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— urbantick

April 2010 Monthly archive

Mapping has become a big thing in our everyday lives. This goes hand in hand with stepped up efforts to collect but also release data. It has become a data war with big web players such as Google, but also traditional produces such as OS or the sensus data.
The bottleneck currently is more the traditional software tools to actually work with the data and produce meaningful output.
So it is great to get news about a new effort to open this up and make it more accessible and intuitive. Here we go INDIEMAPPER!
It is an online flash based mapping tool developed over the past two years by Axis Maps.

Image taken from Indiemapper / A map of Hurricane Gustav showing its path and wind speed, 25 August to 2 September 2008. The reference map data, including bathymetry, is from Natural Earth. The hurricane data is from Geocommons Finder.

It offers all you you can think of: Unlimited online storage, Secure data handling and storage, No software to install, Mac, PC or Linux ,Constant secure backups, Built-in collaboration tools, Premium customer support. A mapping tool to go really, work from were ever you have access, don’t worry about the data. All for $30 a month, you can get a 30 day free trial to test it. For academic use there is a reduced pricing.

Indiemapper also integrates with independent cartographic tools on the web like ColorBrewer, TypeBrewer and Natural Earth.

“Indiemapper is a Web-based app that loads geo-data, allows custom control over mapmaking, and exports static maps in vector and raster formats.
We’ve balanced indiemapper so you have the tools you need to make beautiful thematic maps without overwhelming you with hundreds of obscure GIS functions. Nothing is more than 2 clicks away. This keeps mapmaking simple, fast, and fun.” (Indimapper)
Find a detailed introduction on the Cartogrammer Blog or of course infos directly on the Indimapper page, this also features a blog with updates, also see the review on FlowingData.

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I just love the black and white timeLapse stuff. This one is some ‘Mixed Bag’ with everything from architecture to nature – Yes the cricket is my favourite ,this sequence is very beautiful – with some tilt shift too.
SHot with Nikon D90 I Nikkor 24-85/2.8-4.0 I Nikkor 80-200/2.8 I Tokina 12-24/4.0 by Ben.

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Walking the city in your shoe is one thing, but walking the internet in your shoe is quite another. So far a few key strokes and mainly the one finger to scroll and click the mouse were the tools you used to navigate the internet. This is so 2000 and has completely changed now. Adidas shows how you can navigate with your sneakers!
They have launched anew edition, the AR GAME PACK SNEAKERS and it is integrated with a new platform Adidas Neighbourhood.
The whole thing is based on AR augmented reality technology and the software will read the tag printed on the tongue of the shoe.

Image taken from Adidas / Print file to manufacture your own tag for a game teaser. Pint and fold to use as a mokup in case you havent bought the shoe yet.

So of you go running trough the Adidas Neighbourhood and chatting up the girls on the street cornet, playing the streets in the hood and hang out with the buddies. Down the steps out the door, the city is all yours!
Dream on and if you like this idea don’t read any further. Well, actually it si not quite like this. You wil find yourself squat in ten centimeter of your screen in your half dark empty room trying to line up the tag with the webcam and SHOOT star ship troopers!
Oh my goodness how boring is that. Its just another one person shooter. Instead of the mouse, the joystick you wiggle your shoe – with your hands. I have to confess I never was a big fan of one person shooters. Played them occasionally, but haven’t for a long time. And the combination of shooting and sneakers is no really not the first one I construct, but here we are.
So much exiting stuff coud be done, at least some GTA style of interaction?
Never mind, this is great and I love it anyway. Someone will come up with a better scenarion. The combination of commercial goods and virtual content has so much potential for exciting application that this is definitely a great first move. The internet of things comes to your feet. This is definitely what we are going to see a lot in the coming month.
There was already quite a some stuff last year, with BMW’s augmented comercial for the new Z4 for example or the Tales of Things project, Lego Digital Box and Adidas.
Both LEGO and Adidas are actually based on the metaio platform: “As a pioneer in the area of augmented reality (AR) technology, metaio develops software products for visual interactive solutions seamlessly combining real and virtual elements. Based on the software platform Unifeye, 3D-animations can be integrated seamlessly into the real-user`s environment.” They have also developed the junaio software an AR platform for mobile devices with a developer API, very similar to layar.
So it is a war out there and a lot of companies are battling for a few users in a emerging field. In this sense first person shooter is not so much out of place.

Image taken from hypebeat / the guys out in the hood, this is street life and this wold be what we want to see. The geolocation game Urban Defender in this sense was a lot more inspiring, but the two seem very much related and one almost want to merge them. It just needs a bit more action than just shooting.

