Thursday, 29 January 2009

Nokia Nseries ViNe - The Web Now Made by Hand.


To introduce and advertise the Nokia Nseries, the company sent out four bloggers equipped with N82’s, obviously, and tracks them on their website.


Image taken from the urbanista diaries website

They blog and upload pictures and all the information accessible on the website. Visitors can closely follow the four participants journeys. Their journeys is logged by the device internal GPS and accompanied by a mobile blog. There are also images and videos added. Examples from Jen in India

The project is called The Urbanista Diaries. When accessing it now the project seems to have come to an end. It must have taken place about a year ago (very late blogging). It appears to be technically based on the Nokia SportTracker application. A quick look at this application gives the impression of a no-so-much used offer. It should be online for quite some time now but in the London area there is only one publicly visible track log to find. Not much for an area of 8m with at least 40% Nokia market share.
But the diaries are interesting because built on the experience Nokia has later in 2008 finalized their development for a public location-based-content-sharing platform Nokia viNe.
Nokia offers its own maps pre installed to be used on the device. The Maps contain way-finding options and can guide users through the environment. The developers at Nokia (maybe the marketing guys) must have come up with the idea to also add information but not only to receive. This is what the cool slogan refers to: THE WEB. NOW MADE BY HAND. So it is a hand job again!

Nokia has created a web platform called Nokia viNe where users can upload their journeys to share with others. It was introduced in late 2008 after a rename from Nokia LiveviNe to Nokia viNe. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​For anyone wondering what viNe might bear in meaning check this out: “A viNe is any plant of genus Vitis (the grape plants) or, by extension, any similar climbing or trailing plant.” (Wikipedia here) ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The remaining question could be whether the name dives from the graphics for the product, ranking line with styled leaves, or the other way round? I would say this is goo​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​d marketing!​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​


Image taken from Nokia viNe website

T​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​he trip data is displayed on a (Nokia) map. The track data can also contain additional information such as images (the Nseries models are e​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​quipped with state of the art mobile phone cameras),​​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​v​​​​​i​​​​d​​e​​​o​​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​(​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​t​​​h​​​​​e​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ ​​​​​d​​e​​​​​v​​​​i​​​​c​​e​​​​​​​​s​​​​​ ​​​a​​​​​​​​r​​e​​​​ ​​​​​c​​​a​​​​​​​​​​​​​p​​​​a​​​​​​​​​​​​​​b​​​​l​​​​e​​​​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​o​​​​f​​ ​​​​​​​c​​a​​​​​p​​​​​​​​​​​t​​​​u​​​​​r​​​​i​​n​​g​​​​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​v​​​​​i​​​​​d​​e​​o​​​​​s​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ ​​-​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​h​​​​e​​​​​​​​​​l​​​​l​​​​​​o​​​ ​​​​​​i​​​​​​P​​​​​​h​​​​​o​​n​​​​e​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​)​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ ​​​a​​n​​​​d​​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​m​​​​​u​​​​​s​​i​​​​​​​​​​​​k​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​​(​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​w​​​​​e​​​​​​​​​l​​​​l​​ ​​​​​​​t​​​h​​​​e​​​​​​y​​​​​ ​​​​​​​c​​a​​n​​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​p​​​l​​​​a​​​​​y​​ ​​​​​​​​m​​​​​u​​​​s​​​​i​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​c​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ ​​​​​t​​​​​​o​​​​o​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​)​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​a​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​l​​​​​a​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​y​​​​e​​​​​d​​​​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​during t​​h​​e​​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​t​​r​​​​i​​​​p​​​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​I​​ ​​​​​​​​​a​​​​​​​​​s​​​​s​​u​​​​​m​​e​​​​​​.​​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

After clicking in to the viNe page (it takes some time to load with my as it seems slow broadband connection) the first task is fiddling with the map and zooming in to a level that actually unveils some useful information. This appears to be a rather local level. But at the same time this level is not detailed enough and one would like to zoom in as we are used to from Google Earth or Google Maps. The level of detail is probably adjusted by the Nokia technicians and has to do with privacy and exact location identification.
I am surprised that the London area again (as with SportTracker above) is not densely cluttered with lines and colour full (the project colours appear to be Pin, Blue, Green) “leaves” It really is surprising that there seem to be not a single track around Bloomsbury. UCL campus with about 15’000 students and not a single Nokia Nseries viNe user?
Images show up as “green leaves”, videos are shown in pink and tunes in blue. Images are great to look at, videos buffering is not very good and this make it horrible to look at. Very annoying to me was that the blue leaves, music tracks do not play the music. How boring is this? I am one of these persons who cannot memorize words, names have no meaning to me. I want to look at things or in the case of music listen to it. (This is mot likely a copyright problem, I know, but what is the point of showing the information then?)

