NYPL Adds 20,000 High Resolution Maps to the NYPL Warper – free to download

NYPL Warper – New Maps!

This weeks news was about a project I’ve been working on for the last few months with Topomancy – adding a whole load of new maps to one of the largest libraries around the New York Public Library.  These were  added to an award winning crowdsourced geo-rectification, historical map exploration and discovery application. Users can download full resolution TIFF files without the need to login, and if the map has been geo-referenced/rectified/warped, then you can freely download the warped versions too. The images are all in CC-Zero licenses – so, effectively Public Domain in nature. Credit to the library is appreciated though.

From motherboard.vice.com/read/new-york-public-library-releases-20000-beautiful-high-resolution-maps

From motherboard.vice.com/read/new-york-public-library-releases-20000-beautiful-high-resolution-maps

 

The announcement of the freely available 20,000 maps from the NYPL this week has been covered in a few places including OpenGLAM MotherBoard, OpenCulture and InfoDocket amongst others!

Castello_Plan_Warp

How

Folks may recognise that the Warper has been around for a little while now, and so here’s what we did: We hooked it up with the NYPL Digitial Collections API - this changed the way it requested , instead of internally requesting images from the Image Server, it uses the API properly. A whole suite of import processes were also generated to enable to search of maps from the repository, importing individual maps sheets, the import of individual atlases or layers full of maps, and most usefully the import of newly digitized maps.  A by product of this was to extract some of the library code into the nypl_repo Ruby Gem. There’s even some documentation for the nypl_repo gem for interacting with the NYPL Digital Collections API.

The code for the NYPL Warper can be found on GitHub – although if you are wanting to do this at home – have a look at the code for MapWaprer.net  also available on github.

geosearch

Little used feature of the warper – finding for maps using a map to search for them!

Magic, Illusion, Perception @ March Leeds Superpositon

A few days ago saw the most recent meeting of the Superposition group in Leeds. That nights was under the theme “Magic Illusion and Perception”   I’ve pinched a lot of the text in this post from that one!

There were four talks. The first was about the “curiosity” machine that uses lasers to draw moving images on clouds, the zoopraxiscope, and it was taken up in a small plane where images of a moving horse were projected onto a cloud. Wonderful stuff.

IMG_1792

Ben Dalton’s talk ‘Zines in the age of ‘big data’?’ introduced and proposed the idea of bundle publishing. At odds with current trends in digital distribution, bundle publishing involves editing a large collection of digital content and then publishing it on a specific date as a single, large file. This was the most intriguing talk of the evening, where instead of streams, or blogs, or things, that media could be published and shared in huge bundles of files. I’m encouraged partly by online publications such as The New Inquiry as an alternative to a blog roll. Ben is also interested in pseudonyms. A team of writers may publish using the same pseudonym – the pseudonym would have its own character, style of writing. There was also the pseudonyms as used by “anon” users – names that become used and familiar to people.

Experimental jazz musician and neuroscientist Christophe de Bézenac talked about the blurring of self and other in music and psychosis. Having studied at Conservatoire de Strasbourg, and been a regular performer at international music festivals he explained how perceptual ideas have guided his musical practice and how his musical work has, in turn, fed into his empirical/neuroscience research into psychosis. This talk really excited the audience, with discussions about what is ambiguity. Ambiguous language, music etc. What is the crowd? What is the mob? Can someone experience things as a group? Fascinating stuff.

IMG_1794

Professional Magician and Slight-of-Hand artist, Tony O’Neill discussed his creative process within the magical syllabus and sharing his current findings on the power of suggestion and self belief. It showed that magic, fortune telling could be used to help people, even when they knew what the process was all about. I wonder if a city needs more magicians, or if this type of magic could be used on a group of people. Things discussed include things like you can change someone’s mind by planting suggestions, etc.

IMG_1797

Tube Sign – Service Information image generation service

Part of a series of posts to cover some small projects that I did whilst not being able to work. They cover things from the role of familiar strangers on the internet and anti-social networks, through to meteorological hacks, funny memes to twitter bots. This post is about a funny meme image generation service.

Sometimes I surf the internet for funny pictures. Although the ones with cats I have a healthy distrust for – there was one class of amusing image which caught my eye. Those funny or inspirational London Underground passenger informations signs. I was seeing these every week and thought… “I could do that”. So I did, created tubesign.herokuapp.com and a few other people found it funny. At one point there was about 50 people visiting at any one time and when I put the statistics on there was 13,000 views on the second day with an image being created one every second. At time of writing it has had over 50,000 views.

from http://weknowmemes.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/apple-maps-london-tube-sign.jpg

An actual real life TfL service information Sign! from http://weknowmemes.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/apple-maps-london-tube-sign.jpg

How I did it.

First of all I looked into fonts – I wanted to get a good handwriting font which would look as if someone had used a marker on a white board. Google fonts delivered, and I chose Reenie Beany.