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Tales of Things, the new service to link digital memories and physical objects has gone online recently. It was covered widely in the media, from the New Scientist, to WIRED and the Guardian, as well as of course on urbanTick HERE and HERE. The internet of things has come to life. It is now in your pocket on your iPhone and ready to interact 24/7. How and why this is happening now with this new project out of the ToTeM labs is the question put at the initiators. In this interview Ralph Barthel, from the developer team behind the service, explains the context and the details of this project.

urbanTick: Tell us something about your background and your role in the project and of course tell us about your most precious tale!

Ralph: My research and work background is in the areas of social computing, design research and new media system development with specific applications for learning and knowledge building. In this first phase of the project I was responsible for the development of the backend web application of the Tales of Things service and some aspects of the Interaction Design. In the next few months I will start to explore additional interactions and novel user interfaces to engage with the Tales of Things service.
My first tale on Tales of Things was about an old audio tape recorder (Grundig TK 23) that my grandfather owned. It was built in 1963 and is extremely heavy by today’s standards. Interacting with this thing brings back joyful memories from my youth.

Grundig TK 23 Advertisement
Image taken from TalesOfTings website / The Grundig TK23 documentation from the 60’s. Find out more about the Grandfather tale on TalesOfThings.

urbanTick: Can you describe the development process of this project.

Ralph: In October 2009 Andy Hudson-Smith, the project leader here at CASA, brought Martin De Jode, Benjamin Blundell and me together to work on the TOTeM (Tales of Things and Electronic Memory) project. The TOTeM project is funded through a £1.39 million research grant from the EPSRC to explore social memory in the emerging culture of the Internet of Things. Five universities in the UK (Edinburgh College of Art, University College London, Brunel University, The University of Salford and The University of Dundee) are collaborating in this project. The scope of our initial work up to the launch in April 2010 was very much predetermined and detailed by the TOTeM project plan. Consequently we soon started building and evaluating prototypes of our web application and mobile clients with the aim to refine them through formative evaluation with project partners, advisors and selected user groups. In the next phase of this project the Tales of Things service will enable us and our partner institutions to study the relationship of personal memories and old objects when mediated through tagging technologies.

urbanTick: Technical difficulties and special solutions?

Ralph: From a technical point of view the main difficulty in an applied project like TOTeM is to leverage the capabilities of broadly available tagging and ubiquitous computing technologies while making them accessible for a large number of people. In this context it is important to go beyond the step of providing a proof of concept (which is the purpose of many research projects) but to create a sustainable and maintainable technological infrastructure for years to come. Within the constraints of a research project with a small technical core team it can be difficult to balance innovation with providing basic support services. This tension cannot readily be resolved and in the next few months also depending on the uptake of the service we will see how this will develop.

urbanTick: In this sense Tales of Things is not a pure research project. What are the aims and who are you working together for the development and for the application (service)?

Ralph: The core development team does currently all development work and hosting in-house. Our project partners in Salford are exploring the possibilities of commercialisation. We are planning to collaborate with libraries and museums and to be present Tales of Things technologies at events and festivals. TOTeM will for example be in May in Manchester at the Future Evertything Festival.

urbanTick: Describe the basic steps to take part in the tales of things project.

Ralph: To start people can go to www.talesofthings.com and browse around and have a look at some of the tales that have been already added. They can register on the site for a free account and can download the iPhone application that reads Tales of Things QR Codes and enables people to create new tales when they interact with a tagged object. After loging in to our web services people can create a new things. To do this they would typically provide some information about the thing such as description and title and a photo of the object if available. In the process of creating a thing they will also be asked to provide a first tale for the thing they are adding. People can then generate and print the QR Codes of their things and comment on other peoples tales of things. The website provides further map views that display where in the world the tales have been created.

urbanTick: The tale is refering to the memory someone has of a thing. As we all know these memories are variable and can be difficult to pin down. Can you describe the strategy you developed to can ephemeral thoughts, what does a tale consist of?

Ralph: A tale starts with a brief textual description and a title of the tale. References to any addressable media for example from services like YouTube, Flickr, Audioboo can be added to a tale. Currently files from the three mentioned services are displayed in an integrated media player interface. All other URL’s are linked as additional resources. Finally a geolocation can be added to a tale.

Image taken from TalesOfThings / The tale of the Banksy maid in Camden, long gone but still here.

urbanTick: The project has only launched two weeks back on the 17 of April. How was it received and how will you develop the platform in the coming weeks?

