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Following up from the New City Landscape maps, where we mapped tweet densities in urban areas around the world, we have now started to look into the socia network aspects of this data set. As a complementary graph to the map the network illustrates how the twitter users are connected through their activities and usage of the platform.

Graph by urbanTick / The London NCL Social Network graph of twitter users. The dataset is defined as geolocated tweets collected over the period of one week in the urban area of London set to a 30 km radius. Click on the image for a larger version on flickr or see the interactive zoomable version HERE.

The network is built from nodes and edges, were the nodes are the twitter users active during the time period of message collection back in May 2010. The edges visualise the connections between these users. From the messages sent connections are established based on activity and interaction. In reality these are the @ messages that are directed at one or more particular user. The second indicator of a connection are the RT messages, the message that have been retweeted by followers of the creator of the initial message.

Graph by urbanTick / Zoom of the London NCL Social Network graph of twitter users. The dataset is defined as geolocated tweets collected over the period of one week in the urban area of London set to a 30 km radius. Click for a larger version on flickr.

Using these two methods the network graph is established as a directed network, meaning that the connection between the nodes has a direction since a message originates from a sender being delivered to a receiver.

The resulting network is built from a total of 17618 nodes and 26445 edges. In the case of this London twitter network not everyone is connected to everyone and about 5400 subnetworks were identified. Furthermore via the colouring the modularity of the network is visualised. Each subgroups has a unique colour shading indicating groups with tighter connections.

London NCL Social Network

Graph by urbanTick using the GMap Image Cutter / London NCL Socia Network – Use the Google Maps style zoom function in the top left corner to zoom into the map and explore it in detail. Click HERE for a full screen view.

The sizing of the nodes is derived from the number of connections this particular node has for both incoming and outgoing edges.

For the comparison of the networks we are currently working on graphing out the whole range of NCL across the world in order to establish a analysis parameter set. We’ll keep you posted about the progress here.

To compare it, the geolocated London New City Landscape map. It is important to keep in mind that the graphs are not spatially representative as compared to the NCL maps which are properly geolocated.

Image by urbanTick using the GMap Image Cutter / London New City Landscape Click HERE for a full screen view.

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It is one more year since the last summary of personal tracking was posted. This year it is a consistant 405 tracking record as compared to a mixed device record the previous year. This matters in so far as the 405 performs very well and the data processing job is a simpler for the cleaning part. The down side is that it is slower for the processing part since there are very detailed records with loads of points. THe previeous year can be found at Plymouth365 and oneYearLND_2009.

oneYearLND09-10 London
Image by urbanTick / London overview of the 2010 GPS track record. A one year drawing of movement on a daily basis, recording all activities and trips. For a large version click HERE.

The map also shows the previous year in green, since there is a striking similarity and in order to highlight the differences this seemed to make sense. The similarity goes as far as the two records being more or less the same. I expected a similarity, but not to this extend.

There are differences only on a very small scale. There is one major change in routine that dominates the differences between the two years. My son has started school and the trips to the nursery near the work place have been substituted by trip to drop of or pick him up at the school near our home. This changes the spatial practice and with it the pattern. However it is not as obvious since the directions of movement stayed more or less the same.

Image by urbanTick / London Bloomsbury zoom of the 2010 GPS track record. A one year drawing of movement on a daily basis, recording all activities and trips.

To update the zoom in to the leisure area around Regents Park here is an updated version showing the different visits to ZSL. In 2010 there appear definitely a shift in interest focus. Never been to Australia this year.

As pointed out in last years post, the capacity to recall events using the lines as memory triggers works very well. I can basically over the whole year piece together my steps. Being this for example in the bottom left corner some of these trips to the Natural History Museum, Royal Geographical Society or in Hyde Part visits the Diana Memorial.

Image by urbanTick / London Regents Park zoom of the 2010 GPS track record. A one year drawing of movement on a daily basis, recording all activities and trips.

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A guest post by Martin Gittins from Kosmograd newsfeed, contributing to the second Ecological Urbanism discussion hosted by Annick Labeca, Taneha Bacchin, DPR-Barcelona and urbanTick.

For a while, I was contemplating buying the Last House in London. It appealed to me, the idea of living at the very edge of the city, as far north as it is possible to go, on the outskirts of High Barnet. But on closer inspection it turns out that it isn’t the edge of the city at all. Next to the house is a cemetery, then a paddock and stable, and a little further on 2 golf courses. Then there are a couple of fields before you get to a pub, then the estate of Dyrham Park Country Club (one of a string of large country estates encircling London), then a gypsy encampment, the M25 motorway, and the curious environs of South Mimms, a village consumed by a motorway service station.

