86 (mostly) rain-filled miles later…

Yesterday (Sunday) morning at 6am I woke to my alarm and apprehensively prepared for the Ride 100 London-Surrey event. A few hours later I saw Ant, a fellow MapAction volunteer, at the meeting area before the start. 24,000 riders meant that there were a number of waves of 500 (48 I guess!?). Unfortunately I was on my own in a wave, whilst Ant and Luke were in a wave together. We agreed we would meet at the end, given the rubbish weather! Ant and I had bin bags on which seemed to keep the rain off for a while at least! We also learned at the start that the route had been shortened by 14 miles because of the weather conditions – this meant 2 things:
1. Box Hill and Leith Hill were removed from the route meaning no big hill climbs! :-)
2. I couldn’t try to compete with a friend’s time – he had clocked 5:56 last year :-(

At 0830 hrs I set off down the A13 in the driving rain. Cycling through the streets on London was great fun as there were no cars around! (all the streets on the route were closed off for the event). What struck me was the number of punctures I saw – I guess as a result of the wet weather and debris etc. By the time we got to Richmond park the rain was at it’s heaviest, with a few centimetres of water on the road. Worst was to come as a cycle-jam in the park meant we were stood on our bikes in the torrential rain for 30mins! (we learnt later that someone had fallen off their bike face first which had caused a long backlog of cyclists – I hope they were ok!). In the park I got chatting to a Geordie called Simon who was an amiable chap (and it turned out cycled at a similar pace to me)! We kept pace with each other for the last 60 miles! There were a few times when I was completely knackered so it was great to have someone to try to keep up with!

The highlight (apart from finishing!) was seeing Matt and Chloe from MapAction on Wimbledon Hill cheering us on in the first moment of proper sunshine!

I finished in 5 hrs 41 mins which was ok I suppose given that we were cycling into 20-30mph headwinds at times (the remnants of Hurricane Bertha) and not to mention the massive amounts of rain! And we had a 30 minute plus wait in the rain in Richmond Park. (next time I’ll take a proper stopwatch / timer / GPS with me!). Excuses, excuses!…

After we finished, another downpour came and I went to meet my wife and daughter, before we caught up with Matt and Chloe and we met Ant and Luke too. And then the sun came out (as you can see!).

the 3 knackered cyclists at the end!

Later on we were lucky enough to be invited to the H2 Bike Run Soho for a shower and massage (insert joke about a massage in Soho here!). After eating some delicious chicken jambalaya we each had a back or leg massage from the masseurs – which was fantastic! Thank you all!

All in all it was a great day and I’d love to do it again. I just need to clear that with wife and daughter!…(oh and hope I get through the ballot next time!).

If you’d like to sponsor us, please go to http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/MapActionRideLondon2014

Thank you!

Getty announces royalty free images….

And here’s one of a map!…

Review of AGI Tech SIG and OGC event

Note – this post also appears on the AGI blog.

On Monday I helped organise an AGI Technical SIG event from the OGC on the UK Interoperability Assessment Plugfest (or UKIAP for short – not to be confused with the political party UKIP of course!). Bart De Lathouwer from OGC, Peter Cotroneo from OS, and Paul Lacey from DSTL all presented and gave a great overview of the OGC, and thedifferent programmes they operate, as well as discussing theUKIAP and what it means for the wider geospatial community. The programmes cover standards, compliance, outreach and the interoperability programme. UKIAP covers mostly all the separate programmes with its work.

The UKIAP is all about trying to ensure software suppliers are consuming OGC standards as expected, and is really important for business and government for the sharing of geospatial information.
Embedded image permalinkImagine a company which has 5 departments all using slightly different GIS and CAD software but they want to share information – this is where OGC standards can help! Phase 1 of UKIAP was a closed door affair (what happens in Las Vegas (or Blackpool was used in this case!) stays in Las Vegas (or Blackpool!), with each of the 11 suppliers testing their software against 5 OGC standards (GML, WMS, WMTS, WMS-C, and WFS). A series of tests were performed to basically determine if the standard worked as expected in different geospatial software. The next stage is Phase 2 of the UKIAP on the 3rd March. The results from Phase 2 will be published and so everyone can see how the different software performed against the standards. What happens in “Blackpool” will be revealed!

There were plenty of questions from the audience about the OGC too, and Bart talked about how standards can prevent vendor lock in, and bring consensus to the geospatial community. Everyone agreed it was an interesting event and we hope we can put on more of these events. We followed the event by the ever popular geodrinks at a local hostelry.

Have you read the AGI blog?

ich bin ein blog!
photo: Some rights reserved by karola riegler photography

The Association for Geographic Information have started to write a number of good blogs around events etc.

Have a look at http://aginews.blogspot.co.uk/ where Chris Rhodes has been writing once a week (or more!) since he started back in the summer.

There’s also the interesting AGI Scotland blog to look at http://agiscotland.org.uk/ featuring news around the EEO-AGI(S) seminar series.

Happing reading!

