Author: Merryn

The Silent Revolution – Not.

Hitting the nail on the head may create sparks. I agree with Steven Ramage, the phrase ‘silent revolution’ is annoying. But there’s another phrase that’s worse, and that’s ‘now is the time for’ … anything. In this context, it’s ‘now is the time for geospatial’. It could be, ‘now is the time for geographic information’.…
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Geography for insane humans

I rewrote their headline over coffee. It should have said, “1 Woman, 12 Months, 52 Places and this small, but perfectly formed, video graphic” – but when I read the @nytimes article, something more profound hit me. In short, Jada Yuan was the lucky/unlucky applicant picked to visit 52 far-flung destinations in one year. Her…
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A line that’s not Google’s fault

It’s a sad story, but there’s another one behind it. Yes, a 46-year-old man lay dead and undiscovered, because a police team used Google Maps to set its search boundaries. But there’s a deeper narrative here. Forget the fact that half the property wasn’t examined – hello Google, that really is some margin of error –…
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Obama’s book. Get it or forget it?

Obama’s end-of-year review is great, but titles can be misleading. Here are two reasons to get a copy of ‘The New Geography of Jobs’, and two reasons to forget it. This is Enrico Moretti’s look at the addled distribution of wealth and prosperity across America. Six years ago, when it was first released, Forbes described it…
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Llama Drama

It’s a headline, not a story … unless you’re an insurance broker or an insurer and you cannot find your next best prospects for a specialist insurance scheme. Then, it’s not just a problem, it’s a business challenge that geographic information can solve. The upside (or downside) to society, is that many of us have…
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OGC WMS EXAM

OGC e-learning. That’s two-and-one-tenth-of-a word striking joy into my heart, right there. I’ll put my hands up to technical ineptitude on some levels, but I’m a hands-down advocate of anything that increases an ability to use GI effectively – as long as it is, effective that is. The OGC Web Map Service (WMS) Interface Standard modules…
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The B-Word (Might Not Mean Brexit)

Sex, religion and who-you-voted-for used to be taboo subjects. But life changes. The weak are a long time in politics on both sides of the aisle, and today’s early-morning thought processes gave rise to certain musings on the word ‘Brexit’. Colours to the mast: I’m a fairly staunch remainer. I have absolute respect for leavers’…
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The Problem with Digital Twins

Digital twins crack me up. Here’s why: it’s the origins of the word ‘digital’ and ‘twin’. As @Nick_Tune (not Nick Cage) pointed out, this language does matter now. It’ll be even more important, moving forward. In the twentieth century, we don’t think twice. Something that’s ‘digital’ is something that’s not analogue. Digital means computerised, and that’s about…
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Porsche, Mapbox, Al Capone…

I’ve been reading this very old, bath-type book on GIS and crime mapping for various, non-nefarious reasons. It points out the importance of balance. On the one hand, building a GIS and using it to analyse criminal behaviour – and on the other, remembering that criminals do change their behaviour. Often quite irrationally, as in…
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What’s in an -ology?

I had a bash at the EFGS’s Handbook of Spatial Analysis yesterday evening. Got as far as page seven before I gave in over the 1.2.1 definition of cartographic semiology [sic]. It did make me chuckle, albeit from a slightly uncharitable language perspective. According to the European Forum for Geography and Statistics’ seminal work (the…
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