Image Screenshot Nokia viNe - London

Image Screenshot Nokia viNe - Bloomsbury

Exploring the map is fun though! There are some points I think do not work very well but actually I think the whole project is pretty cool and stylish as Nokia graphics usually are!

(Here used to be a viNe widget, but it looks like Nokia is not supporting this any longer. Was a nice little app to display data from viNe.)

Visualising GPS Data - Cabspotting


The web based project Cabspotting traces San Francisco's taxi cabs as they travel throughout the Bay Area. The patterns traced by each cab create a living and always-changing map of city life. This map hints at economic, social, and cultural trends that are otherwise invisible. The Exploratorium has invited artists and researchers to use this information to reveal these "Invisible Dynamics."
They must have a great collection of GPS tracks as the project was launched in 2006. So is could be two and something years worth of tracking data. There are also some nice animation on their website. Some artists where invited to use the data for their work some of these examples are here. Two example movies from their visualisations.



UrbanTick Tag Cloud


Two examples of tagClouds generated from the content of this blog. Some offer a bit more flexibility and customizing than others. How they then generate what is displayed is sometimes rather mysterious. I am not sure for example where the 14:14 tag comes from. Do I always blog around that time or is this the time with the most visitors as it already had shown up in the visitor analysis earlier his year?

(Seems to be no working sorry)
This is generated using tagCloud-generator.


And an other example produced by TagCrowd, amazing what shows up...


created at TagCrowd.com



Wednesday, 28 January 2009

TagMap - the Location is the Information


There are a number of tag maps out there already, but its always nice to play with them and explore the maps a fresh. This example is based on Flicker tags and it uses Yahoo maps.
Generated with World Explorer. You can get your own applet here. It was developed through Yahoo! Research Berkley.


Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Transport Rhythm


A completely different approach to capture the rhythm of the city can be through image or video capturing. I have been playing around with timelapse techniques. There are a number of tutorials out there, really good ones on DigitalUrban.
Transport networks are quite a simple and steady producer of rhythms. It all relates to a timetable and the frequency of the stops. Here is a clip from a Tube stop in London. Passengers are swiped in and out of the carriages onto the platform in waves.

tlCTstationFull_090127 from urbanTick on Vimeo.



The journey on the bus gives a similar impression. Here is especially the frequency of the bus stops indicating a rhythm. It is stop motion in the most literal sense of the word.

tlBusRide_090125 from urbanTick on Vimeo.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Time Map - Some More Examples


Here are two software examples that are specifically designed to tackle the time-space-visualisation-problem. One of them is GeoTime developed by Oculus a leading and award winning provider of visualisation solutions, as they call themselves on the website. It is aiming at high end users and is as expected not cheap. The other one is a Google Code project called timeMap developed at the MIT in connection with the SIMILE project and freely available.
With GeoTime is it possible to visualize time based tracking data in an aquarium sort of way, as developed by the Lund School in the 70ties. It also uses the third dimension to show the passage of time. So spatial locations are shown as x and y and the time is shown as z coordinate. Only this month Oculus released a brand new version 4, which is said to be completely rebuilt in order to, enhance performance. Interesting could also be the Web 2.0 support. The GeoTime application does integrate with ESRI and Microsoft Products.


Image taken from GeoTime website

The really nice thing about the program, compared to the aquarium visualisations in Google Earth, is that the ground plane is interactive and can be moved in the z dimension. Effectively the plane with the spatial configuration of the surrounding represents the present and divides virtually the past from the future. What is useful is that the connection between activity on the vertically extruded path is always relatively close to the surface that displays the context information.