Ralph: It was receiving quiet a bit of media coverage for example in the Guardian Technology blog or BBC Radio 4. The media feedback was largely positive. There were also some critical voices that doubt that people will socialize around tagged objects. Obviously this is something that time will tell. The media coverage brought some attention to the project and many people visited the website and several hundred already signed up for user accounts.
At this stage we will closely follow how people engage with the Tales of Things service. At this point we are looking for different uses and the values and meaning that people assign to Tales of Things in several pilot studies with different communities. The results from this piloting stage will inform further development efforts. We also aim to support additional mobile platforms such as Android and to develop an API so that other services can connect to Tales of Things.

urbanTick: There are a number of specific terms frequently used to describe aspects of this project. Some are borrowed, some are newly defined and other are everyday words. Can you explain the “thing”, the “tale” and the “tag”?

Ralph: A thing refers to any object (e.g. industrial objects, tools, architecture) people would like to link an individual memory to. A tale is story of a personal memory that someone associates with this thing. A tale is told on the platform using different digital media (text, video, images, audio). Video, Image and Audio media can be taken from the web and users can create textual content through our web service. Consequently people can link any addressable digital media file in the creative storytelling process. The thing and the tale(s) are then linked via the tag. This is a unique identifier in the form of an QR Code. This tag is machine readable and can be attached to the thing. The Tales of Things service generates QR Codes for each thing automatically. We also have the option to use RFID identifiers to mark an object. This emerging technology is known for example from the Oystercards. We are curently developing an Tales of Things RFID reader to further explore the possibilities of this technology. For now any existing RFID tags can be linked to the things in our database.

urbanTick: The project could be classified as being another social networking site. Is it, and if so what is different, or how would you characterize it instead?

Ralph: In the concept of Tales of Things the physical interaction with tagged objects is important. People can only add new tales about things if they physically interact with an object through reading its tag. Certain permissions can only be shared and passed along through the interaction with the object which changes the configuration of the server. While people can view tales of things on our website they can only add new tales when interacting with the tags. Consequently the website, that has elements of social networking sites, is only a part of the entire service experience of Tales of Things. The project aims broader to explore implications of a service space in which enabled through ubiquitous forms of computing physical world and cyberspace are interlinked. The project is interdisciplinary so that the research inquiry includes aspects of Human-Computer Interaction, Art Practise, Anthropology and Commerce.

Image taken from talesofthings.com / The World of Things, map on the project site showing the location of the objects and tales. It is also possible to track objects as it loggs each location it was scanned.

urbanTick: Potential of the internet of things?

Ralph: There is a certain anticipation that the Internet of Things will eventually lead to a technical and cultural shift as societies orient towards ubiquitous forms of computing. The development of technology and practises are often co-evolving so that it is important to understand possible implications. Internet Of Things applications can be complex services that evolve in space and time. The experience of using an Internet of Things service spans several user interfaces and the design space encompasses physical artifacts in the real world as well as conceptual artifacts. Personally I am interested in exploring human-computer interaction (HCI) in this design space as it poses specific methodological, ethical and philosophical challenges that need to be addressed when design IoT applications.

urbanTick: The Internet of Things is not new, why do you think it is emerging just now again?

Ralph: The idea of tagging of things and networked objects is by no means new. What has changed in recent years is that enabling technologies such as internet-enabled smartphones have become more affordable, usable and widespread. More and more people carry powerful small computational devices with them. This has led recently to a renaissance of Internet of Things applications used in a non-industrial context which can be witnessed by services like Foursquare or Pachube.

urbanTick: Critical mass for the internet of things to enter as a important player?

Ralph: Internet of Things applications are already important and wide-spread in many industries such a logistics. The TOTeM project is concerned with a different application of the Internet of Things outside industry practise. I can’t say what the critical mass for our project is. The critical mass is not necessarily the most important aspect of the project. It might very well be that the technologies that are developed as part of this project have the potential to add value to the social practises of specific communities. Such findings would be equally important. Tales of Things is after all a research project albeit an applied one.

urbanTick: What is your vision for this project?

Ralph: The partners in TOTeM are from five universities and have different backgrounds and might therefore have different visions. From a research perspective I am mainly interested in studying and exploring the Internet of Things as hybrid interaction design space and how IoT applications can be used for learning and knowledge building in everyday activities. From a long-term perspective it would be great to see a sustained engagement of many people with the Tales of Things service.

