Culture Hack Scotland #1

So for anyone not following me on twitter, I’m currently attending Culture Hack Scotland; basically the big idea is to try and bring the tech and culture communities together. This is also based around a set of open data which including fringe data, although for 2011 at least the fringe data will have some restrictions applied to it; however it’s a great step forward.

There are lots of idea’s going on, some of which are quite exciting. However my plan is to work on a “Festival” Rendering of openstreetmap for Edinburgh, I’m really just at the point where I can start to render maps and have a proposed tagging scheme for doing this within OSM.

Still lots of work to do but at the moment I have started to put Fringe Venues on the map:

Edinburgh Zoo Mapping Party

View over Edinburgh from the Zoo Viewing PointView over Edinburgh from the Zoo Viewing Point

So this is a **very **long overdue writeup of the Edinburgh Zoo mapping party that took place on Saturday 3rd July. Thanks to the work that Bob had done not only were the zoo expecting us but also allowed us in for free in order to make the map.

We used the zoo’s own map to create a cake and each took an area to map.

I had picked the top of the hill to the North East, which included the Big Cats:

Warning these Animals are DangerousWarning these Animals are Dangerous

Overall the area division worked well, we did have some overlap but largely deliberate and partly to explore the rest of the zoo :)

The biggest challenge turned out to be that working on such a small scale in a heavily wooded environment meant that GPS traces were very unreliable, so a lot of the actual mapping came down to using the traces as guidelines and some dead reckoning. Trying to make sure that everything is relatively well positioned  and fitting all the features in was a good challenge. Perhaps another trip in the winter when the trees won’t have any leaves with some walking papers will be in order?

It wasn’t all work, I certainly paused to see some of the animals and happened to be passing animal antics during one of the demonstrations, unfortunately I didn’t get the name of this bird as there were no signs to photograph:

However at the end of the day we ended up with a much better map of the zoo, hopefully with all the enclosures covered:

Edinburgh Zoo OSM

Finally the picture of the “brave” mappers who turned up to do the day’s mapping.

Map data copyright OpenStreetMap and contributors, CC-BY-SA

Edinburgh Mapping Party - Penicuik

[]( to the Pentlands.

So we had the first of what will hopefully be a series of many Scottish mapping parties on Saturday, the idea is to pick somewhere which is reasonably accessible and still in need of mapping and get together and spend some time filling in some of the big gaps outside of the city.

There was enough of an outline of the roads to divide the town up into sectors and we headed off on bicycles and in cars to cover the town.

We meet back for lunch at the Peni Deli where we were able to compare our tracks on my eeePC, although my gpsbabel kung-fu failed me and I only managed to pull waypoints and not the full tracks from the Garmin. However it was still a valuable tool to see who had managed to cover what area’s, and importantly what was left to be covered.

We then split up to cover some of the area’s left, to map in the afternoon. I think that we may have got things slightly wrong here as we ended up with some duplication in terms of the area’s covered; however this isn’t necessary a bad thing as it has meant that some area’s have ended up much better than if a single person would have covered them.

But, there is a lesson for the future, especially when we have lots of people trying to map a small area is that we all would be better carrying paper maps with the area’s each person is covering written on them or possibly working much closer as a team through an area and dividing up to cover various road, paths, building etc.

Overall the day was a huge success, we managed to elevate Penicuik largely to the “mapped” status although I have no doubt that we will have missed some roads and certainly haven’t covered all the myriad of various footways around the estates.

View Larger Map

Overall, I covered 25 miles on my bike on my bike as shown by the blue line on the map above.

The team at the day.The team at the day.

It’s also worth putting out a big cheers to Bob for doing the hard work in organising this, and hopefully see some of you at the Glasgow mapping party on the 22nd May.

New Year. New Blog. Probably the Same Old Story.

New Year New StarterNew Year New Starter

So here I am again. I’ve switch the blog from serendipity to wordpress. Despite the possible security issues with  wordpress, I’ve a number of wordpress blogs and I have a script which should help me keep them all up to date using svn.

In addition, I’m in the process of moving my hosting from gradwell to a Virtual Machine hosted by bytemark partly because it will be cheaper for me and also because I was finding it hard getting support questions answered by  gradwell. This also means that at low volumes the response time from a dedicated server is much faster than from shared hosting. With the rollout of google’s new Caffeine infrastructure it’s likely that speed will become a factor in the search results.

So I’ve also built a new template for the site. It’s basically a cut down hacked around version of the standard wordpress kubrik template. From the previous site I’ve cut down on the use of colour and I’ve dropped headers entirely and kept a single sidebar. There are lots of tweaks that still need to be applied.



So, I’m hoping to provide regular updates on my usual activities… Progress on the bread making front, photography, OpenStreetMap, Bedlamites and whatever else comes up :) In reality I probably won’t end up doing anything for another 3 months.

New Passport.

New British PassportNew British Passport

Finally. I have a new Nationality and passport to go with it.

I’m impressed by the efficiency of of Identity and passport agency service. I had an interview with them on Tuesday to “confirm my identity” and the new passport arrived today.