Image taken from GeoTime website

For information purposes Oculus has published a nice flash presentation to introduce the GeoTime software.

The open source software on the other hand is a set of code that can be used and reused. It is basically a JavaScript library and it uses the SIMILE timeline and displays on Google Maps. Different data sets can be loaded including Json and KML. It reads the location information and the time information.
The time line sis in the top part and is visualized as one or more bands that can be moved horizontally in order to move back and forward in time. The map sits below and displays by default events that are visible in the timeline frame.
By scrolling through the time bands the map adjusts. With some simple code elements it is possible to visualize data interactive.
I had a go with the data from the Christmas aquarium that I used to play with the Google Earth gadget earlier this month.
So with a bit of clipping and pasting from different examples I was able to load the KML file and have it displayed in the browser.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
Image by urbanTick - Screenshot of timeMap running some urbanDiary data

There are a lot of possibilities to play around with this code. I am really looking forward to spend some time on this. It is not only the layout and the settings in the code that are exiting, but also the possibilities of integrating different data sets. The recorded tracks could for example be accomplished with some life information feed from online sources, e.g. Flicker, Twitter or News. The KML setting also need to be sorted out. The current production line for GPS track files is not very convenient.
I will try to put he version above live soon on my web space to see how it runs online. In the mean time have a look at these examples.
Timemap examples with Json data - Artists & Authors of the Renaissance, Timeline SMILIE example - The JFK Assassination Timeline.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

the link T


A more detailed image of the coloured time map.

CH_timeVisualz_090121.VGC0vjzisPN7.jpg
Image by urbanTick - GPS track map colour according to time

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Time Map - Different Approaches


The problem of how to visualize time has been and is still challenging. There is a number of approaches out there, but the one general applicable approach has not been found yet.
So far a number of different approaches have been used and tested in this research work.
The first one was plain tracking paths. The time is actually inherent these images as the path is a sequence of points and these points where recorded in time one after the other. Also different lines are distinct in time as one tracked individual can only produce one path at the time. Theoretically this explanations work very well, but in practice when it comes to analyze these drawings all one can see is dens areas, hotspots and trends. THe aspect of time gets completely lost, specifically when one tries to look at one path relative to an other. They all seem to have the same time.

plymouth_080930bw.ldmduBstSwFm.jpg
Image by urbanTick - Plymouth365, one year worth of tracks

The second approach was playing the track record as a movie. With this technique it became possible to repay the recorded sequence and with the help of the movie simulate the passage of time. The recorded sequence of points is replayed according to the time stamps saved with each point. For analyzing purposes the tracks are replayed simultaneously at the same time. In this way the tracks can be followed relative to all the others. WIth this technique it is possible to distinguish between moving and static records. In the first example the path only show the location and time for activity on the move, e.g. going from A to B, but A and B are not included as a time period. This lies in the nature of the map that is solely spatial. Whereas in the movie the duration of A or B is displayed with a static dot that stays at this specific location of A or B for the relative time. The difficulty with the replay movies is the speed of replay. If it is too slow it is boring and takes forever. Also the is a limitation to how much is manageable to oversee of a time period. If it gets too long it is not possible to directly link the activities in the beginning of the sequence and the end of the sequence. Nevertheless this approach has been very popular with a wider community. The clips replaying the Plymouth365 track records have been watched over 5500 time in past two month. So it seems to be an approach that is easier accessible or consumable.

plymouth365_24h_sun from urbanTick on Vimeo.


Plymouth365_dayAndNight, to give a stronger sense of time the effect of day and night have been introduced

The third approach in visualizing time was the introduction of the third dimension. This dimension was not used to display the hight, but time. There is originally already hight information in the GPS record, but this has been replaced by the time information. This created 3d matrix with lat and long as x and y, but then time as z (hight). This visualization has been developed by Torsten Haegerstrand and the Lund School in the 1970ties. It was called the Space-Time Aquarium. This is probably at the same time the first time researchers in geography developed ideas for this topic of movement analysis. This technique produces very nice 3d shapes and are visually very pretty. For analysis purposes they tend to become very quickly much too complicated. For a limited number of tracks it can be useful and meaning full, but for a large number, such as the Plymouth365 full record, it is in the current way of the 3d model not very useful. Although the main features do show up. The “home“ location as the major spine, ”work“ locations as a secondary spine and the ”wall” for busy connection lines do pop out. Also there are nice smaller elements such as the “steps” for activities with stop and motion or the “spiral” for activities that took place over a longer period of time in more or less the same location, e.g. playground, lunch brake. A major problem is the connection between the model and the surface that provides the sense of location. The more time passes the more this connection get lost and later in the afternoon or in the evenings it often is completely lost. An other problem at the moment is the presentation of these models. They just don’t look good on images as one naturally ants to rotate them.