Image taken from Google Maps / The area to the north of High Barnet appears to be lush, verdant, sward, but on closer inspection reveals a hidden urbanism.

The city has a fractal edge, bleeding urbanity into the countryside, which conversely seeps tendrils of nature into the city. Yet our innate desire to see town and country as two separate realms means that at the edge of cities this landscape becomes a strange hinterland, a secretive fictive space. Development here is almost always ad-hoc, piecemeal, a gradual process of urbanisation – a garden centre or golf course as a vanguard – with the occasional flurry of infrastructural activity, usually a new road, a moment of intensification, seeding new developments.

Interwar planning dogma in the UK threw up the Green Belt (London and Home Counties) Act 1938, designed to stop the untramelled growth of London into the country, to protect against urban sprawl. It arose after vigorous campaigning from the Council for the Preservation of Rural England, and carried with it the overtones of protecting the wealthy country folk, the landed gentry, from the great unwashed lumpenproletariat. (For a town planner Abercrombie was a secret ruralophile). The Green Belt became a politicised landscape, the buffer zone between the haves and have nots. It was a concept that was soon adopted by other metropolitan areas of Britain and then exported to the world.

Image on the left taken from Building Land UK, image on the right taken from treehugger / The Green Belt was exported from London to the rest of the world.

Iain Sinclair, in the wonderful London Orbital, wrote:
“By the time Londoners had seen their city bombed, riverside industries destroyed, they were ready to think of renewal, deportation to the end of the railway line, the jagged beginnings of farmland. Patrick Abercrombie’s Greater London Plan 1944 (published in 1945) still worked through concentric bands: the Inner Urban Ring (overworked, fire-damaged), the Suburban Ring (to which inner-city casualties would migrate), the green belt (ten miles beyond the edge of London), and the Outer Country Ring, which would extend to the boundary of the regional plan.

Visionary maps, in muted Ben Nicholson colours, were produced. Lovely fold out abstractions. Proposals in soft grey, pale green, blue-silver river systems. But as always with the blood circuit of ring roads, the pastoral memory ring at the edge of things, at the limits of our toleration of noise and speed and grime. There must, said William Bull (in 1901) be ‘a green girdle around London’s Sphere … a circle of green sward and trees which would remain permanently inviolate'”.

Image taken from CBRD website / Abercrombie’s 1944 Greater London Plan. View larger image HERE.

Post WW2, with London and other urban areas ravaged by bomb damage and with a large displacement of people, a new vision of London arose. It was led by Abercrombie’s 1943 County of London Plan, followed in 1944 by the Greater London Plan, and led to the New Towns Act of 1946, with its plan for the extensive enlargement or creation of a ring of towns around London within the Green Belt. Stevenage, Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield were the three designated towns in Hertfordshire.

Image taken from CBRD website / Part of Abercrombie’s County Plan of 1943. View larger image HERE.

Image taken from BBC / Welwyn Garden City was founded by Ebenezer Howard but expanded as part of the New Towns Act.

New Towns, heavily inspired by Ebenezer Howard’s Garden City Movement, were conceived as places that would not be allowed to grow too big, and maintain a healthy relationship between Town and Country. Certainly Howard thought that Garden Cities could be self-sustaining communities, solipsistic enclaves, with just enough people to support just the right amount of amenities, light industry and offices, enough to provide employment for all the inhabitants. It’s a concept that was also mooted for the flawed ecotowns boondoggle of the late 2000s in the UK. But, inevitably, any town is plugged into an infrastructure larger than itself, and so there is a network of transport links, water and sewage systems, power lines and telecoms links that has grown up to meet the needs of these towns.

Image taken from CBRD website / 3 types of arterial road junctions. Abercrombie’s Greater London Plan included proposed layouts of road junctions, but gave little thought to what might happen around these junctions, outside of the city.

This infrastructural life support system criss-crosses the green-belt, connecting the towns of Hertfordshire together and plugging them into the beating heart of London. Physically it also carves the landscape into a number of small, leftover spaces. It is into these leftover space that secret urbanism seeps in, the parasitic typologies of golf courses, garden centres, caravan parks, and those other things that spring up along transport interchanges, such as business parks, retail parks, travel hotels, distribution warehouses. The Green Belt seems in places to be little more than one or two fields that keep a satellite town, Bushey, Potters Bar, Broxbourne, from merging into the Great Wen of London.

Image taken from Geograph.org.uk / The Green Belt, as it is today. Retail park, London Colney.

