Gavin Baily of Tracemedia – CASA Fellow

Title of the Project: Flickr’s Urban Topographies

This project is currently developing a suite of online mapping tools for visualising and manipulating large scale social media datasets. Although applicable to other geo-coded datasets including Twitter and Foursquare, the project uses data from Flickr. The vast number of geo-coded Flickr photos provides a rich source of social and historical data, and offers intriguing visions and topographies of the urban environment. Using archives of the dataset going back to 2005, the project has been exploring how spatial analysis techniques can be used to visualise a broad range of societal, demographic and historic phenomena. Focusing on a cross-section of world cities, the interactive tools enable users to interrogate geo-coded data at various levels of granularity, from individual images to city super-structures.

Here are some of the preliminary results from the project:

The Atlantic Cities site has also written up this work as ‘The Most Sophisticated Flickr Maps We’ve Ever Seen’. Click here to read the article.

Project lifetime: Feb to Aug 2013

Gavin’s CV

Gavin is the founder of TraceMedia, specialising in visualisations, mapping and web applications. Since the mid 90’s he has produced a wide range of visualisation and digital arts projects in collaboration with research teams at UCL, Cambridge University, the University of Westminster, the Oxford Internet Institute and the BBC.

Gavin’s recent research has focused on representing large scale, collaboratively generated archives. This work has explored visually rich approaches to navigating and analysing social media datasets, news repositories, and Wikipedia archives. ‘Mapping Wikipedia’ highlights the uneven geographies of internet participation across different cultures. ‘Locus’ examines the temporal geographic coverage of Guardian articles in regions of conflict over the last decade. ‘NewsTraces’ draws poignant contrasts between the media attention received by world events. In a collaboration the British Antarctic Survey climate model data was used to create a temporal visualisation for ‘Southern Ocean Studies’.

The work has been featured by the Guardian and the BBC, arts and science journals, and has been funded by the Arts Council and the AHRC. Installation versions of the work have been exhibited internationally at venues including Ars Electronica, Future Everything, and ISEA.

Linked In:

Gavin’s Aspirations for the Fellowship

In the process of developing and evaluating the project, I hope to gain insights into how spatial analysis techniques can be used to visualise demographic and temporal features in the content of social media datasets.

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