Lazy Apps at Barcamp Bradford

Bradford had a barcamp at last, and it was rather good. What was telling was that every single slot was booked out, and repeats of some sessions were requested, and shoved in during breaks.

Cheers to all the folks who organized and sponsored it etc. Ian gives a good summary about what happened.

“Lazy Apps” was the title of my session, and as the room it was in was furthest from the wifi, we didn’t live stream them to twitter. Instead we lazily scribbled them on paper. Here they are for you.


december updates & talk-gb-thenorth

Busy couple of weeks, two BarCamps in Sheffield and Liverpool, AGI North in Leeds, and announcing today, the creation of Talk-gb-thenorth OpenStreetMap mailing list for the North of England.

With a lot more active users, interested people and mappers up north here, we’ve started a mailing list. A place to discuss local relevant issues, announce and plan events. We hope to start a few social / say trips out events around the region in the new year. All welcome to sign up!

Location and mapping technologies were in evidence at both BarCamps, with myself doing the OSM session at Sheffield, written about earlier. And John doing one in his home town of Liverpool. John brought a big A1 printout of Liverpool, with stickers so people could stick on the map the location of points of interests. A good idea. Oh, I came second place in a pitching competition for a pet (non-geo) project of mine, thanks Katie and sponsors for the prizes. For those who went to Sheffield, there’s a “viral” competition open, I made a slightly embarrassing entry, click & share the link, help me win and it may even make you laugh! šŸ™‚

Geocaching, Iphone & location, GPS Art, Mobile & geo games, slippy maps were amongst the sessions held, there was quite a noticeable geo theme to the events. TheGeoWeb would be proud!

Recently in Leeds, I went toĀ  poorly attended but very very good (and free) presentations of the AGI North SIG. Three presentations were from Neil Bendel representing the AGI Health SIG, Nick Armitage with the NHS Info Centre, and Andre Britten from Dotted Eyes (the winner of the new NHS Digital Mapping Agreement).

Interestingly, Dotted Eyes won the DMA from Ordnance Survey… they also offer NAVTEQ products and some additional products such as maintaining list of obsolete postcodes. They don’t have any data that shows footpaths, however, but only have cyclepaths – not really great for a Heath service that wants people to go out and be healthy. Also, there’s no direct way for ambulances out in the field to submit corrections to road networks (and they really need up-to-date maps), but they can send their DMA agent an email, and then the company would tell Navteq, and then they would have to request an update of the correct data. That’s really really un-easy.

Another interesting project from the NHS folks was about “Fruit & Veg Deserts” (not desserts!) project. The idea here is that you can map where shops have fresh fruit and veg available (oases), and see where there is a dearth of fresh food (deserts). Makes it easier to approach the smaller shops and say “look, here’s a gap in the market”.

It’s Not Grim Up North

Crossing the Pennines into Manchester brought the train from sunshine into drizzle, a drizzle continued all day, typical of the grim North (and especially the city of Manchester). But forgetting the rain, the North is the opposite of grim, as yesterday there was a furnace of activity, discussions and networking at BarCamp that made the North a shiny positive place to work.

Taking the title from the KLF track “It’s Grim Up North” (worth watching to the end -The North Will Rise Again”) my talk was a rapid discussion in the hottest room at the tiredest part of the day. You can get the slides here at slideshare, or view it below. Basically the slot was about vague vernacular geographies (the way normal people talk about areas), and working towards new tools to help capture, analyse and use. Good feedback was had, and the project shall be developed upon anew.

Here’s a map we made showing where some of the participants thought Wilderness was in the UK.

Full marks to Paul, the sponsors and organisers. It went really smoothly. (I won a book). There was much talk about similar events, alternatives, formats etc. I think that they get better and better as time goes on. Sheffield is the next (woefully, hugely unpublicised) barcamp up north, back across to the drier side of the Pennines.

BarCamp Leeds Map

Here’s a map of the registrants for BarCamp Leeds 2007, from the registration data given to me by Imran. Nice to see a wide spread of people from around the place, and, as you can see, they are mostly up North! It usesĀ  the very good Openlayers JavaScript mapping api, and the default underlying mapping is of OpenStreetMapĀ  but also Yahoo, and Google Hybrid map can be seen (thanks Chris for the OSM tiles!).

Looking forward to barcamping, going to do something geo, whether opensource geostack, openstreetmap, or desktop GIS stuff, who knows! Any suggestions?

(Got this up on on the day I’ve registered it)