The Full Stack: Tools & Processes for Urban Data Scientists

Recently, I was asked to give talks at both UCL’s CASA and the ETH Future Cities Lab in Singapore for students and staff new to ‘urban data science’ and the sorts of workflows involved in collecting, processing, analysing, and reporting on urban geo-data. Developing the talk proved to be a rather enjoyable opportunity to reflect on more than a decade in commercial data mining and academic research – not only did I realise how far I had come, I realised how far the domain had come in that time.

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Mapping the Changing Affordability of London

Last night I discovered how many of my friends watch C4’s Dispatches since quite a few of them texted me to say that they had seen me talking about property affordability on “The Great British Property Divide”. However, since Dispatches has to somehow keep the running time down to just 30 minutes, there’s not much of a chance in the show to really explore the data underpinning my chat with Morland. So with that it mind, below are links to A0-sized static data visualisations.

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2 Funded PhD Positions at King’s

It’s been a long time coming, but I’m really pleased to be able to share details about two PhDs at King’s for which I have funding: one to look at the growth and evolution of the UK’s landline network, and one to look at the interface between smart city systems and urban governance. Read on for details about each.

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‘Mapping the Space of Flows’: the geography of the London Mega-City Region

I’m pleased to be able to post here the penultimate version of an article that Duncan Smith and I recently had accepted to Regional Studies. In this article we look at ways of combining ‘big data’ from a telecoms network with standard BRES employment data to generate a more nuanced understanding of where ‘work’ happens in the Greater Southeast of England across several key sectors. Continue reading

Big Data’s Little Secrets (Part 2)

In my previous post I looked at some of the issues affecting the extent to which ‘big data’ gives a reliable picture of the world around us. In this post I want to take you through one of the least sexy—but most important—parts: the data itself. My point, again, is not to suggest that big data is fatally flawed, but to call into question some of the easy assumptions upon which we rely when working with this type of data, and the universality of the conclusions that we can draw from this type of research.

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Big Data’s Little Secrets (Part 1)

The term ‘big data’ has been getting a lot of attention recently, some of it very complimentary (see ‘The End of Theory‘), and some of it not so much (see Mark Birkin’s report on a recent AAG session). On one level this is very exciting for me since much of my work with travel and communications data falls loosely under this rubric. But when big data sets are promoted as ‘the answer’ to everything from the next Census to deriving universal laws of human behaviour, it is also time for us to look a little more closely at what big data can actually deliver. Continue reading

Multiple MySQL Servers on a Single Machine

Note: this was previously posted at simulacra.info, but I am in the process of (re)organising my technical notes and tutorials.

A bit of a dry post here, but I thought I’d share my experience of trying to get two instances of MySQL (and two different versions, to boot) running simultaneously on a single piece of hardware as I’ve spent the past two days tearing my hear out and swearing profusely (mostly) under my breath. Continue reading

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