New paper - PACs and geosocial analysis

Apr
26

Understanding the dynamics of how people move about and use space in cities is important for planning.  The Stresscapes team's new paper, Personal activity centres and geosocial data analysis: combining big data with small data, uses spatial and temporal clustering of Twitter data in Toronto to detect individuals' home, work and recreational / social areas.  See the paper in the Agile GIS conference proceedings or the pre-publication version here

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Ashley Zhang - AAG Boston presentation

Apr
26

Ashley Zhang presented her work at the AAG conference in Boston this April.  Her presentation, 'Citizen reporting through geosocial media: opportunities and challenges' described finding from her Smart Sidewalks application which canvases citizens' views on how they can use geosocial tools like Twitter and Flickr to communicate with local governments.  Great work Ashley!

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New paper - Mining public opinions from geosocial data

May
24

Extracting useful information from VGI is always fun often challenging. Ashley Zhang has been working on methods to filter geosocial data (e.g. Twitter tweets), produce topic hierarchies for different geographies and time periods, and to identify messages relevant to local government.  See our new paper, Understanding Public Opinionsfrom Geosocial Media, for more details.

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New paper: Bumps and bruises in the digital skins of cities ...

Sep
16

Colin Robertson and I spend quite a bit of time (too much?) thinking about how UGC and VGI can be used to study individuals' use and perception of  their surroundings.  Lately we have been interested in how the uneven distribution of these data may affect research on populations, urban complexes and processes.  Our new paper uses Flickr data to explore unevenness in relation to socioeconomic inequalities across and within 481 US cities.  The abstract is below, you can view the pre-publication draft or the final copy at CaGIS.

Bumps and bruises in the digital skins of cities: Unevenly distributed user-generated content across U.S. urban areas.  DOI:10.1080/15230406.2015.1088801

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Taking the pulse of Toronto - Join the study!

Sep
04

What if you could pinpoint the happiest areas of Toronto on Fridays at 6 pm? Or find the scariest parks in the city, or the bus stops that cause the most frustration? Answering these kinds of questions requires knowing how large numbers of people feel as they move about the city and, ultimately, can help us learn how to make Toronto a better and happier city.  For more information and to join the study, see the Toronto Twitter Study page.

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Team UW-SDS places first in the Esri Canada App Challenge!

May
15

Ashley Zhang, Maju Sadagopan and Jonathan van Dusen, AKA Team UW-SDS, was awarded first place in Esri Canada's inaugural Centre of Excellence App Challenge! Team UW-SDS was one of three UW teams entered in the ten team competition.  Each team had a week to build an application that addresses an unmet or simply interesting need using Canadian open geospatial data. Their PredictION app as it allows users to simulate how their travel times could change once Waterloo Region's ION rapid transit system is operational in 2017.  Check out the article in the June 17th issue of GoGeomatics magazine.

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Graduate student openings

Dec
12

I am always glad to hear from prospective Masters or PhD students.  My research has centred recently on volunteered geographic information (VGI), public participation GIS (PPGIS) and the development of web-GIS tools to aid decision makers and the broader public to explore various aspects of land use change.  I also have a long-standing interest in coupling GIS and multi-criteria analysis (MCA) methods to help users evaluate alternatives in spatial decision problems and spatial data visualization. 

If these research areas appeal to you and you have strong skills in GIS, mobile programming and/or web-mapping coding (e.g. Javascript, html5, python), feel free to contact me by email.

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Welcome to Haydn and Maju

Sep
06

We are all happy to two new graduate students join the team this September.  Haydn Lawrence (MSc, Wilfrid Laurier), co-supervised by Dr. Colin Robertson (WLU) and Rob Feick, will be extending his research into VGI in the PhD program in Geography and Environment Management.   Maju Sadagopan (HBA, Waterloo) is also a new member of the Geography graduate program.  His research will focus on geoweb and public participation. 

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Congratulations to Ashley!

Mar
01

Congratulations go out to Ashley Zhang on successful Comprehensive Exam defense on Thursday, Feb. 27th.  Thank yous also are extended to her committee members, Drs. Colin Roberstson (Geography, Wilfrid Laurier), Peter Johnson (Geography, Waterloo) and Stéphane Roche (Géomatiques, Laval) for their thought-provoking questions and guidance!

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Andrew Blakey - Canada's 2013 Esri Young Scholar

Jun
10

We were all extremely proud of Andrew Blakey being selected as Canada's recipient of the Esri Young Scholars Award for 2013.  His Masters research centred on modelling the spatial variations in rooftop solar panel feasibility in two Toronto study areas and developing web-mapping tools to allow broad-based access and visualization.  Andrew used the ArcGIS Solar Analyst tools to model solar insolation for the roofs of some 35,000 buildings and developed a Flex-based web-mapping tool he developed, named SunSpot. Sunspot allows non-expert users to explore shading effects from nearby trees or structures and as  well as roof characteristics (e.g. slope, aspect, presence of heating and ventilation equipment) on potential rooftop solar panel installations.

Andrew will present his work at the annual Esri User Conference and the GIS Education Conference in San Diego (July 5-12) and also have opportunities to meet  Young Scholars from other countries as well as Jack Dangermond (Esri President) and Alex Miller (Esri Canada President).

Congratulations Andrew!

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