‘Abolish the green belt’ is an provocative clarion call that periodically raises the hackles of the folks in the Shires, the Home Counties home guard, whether it comes from design figureheads like Kevin McCloud or anti-establishment tyros like James Heartfield. The problem with a Green Belt is that it does nothing to really save the countryside from the encroachment of the city, and instead of presenting sprawl, actually encourages it. But rather than simply abolish it, we need to recognise it for what it has become, and design within it.

The green belt has become not a verdant sward of pastoral beauty but an interzone of pure infrastructure. Instead of resisting the growth of the city, and pretending the resulting drosscape doesn’t exist, a new form of continuous urbanism is required, one that can operate at a variety of densities, with points of stim and dross, to use Lars Lerup’s terms, more consciously defined.

Sinclair, Iain, (2002) “London Orbital”, London: Granta Publications
Lerup, Lars (1995) “Stim & Dross: Rethinking the Metropolis.” Assemblage 25, Cambridge & London. MIT Press


Martin Gittins writes the Kosmograd newsfeed, a blog largely about architecture, disurbanism and urban identity, viewed primarily through the lens of Soviet Constructivism. Trained as an architect, but now working in the field of interactive design, Martin lives in north London with Ms Kosmograd, 3 children and a collection of bicycles. Martin spends most weekends cycling around Hertfordshire considering the ‘problem’ of London. Martin also writes occasionally at SuperSpatial.

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In the serie on cycle disruption here is a new one on the latest tube strike in London today. It is the first morning into the tube strike and chaos is rolling into the city. Some earlier posts on the subject in the past can be found HERE (following the disruption), HERE (disruption second take) and HERE (every year). There are only very few tube line actually running a service, Northern Line being one of them. However this might not mean that you can get a train on this line and it aso does not mean you will arrive at the desired destination as many stations along the line are closed.

For the latest updates on the open stations please see the official TFL website.

Image taken from the BBC London Tube Strike Map – September 2010 / a platform for crowd sourced real time travel information.

But even there you might not get the most up to date information. If you put more trust in real time crown sourced information you can go to the BBC test mashup-crownsource-tubestrike-map and click around for infos on our local area.

There are a number of ways you can participate: a) Sending an email to londontravel@bbc.co.uk, b) Sending a text to 81333 starting your message LONDON STRIKE, c) Sending a tweet with the hashtag #tubestrike, d) Uploading an audioboo with the hashtag #tubestrike or directly to the BBC London stream, e) Filling in the form on the site

new TWTR.Widget({
version: 2,
type: ‘search’,
search: ‘#tubestrike’,
interval: 6000,
title: ‘Tube Strike September 2010’,
subject: ‘Live update’,
width: 580,
height: 460,
theme: {
shell: {
background: ‘#8ec1da’,
color: ‘#ffffff’
tweets: {
background: ‘#ffffff’,
color: ‘#444444’,
links: ‘#1985b5’
features: {
scrollbar: false,
loop: true,
live: true,
hashtags: true,
timestamp: true,
avatars: true,
toptweets: true,
behavior: ‘default’

The page is set up to log incidents over a longer period of time. The timeline is set for a whole year. There is even a play back feature integrated that wil replay the information logged and can potentially visualised the ebb and flows of the system. Currently there seems only data available from today so no point replaying it, but in a month time this might be very interesting already. The project could grow into a valuable alternative to the official information.

Reports are logged on the site and can be accessed. In this sense everyone has access to the source data and can verify the accuracy of the information. This a note in the light of the recent discussion about the validation of the crowd sourced data at the CRESC conference in Oxford. Making the data available is one way of dealing with this issue. However if the amount of data grow too large, and hopefully it will in the case of crowd sourced real time transport information, it becomes impossible for individuals to crawl through the mountain of snippets and verify individual pieces.

Image taken from the Oliver O’Brien’s cycle hire visualisation / London Cycle Hire Dock Status Map taken on Tuesday 07th September 2010 09h30.

Since there is little progress to be made today on public trasport the London Cycle Hire scheme would be a perfect alternative. A quick look at the viualisation map over at Oiver O’Brien’s page draws a rather pessimistic picture. The scheme has sort of come to a lock down too with all bikes being parked in the centre and empty station in zone two. People who have planned ahead managed to grab one this morning and traveled in by bike. There will be the big run this afternoon to catch one of the central bikes to ride it back out again to avoid the long queues at the crowded bus stop.

On twitter the tube strike is a big topic with alo Steven Fry taking to it linking this 2006 clip on frustrated commuters and the perceived incapability of TFL to meet their needs. This is linked without comment, this discussion is too complicated and personal. I believe, from past experience, the staff working today are doing quite a good job given the extend of the shutdown.

