Right Now

⏳ Waiting for the APIs in the Cloud for what's going on right now ...

Where's My Tube Train? Ah, There's My Tube Train

Back in December of 2009, I wrote about Paul Clarke trying to solve the problem of where's my train; that there must be a definitive, raw source of real-time (train) information and that

I assert that train operators know where their assets are; it would be irresponsible if they didn't

Whilst the plethora of train operators that fragmented from the ashes of the old British Rail network haven't answered this challenge yet, Transport for London has, opening up just such data as part of the London Datastore API. In today's age of talented web mashup developers, if you release an API people will build things with it if the information is useful and interesting and that's just what Matthew Somerville of MySociety did at the recent Science Hack Day ... a (near) realtime map of the London Underground showing the movement of trains of all of the Tube lines. A screen grab wouldn't do it justice and it takes a while to load, so a video grab might help here.

Getting You There; The Battle Between PND, Mobile And Car

Attempts to predict the growth, success and uptake of technology are rife. Accurate predictions, less so. "There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home", said Ken Olsen, then founder and CEO of DEC in 1977. "I think there is a world market for maybe 5 computers" is apocryphally attributed to Thomas Watson of IBM in 1943.

It's easy to say "well ... duh" with the benefit of hindsight in 2010 but consider this. The first generation of in-car GPS units appeared in 1996. If anyone had told you that 14 years later you'd be running something infinitely more sophisticated and customisable, more powerful than one of Olsen's DEC VAX computers that I started out on, on a device that you stuck in your pocket and which, by the way connected to a global network of computers and was also a telephone, you'd probably not have believed them or suggested that at a minimum they cut their coffee intake back.

Two Weeks In; Of Dog Food, Mobile Handsets and Finnish Doors

Two weeks into the Nokia and Ovi experience and I can finally pause and catch my breath. It's been an intense two weeks and asking me what my impressions are of Nokia are akin to putting someone at the top of a very large, very steep and very fast roller coaster, watching them plummet down and then, before they're even out of their seat, asking them to comment on what the scenery was like. So I won't even try to comment on the scenery and will instead merely record the four things that have stuck in my mind.

I've been busy. I've been very busy. I've also been at home for all of two days in the last two weeks and whilst video chatting with my family over Skype is better than a plain old fashioned voice call it's no substitute for being at home more; but things will settle down into a more manageable routine over the coming weeks. Being busy has meant that I've kept my head down and tried to assimilate all the new information with which I'm being bombarded, a fact that's not gone unnoticed by Chris Osborne ... "severe drop off in @vicchi's bloggage and tweetage levels, means that maybe, just maybe, he is actually doing some work these days". Quite.

When Maps and Data Collide They Produce ... Art?

Last month I wrote that a map says as much about the fears, hopes, dreams and prejudices of its target audience as it does about the relationship of places on the surface of the Earth. With the benefit of hindsight I think I was only half way right.

Sometimes a map becomes more than just a spatial representation and becomes something else.

Sometimes a data visualisation becomes more than just the underlying data and almost takes on a life of its own.

When these two things meet or collide the results can be spectacularly compelling and produce, unintentionally ... art? Look at the image below ... filigree lace work? Crochet for the deranged of mind? Silk for the sociopath? Macrame for the mad? Sadly none of the above.

The Geotaggers' World Atlas #2: London

It's instead an image from the Geotagger's World Atlas but it's still unintentionally beautiful.