size of the screen for the photos. Its great to see that BD here still keeps the figure description with the photos so that they don’t float uncommented. The second good implementation is the sharing function. Articles can be shared via e-mail, Facebook and Twitter directly, plus the link to the article can be copied and shared otherwise. So there is no excuse not to let your networks now about the discoveries and latest knowledge acquisition, it works great.

It is debatable whether the categories on the start screen are the best choice and it would also be interesting if in article switching would be possible. Currently the app is organised centrally from one screen where the user can generally go in to depth only one step. Other newspaper apps such as the guardian version for the iPad from the Apple Newsstand, the user can flip pages and go through article by article whit out having to go back to the startpage. For illustrations especially plans and drawings it would be nice to be able to zoom in ont he little iPhone screen. In this context of course it would be great to see them articles and the photos on an iPad screen.

What is missing from the app is a search button. There is no way to find something its purely on an I came across it at the top of the list basis, which leaves the reader to be a playball of the refreshing moment. Real time as it turns out has its downside and you can be sure you miss out on a lot of the interesting stuff simply because your a moment to early or too late. Very quickly news are going to be buried under the flood of even latter news and the small iPhone screen is not the place one scrolls for minutes to go through the list of latest news.

BD in this respect has limited the list of news items the app displays to about 25 and offer at the bottom of all them two filters. One being UK and the second being International. However, here the website offers a lot more options, including the search function.

The app does not replace the BD website in this sense, it is a sort of news outpost for the platform to keep the users entertained while they have some time to kill. With the More option however, there are some features that can take you further. And of course it is to mention that the app comes add free, the latest architecture news can be enjoyed uninterrupted by tempting offers for building materials or architecture software.

The app comes at an subscription cost of £1.99 for 7 days (1 week) and £2.99 for 30 days (1 month) just like the web service of BD. However currently the app is offered for a 30 day FREE trial so its best you have a look yourself and try take it for a test scroll. The app can be downloaded from the app Store HERE.

Image taken from BD online / Screenshot of the online web site.

Read More

Traditionally Geographic Information System (GIS) have been exclusively run on the Windows platform. Only very few applications run on either cross platform or exclusively on the Mac.

The idea behind a GIS is the linking of spatial content with table data. This ins beside the geographic and geometric information an object can have any additional information associated. For example a data set contains points for all the locations of School buildings in London. Get the data from the Guardian Data Blog for a real go at it with your GIS of choice. This is a list of Latitude longitude coordinates. Every such row can now feature additional information such as the name of the school, the number of pupils and whether it is a nursery, primary, secondary school or a university. The GIS allows to distinguish between these separate entities of information and perform tasks using this additional information.

John Snow 1855 cholera outbreak
Image taken from Wikimedia / The ultimate application of GIS in practice. E. W. Gilbert’s version (1958) of John Snow’s 1855 map of the Soho cholera outbreak showing the clusters of cholera cases in the London epidemic of 1854.

For example it is possible to query the table and only display the primary schools. With a further query the primary schools can be coloured in bands of pupil numbers, and so on. GIS is very flexible in the way it can hand this sort of data and most of the systems are modular where different modules can be added and upgraded. There is usually also the option to extend on the functionality by writing individual add-ons to perform very specific tasks.

The ultimate practical application for GIS is the discovery of the cholera source in London by John Snow in 1855. THe story goes that he was able to identify one single water pump as the source of the cholera outbreak because he mapped it out spatially and realised there was a cluster around one pump that must be causing the illness.

The dominating system is the ESRI platform offering the most complete set of tools and services ranging from mapping to mobile applications. The ESRI system however is so big and versatile, that it has grown a massive beast of an application capable of doing everything at the cost of manageability and simplicity. Handling and usability is very clunky and feels very much 1995. It is just about like Microsoft Word with terrible icon bars and millions of functions, you’ll spend more time reading the helpful for individual tools than actually applying tools and functions.

Screenshot Cartographica GIS
Image taken from Cnet / Screenshot showing some of the Cartographica GIS windows.

