How to map everything (but you definitely shouldn’t)

I’m totally new to the unconference scene and have only ever watched from the sidelines, on Twitter. My experiences of academic conferences makes me think there must be something better, and I guess this is it, so thanks to Giuseppe Sollazzo for inviting me.

By way of introduction, I’m an urban studies academic at the University of Sheffield but I spend a good bit of my time doing data analysis and mapping and sharing it with others. I’ve also collaborated on quite a few data journalism projects over the past 5 years, mainly with Simon Rogers at Google (and previously when he was at the Guardian). You can find out more from my Twitter and also on my blog. Most of what I do has some kind of geo or map component, so that’s what I hope I can bring to OD Camp 3 in Bristol.

With this in mind, I thought I’d post a few notes on the general topic of ‘how to map everything’, with the proviso that this isn’t generally a good idea, even if it can be fun. The rise in availability of open data, open source GIS and social media has created the perfect mix of methods and fora for sharing the results of geo stuff, but sometimes there can be a bit of a conflict between medium and message.

Or, to put it another way, sometimes a map isn’t the best approach or sometimes the viz is so beautiful/captivating that the message gets overlooked. Or, sometimes the maps we see online should never have been made in the first place. But, really, I just hope that I can share some of my knowledge on open source GIS (specifically, QGIS) and open geodata and learn from others as well.

In preparation for this, I also put a few slides together to help guide my thinking. I’m only going to be able to attend for the Saturday but hopefully that’ll be enough time for me to figure out the unconference format and get to grips with how it all works.

If you take a look at the slides you’ll get a sense of the kind of stuff I’m interested in and want to discuss/collaborate on at OD Camp 3. See you there!

Screenshot 2016-05-08 at 14.55.33

Click to view slides

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