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For his Masters Thesis, Pedro Cruz has developed a visualisation of Lisbon traffic. It represents 24 hours in the capital of Portugal.
The data is derived from 1534 vehicles recorded over one month. All the records are then put into a 24 hour stack.
The colours represent the speed of the traffic with green being fast and orange/red being slower. The main roads to bring traffic through the city with a higher speed show up in green where as the local roads beautifully draw the tight network in between.

Image by Pedro Cruz / Vehicule traffic in Lisbon on a Friday, visulisation inspired by Aron Koblins’s flight patterns.

The visualisations are built in processing and Cruz experimented with a number of different typs, each emphasising a different aspect. He eventually settled for one that is combining the speed as well as the focus on the main road. I am not sure however what the trailings/diagonals, between points actually mean. Guess it could be were the tracking signal was ost, but that seems a bit too geometrical for this. On the other hand as an area it also doesn’t make too much sense. Cruz describes it as a visual thing.
Interestingly the speed on the local roads seems to be fairly constant, were as the speed on the main roads seems to slow down at night. This is surprising, since one would think that during the day there is more traffic and drivers would naturally slow down or even get slowed down by clunked up roads. on the other hand, at night there is more room on these roads and drivers would go faster and race around the city.
However this is great visualisation work. For more such visualisation visit Cruz’s blog or his vimeo channel.

Found via Datavisulisation.ch .

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“Giving is an act that improves the capacity of the other person.” we can learn in this recent Lars Mueller Publications with the fitting title ‘World of Giving‘. The book is by Jeffrey Inaba / C-Lab and Katharine Meagher and a collaboration between Columbia University GSAPP, the New Museum ad Lars Mueller Publishers. So in this sens a complicated construction, but one that could prove very productive and positive.

Image by urbanTick / A spread of the book showing maps and text.

Similar the topic, ‘Giving’ is not obviously the topic one would expect from such a prominent collaboration, but that probably has more to do with the cliches attributed to the term ‘giving’. But as the introduction of the book demonstrated the world of giving, in the sense of the book’s title, is extremely divers and opens a different alley to approach widely discussed topics. This mainly because it is such an everyday term and as “…it is so ubiquitous that it often goes unseen, … It is even said that it is most virtuos when it goes unnoticed.” Further on in the book the focus shifts more towards large scale ‘giving’ in the work of NGO’s, World Bank or ‘professional givers’ such as nuns (were in ‘Givingness is Next to Godliness’ the term ‘economy of spirituality’ is introduced). In a sense this moves away a bit from the everyday sense of the community ‘giving’ or even the ‘giving’ between friends, a Birthday present perhaps.
For this, although, the content is researched over three years and a number of global ‘giving’ networks are highlighted and discussed. The books has come out of an exhibition project by Jeffrey Inaba and C-Lab with the title ‘Donor Hall‘ at the New Museum New York. Yes, the project realised by Sanaa.
The book’s style at first remembers me very much of the book ‘Massive Change’ by Bruce Mau and Jennifer Leonard. Not exactly sure why this is. Maybe because of the direct and a little bit out of the blue introduction part at the beginning of the publication? By the way, would be interesting to look up a few of the people who contributed to the ‘Massive Change’ to see how it developed in the past six years.
In terms of design the publication is a pure as possible, very simple. The only element are different colours used for, not sure, chapters? The print is not in black, but in colour and this ranging from blue to orange. A very simple tools to structure and intensify the content. However, it’s got drawbacks. The colours change often between the chapters because of the production. Each booklet is printed with one colour and the chapters often dont fit the booklets. Nevertheless, I very much like the way colour is utilised here as a real element of the book.

Image by urbanTick / The colour code that runs through the book.

Don’t expect too much from the book, it is very much about what the title already sais ‘World of Giving”. It is about global players and interlinkages of givers and beneficiaries and this very much in a general sense, eg. I give you because I think you are in need.
The book does hint at a debate about these different and possible ways of communication but for my understanding does not go into depth at this point with the examples. On the other hand one can only ask for more because the product has already lit a fire of interest for the topic. And definitely the book’s focus on global mechanisms and strategies of giving at large with all sorts of different agendas, backgrounds or goals is revealing.
The books first chapter ‘Giving’ by Jeffrey Inaba can be read HERE on the C-Lab website. However you won’t get the nice differences in colour that there are in the book.

Inaba, J. & Meagher, K., 2010. The World of Giving, Lars Muller Publishers.