With the location focuses move towards more spatial data and geographication of just about everything, GIS has risen to be one of the crucial applications, employed widely across disciplines and trades.
Especially recently there has been a push towards flexible GIS platforms, platform independent as well as web based. A number of these smaller applications have now grown up too and are capable of an impressive range of functions and getting very useful for spatial analysis of a good range of problems.

Cartographica is such platform and it is built exclusively for the Mac. It is one of the most up-to-date GIS’s for this platform. It was first released back in 2008 and has seen since some updates running the current version 1.2.2. The market is very competitive, but Cartographica has secured itself a niche with the platform tie.

The functionality is covering a very good range for basic spatial analysis and functions ranging from simple displaying of geographical data including a range of projection transformation to performing of basic analysis such as density or querying to the export of data in a range of formats from shape files (ESRI file standard) to web based and KML, but also graphic formats such as jpg and Illustrator.

This is polished by a intuitive handling of the software as well as extensive data manipulation, including creation of data features. There is also a range of add on features such a the option to display geographical context or background information such as Bing aerial imagery or Open Street Map.

Screenshot Cartographica GISCartographica on iPadCartographica on iPad
Image taken from Cartographica / They are offering also a brand new mobile app, running on iPhone and iPad.

This is about enough said about the functionality. If you need to have a look at a data set spatially this is what you want. Importing a table in a few clicks, project it correctly, pull in some context maps. Find the characteristics, adjust the graphics and export it as in a comprehensive way to share and communicate.

This is exactly what Cartographica does. And this is what a lot of us currently need. A comprehensive, but user friendly tool that does exactly what it says with no magic, but a lot of confidence. Of course there is a lot more to it and in two upcoming post the features and the handling is looked at in more detail. Look out for the posts on ‘Import and Handling’ and ‘Styling and Export’.

Screenshot Cartographica GIS
Image taken from kelsocartography / Screenshot showing some of the Cartographica GIS windows.

The software is available form the web store at a price of $495 and as an academic student license for only $99 for one year. This is tremendously good offer, especially if compared to some of the other packages prices.

Read More

Not quite sure which app to use to read and write your tweets? Well it is tricky and there are loads of options out there. Actually it has become a whole Twitter Ecosystem with apps growing into from everywhere, all aiming for the best place under the twitter sun.

Brian Solis and JESS3 created a visual depiction of the, what they call, Twitterverse (as in universe actually). The graphics shows loads of twitter apps neatly ordered and lined up on concentric rings of types. These range form Geographics like trendsmap to rich media like yFrog, to mobile apps like echofone, to twitter search like twazzup.

Each group has its speciality and a niche. This works quite nicely for users. However there is also some overlap between some and this is where it rumbles in the ecosystem.

Check out the interactive map, you can click on the names for in-depth info about each service. Feel free to order the poster-sized infographic to hang in your office and teach others about Twitter, or download the image map for your blog. Via Flowtown.

Map by Brian Solis and JESS3 / A visual depiction of the Twitter ecosystem, the Twitterverse, to help you learn more about all the tools available. Click the image for the interactive version.

Read More

Getting the tweets out on time, actually at the right time, is very easy since the invention of Timely the on time tweet tool discussed earlier in ‘Social Networking on Time‘. Now the tool has been refreshed.

Timely allows to schedule a whole list of twitter messages and sends them out at the best time optimizing reader outreach. Based on the past 200 tweets a timeframe for best outreach is calculated and following tweets are sent out at exactly the best time.

The tool developed by the flowtown team just got better, with a major update released today. ‘Timely Gets An Activity Stream‘ with stats that are actually transparent and reliable. It is still the basic number, but there is now a drop down menue showing the actual retweets. Each tweet is listed chronologically just like in the Twitter stream. This streamlines the task of finding out who retweeted and in which context. No need to run a search through Twitter, Timely delivers it straight to the dashboard.

Image by urbanTick taken from Timely / urbanTick on Timely with the update listing function of retweets.

Further, it is possible to take it a step further and replay directly to each retweet. It offers basic function of an @tweet. This means thanks and ad-dons can be sent from the same platform. With this the information delivery and management goes in one and the from the ground up rebuilt Performance service gives every ambitious promoter peace of mind out of the box.