plymouth365Aquarium_low.KeiKCUblRn80.jpg
Image by urbanTick - Plymouth365, Space-Time Aquarium

The fourth and latest approach is the visualization of time on a map using colours to give time information. Each path segment here is coloured according to time. It starts in the morning with bright red changes to yellow and green over noon, the afternoon is blue and the evening changes again to purple. This actually give a pretty good sense of time wile reading the map and also enables the reading of the tracks relative to one another. The main problem is probably that it is static. Once generated it is a drawing and bears not much of a time representation as a dynamic element. Very much like the first approach it capture and frames a point in time.
CH_timeVisualz_090112.oYxPKJCwJ9FE.jpg

Thursday, 15 January 2009

gadget




Well, actually this is Google Earth (GoEa) right in my blog! Great, I m loving it.
Just three years back, I could not believe it, when I got my first, unofficial Google Earth version on my mac. It was amazing to explore the world in this new way all from the comfort of my personal keyboard or mouse respectively. Now GoEa is everywhere, on my phone (yes I have an iPhone) and now on my blog too! What do i need my desktop for these days?

By the way of course it should actually display some more, as the title suggests, it is not working yet. But to play with this little blue ball in space is already worth a post. I will be working on a solution to make the title matching content visible.


It is fixed... rather it was never broken. There seems to be an issue with safari. If you cant see any content try Firefox instead. It seems to work, for both maps and GoEa.

This gadget was found at Google, where else? Click here to get your own. There is no need for an API it seems...

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Interest and Sharing


Tonight we had the 1000th visitor on the blog. It is great that so many people are interested in the work on the topic of everyday cycles and routines.

UT_stats_090113.Yzdef3bwsODX.jpg
Image by urbanTick - Visitor statistics by Sitemeter

The first entry on the bog dates from the 7th of October 2008. So only 98 days online, with twenty entries featuring seven videos and a number of images.
The visits so far have developed rapidly and closely related to being referred from by popular blogs.
Some analysis of the hit record shows the popularity of the bog over the course of 24 hours. It turns out to be very popular on mid weekdays, in mid afternoon...

graph_24H-total_090113.DMFHp4kjKOLX.jpggraph_24H-weekDay_090113.gBbEjkLx56ff.jpg
Images by urbanTick - graphs by hour and by weekday

As we started this blog, it was not the aim to attract a lot of attention, rather was the idea to use it as a diary (in the sense of the project) and logging the work that we are doing here to keep track of things and log some progress. To now see that putting the work online generates such an interest really is a big motivation. The topic of cycles as it is defined at the moment puts the focus on everyday routines and habits and this really is what we all experience or rather produce. Anyone experiences it on a daily basis, e.g. rush hour, shop opening hours or meal times or is involved in longer periodic events such as the now just passed festive season with the busy celebrations. To understand more about these patterns is the aim of the work and obviously makes a lot of people curious.
The interest was generated by some big blogs that picked up the work and made it prominently accessible for a wider audience. The DigitalUrban blog where the now everywhere quoted labeling Fabian started, then the New Scientist blog, the Gearth blog, the AllPoints blog, the PlymothianTransit blog, andrelemos.info and also the heomin61 blog.
So maybe it become a routine for some visitors to come back a check this spot for new work and of course comments and suggestions on the work are very welcome.
For the future progress of the work on cycles and rhythms the aim is to make a broader study based on GPS tracks involving a number of individuals. Maybe even to start an online community who would share individual routines to help painting the bigger picture. Something like “the City Routines“, a big drawing that represents the habits of inhabitants. We’ll see how it goes.