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For only three weeks the London Bike Hire Scheme is in operation and so far it seem to be rather well received. The 6,000 Barclays (sponsor) bikes, which have arrived in London are parked at 315 stations dotted across the centre of the capital. An initial map is available through the TfL website.

It give basic infos such as no available bikes and no of available parking spaces. The scheme is based on the concept that people can hire a bike at one station, ride it through the city and park it at another. This means the bikes are in a constant rotation around the city. In this sense both these infors, no of bikes and no of parking spaces, are essential for the functioning and comfort of usage.

As a data source this has obviously inspired data and mapping enthusiasts from different London universities to, on one hand improve on the visualisation and on the other to start analysing the data.
One of the mashup maps is developed by Oliver O’Brien from CASA. The visualisation was already covered by the Londonist, the Telegraph and other blogs such as spatialanalysis.

Image taken from suprageography / Mashup map showing the status of each London Bike Scheme docking station. Yellow border line indicates a station as full, clicking on a dot reviles the bottom left usage graph over the past couple of hours.

It shows the parking locations as dots indicating with a red-blue colour scheme the status of the docking station. In real time one can follow how hundreds of bikes migrate through the city. This is obviously tightly linked to the routines of the bike users and as O’Brien note on the blog seems to be mainly determined by the working pattern. This suggests that a lot of working people in the city are actually switching and using the scheme already for everyday use.

In a graph based visualisation Aidan Slingsby form City University in London is working with the same data, focusing on the trend of usage per station. Each graph compares the current to the previous day.

Image taken from gicentre / Graph visualisation showing the status of each London Bike Scheme docking station. The list is ordered by distance from, as input in the right column.

In a timeLapse copmiled from screenshots O’Brien and Chechire show the dinamics in a 24 hour day of the London Bike Hire Scheme. Quite nice how the dots change the colour over time and viualise the daily migration.


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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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It has taken a while but now the first track records coming out of the UrbanDiary project are ported and can be visualised with processing. This is really an awesome tool to work with, however there is still a lot of hiccups and stuff to learn for me. So with a lot of trial and error I managed to get this one going. It is based on some stuff Steven M. Ottens has put together for his visualisations of GPS tracks HERE.
For this lot of data, it replay the recordings of seven participants of the UrbanDiary project. THese were recorded between April and August 2009. The setting is Greater London and you can most probably start guessing a few location that get highlighted as the drawing progresses. Some of the denser locations are;
However there are still some problems with the time component of the data as well as the transparency.
From a processing point of view it makes use of the tomc GPX library.

Music Ooze by Klez on mp3unsigned.com

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The Twitter data is still top of the list and we are experimenting currently with different models in Google Earth.
Here we have a version using the 3D London Model developed here at CASA.
In the flight through you can now see where the tweets actually were sent and in what context. It covers currently central London using approximately 10,000 tweets only, because we are experiencing performance problems. We are working on it and hopefully will have a solution shortly.

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The recent Twitter data for one London Weekend has been re-rendered as a clip by DigitalUrban. Earlier version can be found HERE.
It is the same data with 60,000 geo referenced Tweets in London over a weekend from Friday evening to Monday morning. This visual is now also using the new navigation tool, the 3D Connextion ‘Space Navigator’, a pretty awesome tool for navigation in Google Earth for example.

CLip by DigitalUrban and Music – ‘Social Awkwardness‘ by Xanthe over on unsigned bands.

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Together with the tweet-O-meter project run at CASA as part of the NeISS research project we have collected location tagged tweets around London (M25). As described in an earlier post on this HERE, the idea is to capture the urban narrative. The current data covers a whole weekend from Friday evening to Monday morning and the set holds some 380’000 individual tweets. However this brakes down to 60’000 truly geo referenced tweets, by 5’500 individual users. The thing is, that these are only the mobile tweets and they are captured only if the locations sharing is activated in the twitter profile. Still this makes an average of 10.6 tweets per mobile user over the weekend. Overall we have 39’222 individual users witch makes some 9.7 tweets. So the mobile users seem to message slightly more, but not significantly as one could maybe expect.
In terms of density per location as one could expect the focus is in the centre. There are local hotspots as the weekend progresses, such as Kings Cross and Old Street. But then there seems to be a accumulation of density along the transport lines into and out of the centre.
To visualise the temporality of the data tweets are in the below clip output as a message cloud rising and hovering above London. It is a simple time-space aquarium were the time is plotted as the hight information. The later in the weekend the tweet is sent the higher above the city it floats. As the density develops the low times can be clearly spotted, when it thins out the lines and London sleeps. The animation is rendered in Google Earth, with the KML file brought in through a VB script from Excel. Once set up this is quite a flexible combination. However, the KML file can get quite big, since there is a lot of information contained with all the messages.

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