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The artist Rob Carter has put together a amazing visualisation of the growth of a urban metropolis. With a number of sheets and cutouts he takes us through the history. This is depicting the growth of Charlotte, North Carolina. He describes the projects on his page as: “Metropolis is a quirky and very abridged narrative history of the city of Charlotte, North Carolina. It uses stop motion video animation to physically manipulate aerial still images of the city (both real and fictional), creating a landscape in constant motion. Starting around 1755 on a Native American trading path, the viewer is presented with the building of the first house in Charlotte. From there we see the town develop through the historic dismissal of the English, to the prosperity made by the discovery of gold and the subsequent roots of the building of the multitude of churches that the city is famous for. Now the landscape turns white with cotton, and the modern city is ‘born’, with a more detailed re-creation of the economic boom and surprising architectural transformation that has occurred in the past 20 years.”
And actually it is not only talking about history of course there is a future scenario involved. Something we might wish to some cities, but not to others, references we all have. But if the vulcanos on small Island continue to burb ashes into the sky, especially if Eyjafjallajokull’s bigger brother decides it is time, not only the airspace over Europe, but some real cities might be covered in vulcano ashes knee deep. Note sure what the MET predicts regarding this, but they most likely have a model for it. After all they have to keep their £33m supercomputer busy.

Full version can be seen HERE, on the artist’s website. Found via brandavenue.

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Leaving the mark in the city is part of the identification process. The memory hels to orientate and shape a personal image of the city. The image is shape through the interaction and influenced by a whole palet of factors. On frequently used routes this memory is refreshed and sharpened where as it can fade in certain locations. The idea to mark a place as mine, yours or theirs can take a number of shape and we are all very familiar with the fences, walls and signs imposing restriction on everyday activities. However usually this becomes more obvious with temporary restrictions or abrupt changes. Groups and institutions can impose restrictions for other, but not only using fences. Gated communities are only one way to mark a wealthy area another solution is for example the house prices or not to provide public transport.
But also on a daily basis marks are left on the way. The graffiti or the tag on the wall, the carved name in the tube seat or the note on the toilet door. We can also leave the digital marks with Brightkite or now with Tales of Things leave a mark with a digital content.

Image taken from Urban Defender page / An earlier prototype and it’s content.

A game developed at the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste id picking up on this idea of marking the territory and let you play the city very much in the sense of social gangs. Urban Defender is a location aware ball game that lets you virtually mark urban elements by trowing the ball on the wall. The players get an audio and visual feedback from the ball on who ‘owns’ the feature and it can then be taken over.
“The ball itself is a prototype combination of an Arduino, Accelerometer, vibration motor, LEDs, XBee, batteries, and wire all packed inside of an industrial rubber gym ball.” (hack a day) The idea is that via the GPS the bal is aware of its location and processes the data accordingly.
A detailed documentation of the construction and programming process can be found on the Urban Defender page.
However much you know would liket to go out and play, it is still a prototype. A few problems the developer team still has to solve. One is definitely the GPS. Having worked with the technology a bit, one would need an extremely good receiver to geta clear signal, for not talking about on witch side of the road you are throwing the bal at the wall. The urban environment is tricky for the GPS and reflections on tal facades can easily give you a wrong position.
Nevertheless, this is a gaming concept that captures the imagination and I would ove to see it developed further. Game On!

Found via Pop up City.

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I will be giving a talk today at the London Metropolitan University at the MA Cities, Design and Urban Cultures lead by Ines Weizmann.
The topic is Time Space focusing on how the space is influenced by the cultural convention over time. If we define time as a cultural convention, in the sense of Thrift, I will ask the question of what the meaning of space can be. My Hypothesis for this talk is that both are constructed through the elements of time and place, in the sense of Tuan. An important role also plays the visualisation of the problem and I will use the well know examples by Hagerstrand and Debord to illustrate the problems surrounding the politics of temporal patterns. We will look at aspects of repetition and cycles regarding the question of contraints in the sense of Hagerstrand. His Time-Space Aquarium has widely been critisised for a number of points, and his definition of the contrains is one of them. In terms of politics of the temporal pattern I guess this aspect is crucia. Hagerstrand defines three types of constraint. Capability constraints refer to the limitations on human movement due to physical or biological factors. Thus, for example, a person cannot be in two places at one time. A person also cannot travel instantaneously from one location to another.
Coupling addresses the fact that in certain situations individuals are connected to one another, as for example in the morning rush hour.
Authority is a ‘domain’ or area that is controlled by a group or institution restricting access for other individuals or groups as in a hospital, a military base or a private club.
In an overall sense the concept of constraints refers to the possibility of an unconstrained existence. This view is fundamental to the urbanMachine, the setting were we are all users of the city as a service provided.
Aspects of creation and capacity to shape the immediate surrounding could become important in a new way to look at urban planning. In the context of current technologies and emerging applications, where temporal information, services and participation play a dominant role, I believe it would be important to rethink these static concepts.