As Jason Keath from socialFresh points out: Timely has been open to the public since February, and already needs to expand the capability of their service to account for increased use. The service currently has over 15,000 total accounts and continues to grow.

Image by urbanTick taken from Timely / Timely now allows to directly replay to Twitter users who retweeted timed tweets served through Timely.

Read More

Browsing the web all day long means coming across great stuff and additional branches and topics to be explored. As it is with wikipedia with the linkages you could spend days just clicking from one key word to another literally surfing on a wave of ephemeral interests.

As it is with most things that are fun and exciting, you haven’t got enough time to enjoy them just now or at all. To be on the safe side just save them for later to come back to it. However, bookmark lists ten to get long and complicated and in most cases, as they grow, change topics or should be split into more details categories.

The new Pearltrees Beta 0.8.1 offers an interesting visual platform for the organisation of all sorts of bookmarks. It is basically the networking approach of organising content. But it is clever enough to include the social aspect of it. Maybe it is the next generation of Diggs, Delicious and Stumbles meeting twitter and facebook sort of thing.

Image taken from infostetics / Snaphot of the pearltrees interface with a little tree, pearls and the preview window.

Each weblink is a pearl on your tree, you are the gardener growing the tree. Branches can be replaces, divided or reordered. All very intuitively graphically on this one plain. New content is created via the toolbar in your browser, directly via twitter or typed on the plain. Quite flexible actually. Imediately you think an importing feature would be great. Well there is one! your delicious log can be directly imported. This means you can export your bookmarks to delicious, create an account if you haven’t got one to get all your bookmarks straight away into it as large trees.

The content of each pearl is available as preview on the left hand side and a click brings the page up, in a pearltrees frame to jump back any time.

The social networking bit is automatic and straight forward, who ever link the same content is related in the network. So a relationship defined by content or likes. Clicking on the little pearl sitting on the side of the original pearl brings up everybody else who likes this very same content.

The networking is extended by the option to create groups or teams and work on pearl trees together. Collaboration and project stuff made simple very neat.

Its really the move away from the list that is so promising. Very much like the prezi is the move away from the slide with its defined size and shape, this tool allows for a more visual and interactive organisation of bookmarks and links. It is still in development and some of the graphics could be streamlined, but its definitely worth starting to integrate this tool into the online workflow.

Read More

Visualising virtual activity location based and linking it visually to the urban locations it takes place is one of the ideas of New City Landscape (NCL). Using the twitter feed the location based tweets are aggregated and the density is mapped as a virtual landscape. This landscape’s features are named after the corresponding real world places, creating a sense of place and orientation.

However, so far the NCL maps have been static and in retrospect, representing a week worth of data about the specific urban area they portrait.

Around the same time Christian Marc Schmidt has developed a similar approach focusing on Manhattan, but visualising in real time twitter and flickr activity. The density landscape here is mapped using the aerial photos morphing it over rising and falling peaks. He takes the aspect of real time into account and focuses the visualisation on what is happening just now.

Image taken from Invisible City / Aerial view of a topic path with the earliest record selected.

The project has now developed in to a standalone desktop version that can be played around with locally. It connects to twitter and flickr loading the most recent activity of the past 24 hours. The applet is Java based and runs on Mac and Windows.

The landscape is based on the activity, each message or photo is shown as a white dot. Hovering over dots reveals the message and details, plus draws links to previous or following messages. These paths are generated from topics listed on te right hand side of the window. If a node belongs to a topic path, navigation will also appear at the top of the view with previous/next buttons to move chronologically along the path.

Schmidt explains: “Invisible Cities, a project named after the novel by Italo Calvino, aims to provide insight into the composition of urban social networks by surfacing data from online services, geographically mapped, in order to identify the areas of high and low activity. The visualization thus reveals emerging social themes, presented in a three-dimensional spatial environment. It displays individual Twitter status updates and Flickr photos on a geo-registered surface reflecting aggregate activity over time. As data records are accrued, the surface transforms into hills and valleys representing areas with high and low densities of data. Data points are connected in chronological order by paths representing themes extracted from status updates and image metadata.”