Some notes on AGI GeoCommunity 13

Here’s some longer notes on AGI GeoCommunity 2013, the UK’s premier geospatial event at EMCC in Nottingham. So I arrived in Nottingham on Monday, into Ancaster Hall. I managed to miss the icebreaker (it’s a long story) and after a good sleep, and great breakfast I was ready for the first day of talks. In the key notes Vanessa Lawrence, DG of Ordnance Survey, gave an interesting talk of which I picked up on the G8 open data commitments, the BCS announcing a carto hack camp , and the space catapult along with the national data strategy. Throughout the conference I made sure that the sponsors in the exhibition hall were catered for (here’s a list of the sponsors – a big thank you to all of them for making #GeoCom possible).

Next up I went to watch PBS give a demo on the use of open data in business. Is open data free data? Yes, but not exactly if you factor in the costs of transforming the data and making it fit for purpose. This pre-empted my talk a little where free does not always mean free to all. Next I went to watch my old boss Kendall give an engaging talk on HS2. This gave a good overview of the spatial enterprise set up for HS2. Kendall also mentioned the need for constant communication to management and contractors to make sure that all parties are thinking of the bigger picture. Next up I went to the NoSQL talk from Jack Harrison of Ordnance Survey. This was a great talk. One day I’ll have the guts to do a picture based presentation – you know the ones (no text and lots of lovely pictures). Anyway the talk gave a good overview of reading and visualising twitter feeds using NoSQL, Ruby, JSON, D3.js and Mongo DB. I hope I have time to check these out in a bit more detail! All Jack’s work can be found at http://github.com/jhrrsn/tw_rb. After a full day of talks it was time for a quick run and then to the bar where we witnessed some casino games, much beer, and (if you were lucky/unlucky) some karaoke in the other rooms. My MapAction collague (who shall remain nameless!) has suggested that next year the conference should have 1 hour of entirely map-related karaoke. I can think of Maps by Yeah Yeah Yeahs as a relevant song for sure!

The next day (Wednesday) saw a plenary from Ian of Sainsbury’s who explained a bit about how they use location intelligence in their site planning and analysis. Then there was a talk on BIM and this gave a good overview of the current state of play. We were urged to read Construction 2025. We also saw an awe-inspiring video of a sky scraper in China being built in 15 days! Then I presented on Building Catastrophe Models using Open Data and Open Source (see my last post for the presentation). Next up Mark Jackson of CERC showed us an open-source web GIS for accessing climate data. The portal is open-source and available from http://carbones.googlecode.com. After lunch I saw James Proctor from EA (NaFRA) talk about processing data and speeding up data manipulation. Finally for the day Lynnae Sutton presented on Open Source GIS techniques for web mapping mentioning Kartograph.js, Open Layers, Dojo, D3, I2maps, Leaflet.js, Cartodb, Mapbox and Mapnik amongst others! Then we had the closing session, with Peter Batty talking on Openess in Geospatial which nicely pre-empted FOSS4G (post coming soon).

Short notes on AGI GeoCommunity and FOSS4G 2013

Long time no post! Well, I’ve just returned from AGI GeoCommunity 2013 and FOSS4G at EMCC, Nottingham University. They were great great great events and I’d like to thank the AGI team, AGI GeoCom AWG, and FOSS4G LOC for all their hours spent on making them a perfect set of conferences. AGI had a lot for the UK geospatial person; ranging from BIM, 3D, cartography to all the opens (source, standards and data). FOSS4G was solely open source for geospatial (as the name suggests), but the tag line ‘geo for all’ was really apt. It really amazes me how many uses there are for geospatial software and how far open source geospatial has come. There were some thought provoking keynotes and some very exciting news on software releases etc. I want to expand on my thoughts from the conference – I’ll try to do this in the coming days! I presented ‘Building Catastrophe Models using Open Data and Open Source’ which you can view here……

Please sponsor me!

Please sponsor me for the Aon Benfield Paris to London bike ride I’m doing (with 200 of my work colleagues).

I’ve chosen to ride for MapAction, the disaster mapping charity which I volunteer for. MapAction relies heavily on donations to be able to continue their work in disaster affected areas and disaster prone countries.

You can sponsor me on the giveall website where we have a page set up especially. Click the Sponsor me now button. Make sure you mention you are sponsoring me otherwise the money won’t go to MapAction!

Any amount of money you can spare would be very much appreciated.

Thank you,

Chris Ewing

(an image from OpenCycleMap of Newhaven – the port we enter before cycling back to London).

MapBox publish 2013 OpenStreetMap Data Report

MapBox have published a very slick looking 2013 OSM data report. It looks like it uses HTML5 to show some lovely looking animations (timesliders etc.) of different aspects of the OSM data (data updates etc.). The stand out stat for me is that about 40% of changes are made by 0.1% of users! There are some very dedicated OSM people out there and we should say a big thank-you to them! There are also over 1 million users now, helping to bring better data to OSM every day. Yippee! P.s. thanks to Nick for this info.
without OSM
(thanks to XuRxO for the image from Flickr)

w3g from afar

w3g is looking like a great (un)conference this year. Some things I’ve learnt from the twitterstream (#w3g) are:
1. the MapIt Global API from MySociety which allows you to determine which admin boundary a point is in anywhere in the world! – via @mysociety
2. a fantastic web map of the BBC Price of Football 2012 survey – thanks to @roberto_murray
3. some more info about OS Open Data from @ian_holt. …. Over half a million downloads of Ordnance survey data. Over 8000 datasets on http://data.gov.uk
4. to be continued…………