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It is difficult to get fresh, organic, Kenyan roses these days in London. Beside the roses a number of other goods are getting rare or have already vanished from the shelfs in UK and other north European shops. It is not that customers would buy more of those goods, but it is impossible to import due to the closure of air traffic in large parts of Europe due to the vulcano Eyjafjallajokull spitting a massive cloud of ashes into the sky. Air traffic closure in northern Europe is now in its fifth day and symptoms are spreading beyond the airline industry. Affecting everyday life situation are most likely to be observed on the shelves of your supermarket. Special goods, such as freshly cut flowers as well as fruit and vegetable are among the first products to go missing, eg sell out. The UK currently imports about 40% of their goods. The bulk arrives by boat, but specific ones are brought in by air fright. Today across the EU official are positive to be able to terminate the complete air lockdown in the early morning. However latest headlines on the BBC (21:26 GMT, Monday, 19 April 2010 22:26 UK) quote the MET to observe new clouds drifting from Island towards the UK and mainland Europe.

Ash Cloud Animation for the UK Met Office: This shows the ash dispersion up to 20,000 feet across Europe from the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre.  Advisories are issued every 6 hours.

Andy Hooper, a geologist who did his postdoctoral research at the University of Iceland’s Institute of Earth Sciences, pointed out in a blog post for Reuters on Monday that “it remains a very real possibility that the volcano will continue to erupt on-and-off for months to come, as occurred during the last eruptive period” at Eyjafjallajokull in 1821-23. Mr. Hooper added, “Like 1821-1823, this current eruption is likely to remain small in terms of volume, but in an age of mass aviation, a relatively small amount of erupted ash is having huge consequences.”
This event with complete flight ban compares only to the post 9/11 events and is now said to have cost the airline industry already more in terms of losses. The news report a £130 million loss per day for the industry.
I guess very few people have actually thought that something like this would ever happen. It caught everyone by surprise and in time for the UK school term start, after the Easter Brake, a number of teachers and pupils will be missing from the classroom. One million Britons are said to be abroad by Sunday 18 April. The latest development and the some history in maps back to the 21 of March can be found HERE. Latest news on real time flights and open or closed airports can be found on FlightRadar24.

An animation from the Norwegian Meteorological Institute, showing the projected dispersion of volcanic ash from the eruption in Iceland. Blogger Jonathan Crowe explains that the ash cloud is represented by areas colored black; areas colored yellow show where ash has fallen to earth by itself; areas colored red show where ash has fallen as a result of precipitation. The color scheme may owe something to that of Norway’s most famous volcano-inspired painting, “The Scream.”

The optimisation in food delivery and storage in the concepts of large retailers now leaves them with difficulties to fill the shelves. It is not a massive cries for that people had to go panic raid the stores, but it is visible on a shopping trip to your local store. The Guardian writes “The UK imports about 90% of its fruit and 60% of its vegetables. While the vast majority come by sea – Fair Trade bananas from the West Indies, for instance, are regularly delivered to Southampton and Portsmouth – some of the more exotic inhabitants of the UK’s shops come by air.”
The Telegraph reports “The ban on air freight has meant that fruits such as figs, papaya and coconuts, fresh flowers and pharmaceutical products – all of which are delivered by air – are not reaching their destinations in the UK. Air freight accounts for 25pc of the UK’s international goods movements by value.” and that was on day two of the events.
The tight interlink between city activities and the provision of food tell its own urban tale. Not that we are relying on Kenyan roses, but even essential goods have to be delivered into the urban areas from storage or directly from its production place. This logistical puzzle is increasingly optimised and trimmed to run on a short term basis. No longer the supermarkets sit on hugh stock pies. Space for storage is a expensive and they all want to be flexible and not sit on unwanted products. The result is an increasingly real-time provision of goods. This is is obviously no difference to the consumers if everything goes according to plan. However in extraordinary circumstances this can rather quickly leave large urban areas without the essentials. Now it is the fact ta airplanes can’t fly earlier last year officials feared that the pig flue could leave the delivery chains understaffed and also leave supermarket shelves empty.

Image taken from frozenJuice

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