Image taken from Invisible City / A selected photo as part of a two-node topic path.

You can download the Java App for MacOSx or Windows. A detailed description pdf can be read HERE and the project website with more screnshots and clips can be found HERE.

Read More

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.

Read More

Augmented Reality (AR) is the buzz word of the year. At least it is in connection with the latest mobile gadgets. Everything these days is AR, even though most apps are not strictly AR. What is on the market at the moment is simply information overlaid on the camera viewfinder screen. There is no image recognition involved yet.
All it is information pulled from a server based on the location and displayed according to the orientation of the device. The device makes use of positioning system, either GPS or assisted through mobile phone antennas or wire less hotspot and it uses the ‘compass’ to define the devices orientation.
So what are currently the best applications available for the iPhone? As hinted in the first line, currently every service starts offering a AR visualisation. For example Brightkite, we featured on the blog HERE, was one of the first to make use of the Layar platform, but also others like urbanSpoon jumped on the train. Very early on applications for Wiki content were developed.

The first one to await Apples approval to go on the itunes store was Acrossair’s nearest tube. It was announce in August 2009, but then delayed as they had to wait for the iPhone 3.1 software update and was finally released in mid September 2009.
And I have to say for me this is still one of the best apps. It is the cleanest app you can probably find, Acrossair as a logo or brand can nowhere be found and it is all about the information. No clutter and no distraction, this is simply five star – download “>HERE, costs £1.19.

Image by urbanTick – iPhone screenshot Nearest Tube by Acrossair

Wikitude World Browser is the app for the Wikipedia content. It is similarly clean as the Nearest Tube app, but lakes the clarity by the POI’s (point of interests icons). They are tiny and all exactly the same. Four stars – the app is free, download HERE.

Image by urbanTick – iPhone screenshot Wikitude

iLiving by metaio, looks like a interesting app. I have not yet tried it, but it seems as if this one almost allows for the most interactive and truly AR joy. You can actually place furniture in the viewfinder. Through this you can find out if the new sofa fits with the curtains your mother in law has brought round yesterday night as a gift. It looks promising in terms of the narrative, but the 3D elements are horrible… However this could be an other five star – download HERE, costs £1.79.

Image by metaio – screenshots before and after as well as the object library

Peak.Ar by Salzburg Research is the outdoor and mountain specialist application. It give you the name and the height of the mountain and hills around you. Simple but nice as an app. It is free, but the design could be a bit sleeker. Four stars – download HERE for free.


Images by urbanTick – screenshot Peak.ar, you can see I live somewhere around Primrose Hill

AugMeasure by2020, is a AR app that helps you measure something when you don’t have a meter handy. As useful as the iHandy Level is suppose but why not. An app that actually has some hands on approach to it… it is free, four stars – download HERE for free.

Images by urbanTick – screenshot AugMeasure

TweetThru is a great twitter app that makes use of the AR API of the iPhone. However, it is not strictly AR in the sense of the rest of the application as it does actually not overlay information, but simply the text you type. Why would you want this, you might ask. Well it is really handy to see where you are going, if you are one of these people like me, constantly typing on the iPhone while walking on the street. Again five stars – download HERE for free.

Image by urbanTick – iPhone screenshot TweetThru

Even though it is not AR it is as much AR as the rest of the apps. This highlight the fact that actually it is all a bit of hype with little content. There is a whole range of games emerging too. But it is early days and you only get ridiculous stuff like first person shooter to gun down the person you see in the viewfinder (I am certain the developer has never thought of school shootings and stuff) or you can throw tomatoes, eggs or even spit at objects and people you can see through the camera lens.
The technology is great and it is impressive the first time you see it, but so far I haven’t found it useful. We are all still waiting for this cracking application to come along…
For a first run, you can have a go your self at information service using AR. There are a number of services and platforms emerging. Layar is one of them featured on the blog earlier HERE. But also Wikitude is offering or the Junaio platform.

Read More