It uses Sinatra, Ruby and Rmagick and is hosted on the Heroku platform – even at it’s busiest it was able to cope on the free tier. It doesnt use any database. It caches requests for images though.

I use a bit of random number generation to change the angle the text is written at, and change the indent a bit.

The code for Tube Sign is on github  but give it a go firsttubesign.herokuapp.com

Viral & coverage

I posted this on facebook and my friends gave it a go, with some hilarious images being created, and then it spread to twitter, where more and more people found it. Then blogs, mainly London based blogs found it.

first image used – the source for this I could not found, and so the use of this image was discontinued

Someone said that the original image was someone’s copyright, so I changed it to a CC-By-SA image by Flickr user Lrosa, which also meant that all images created were under the same licence.

Creative Commons by Share Alike, Attribution image which is the image being used on the application. Image from Flickr, Lrosa, http://www.flickr.com/photos/lrosa/1138285047/

The main media outlets that covered it were: BBC America, ITV, The Londonist, The Atlantic Cities, The Guardian, The Next Web and the B3ta.com newsletter (very proud of that one).

There was about 50 people visiting at any one time and when I put the statistics on there was 13,000 views on the second day with an image being created one every second. At time of writing it has had over 50,000 views. Now the traffic is in the hundreds, with number of people visiting right now enough to be counted on one hand.

Future

  • Live preview
  • Better font rendering – defocus
  • Add range of images for different places (Bombay signs, Leeds Metro signs etc)
  • Store images, allow voting, create gallery

Leaving GeoIQ/Esri. Retrospective and future plans.

I’ve been with GeoIQ (the folks behind GeoCommons) since the Summer of 2010, and I’ve loved it. Earlier this year GeoIQ joined with Esri and we were hugely excited to change things from the inside and coming up with plans for the new Esri DC Dev team.. However, that’s all behind me now, alas, as it was time to move on. I have left GeoIQ/Esri to be a freelancer and to join the Topomancy coop. This post will take a quick look back at time well spent, and will touch upon what I will be doing in the future.

Continue reading

Pubs in England – geographical distribution of names with cardinal points.

This image shows 4 maps of pubs in England where the pub names have a cardinal direction in the name. North, South, East and West. You can try searching for any pub name here.  For example, West = “The Great Western”, “The Westbourne”. North  = “Northcote Arms”, “The North Pole”

There appears to be more North pubs in London than anywhere else, and more West pubs in the north (and north west?) of England…

268 Different Colourful Tiles – Plain Tile Maker

Plain Tile Maker was my weekend project – a mapping tile service that serves one colour tiles as a tile basemap.
There are about 268 colours to choose from – basically anything that the underlying library (Imagemagick) supports.
It was developed for me to play around on the Heroku platform, and as a response to a GeoCommons.com user question, where the user wanted a way to show just a plain one colour background.
This solution is more flexible, and really easy.

 

 

 

 

 

The format is

http://plaintiles.herokuapp.com/colorname/X/Y/Z.png

So for example,

http://plaintiles.herokuapp.com/DodgerBlue/0/0/0.png

http://plaintiles.herokuapp.com/bisque/12/3/32.png

And in return you get a 256×256 sized image of that colour.

DodgerBlue

bisque

You can use it in your mapping libraries, for example: With OpenLayers:

var colourTile = new OpenLayers.Layer.XYZ(
 "Plain Colour Tile",
 "http://plaintiles.herokuapp.com/colourName/${z}/${x}/${y}.png", 
 { sphericalMercator: true,
 buffer: 1,
 numZoomLevels: 17
 }
);

And with Leaflet:

new L.TileLayer('http://plaintiles.herokuapp.com/colourName/{x}/{y}/{z}.png', {maxZoom: 18});


Or you can add them to GeoCommons quite easily. Add

http://plaintiles.herokuapp.com/colorName/{X}/{Y}/{Z}.png

in the Add a URL link, choosing Map Tile URL from the format, and  then give it a nice name when prompted.

Here’s the Bisque tiles in GeoCommons.

I’ve used the in a map it to give a ghosting effect over the basemap, and to just show my own boundaries. http://geocommons.com/maps/181231  is a map made with some World Boundaries over the plain bisque map we had just added. I’ve also overlaid the Acetate Labels layer on top for context.

Want to know more? The code for this is on github.

Why companies are moving away from Google Maps to OpenStreetMap – switch2osm.org

At Leeds digitial networking event LSxCafe this Tuesday, I talked about how companies, such as Geocaching.com and Foursquare.com are moving away from Google Maps and choosing OpenStreetMap. The slides are below.

Today the twitterverse and blogosphere were abuzz with the discovery that Apple had made the switch to use OpenStreetMap in their iPhoto application. At the moment, it appears to be so, but there’s no attribution yet. Compare for yourselves : http://ivan.sanchezortega.es/leaflet-apple.php  But take it from me, I have personally surveyed using a GPS unit and mapped paths in woods which are not on any map anywhere else (not legal footpaths) which appear on Apples map.