Why we encrypt →

This protection is important for everyone. It’s easy to see how encryption protects journalists, human rights defenders, and political activists in authoritarian countries. But encryption protects the rest of us as well. It protects our data from criminals. It protects it from competitors, neighbors, and family members. It protects it from malicious attackers, and it protects it from accidents.

Security guru Bruce Schneier explains why encryption is important. Worth a read.

1 week Free and Open Source GIS Training Course at Hunter College, Summer 2015 Edition

This time, the course will be running from June 22–26, 2015:

This five day course will span the entire range of GIS data capturing, management, analysis, and visualization of geographic information using Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). These different elements of the GIS workflow will be discussed over the first four days and will then be applied in a final project completed on Friday. The course will combine lectures with hands-on sessions where participants will work with different free and open source GIS packages. Computers and server space to run the exercises will be provided. Participants will be issued a certificate of participation upon successful completion of their final projects. Since we expect participants from different organizations in the tri-state area, this training course also presents an excellent networking opportunity.

Head over to the Hunter College Continuing Education website for the details and registration.

André Skupin presenting at CUNY Graduate Center

Knowledge Visualization: From Abstract Space to Real Impact

When: Friday, May 1, 2015, 12:30‐13:30
Where: Rm C415A, Concourse Level, The Graduate Center, CUNY, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York

Abstract: In recent years, visualization has solidly established itself within the mainstream of contemporary society. From social media platforms to news outlets and academic publication channels, information is now routinely presented in highly engaging visual forms, often interactive and driven by live data. Whereas this has traditionally been applied to geographically referenced data and statistical, tabular data, displayed as cartographic maps and in various types of graphs, one now increasingly encounters so‐called knowledge visualizations. These are derived from either the content of knowledge artifacts, such as books and newspapers, or the explicit and implicit structures encountered among artifacts and those that produce or consume them, such as when the connections among social media users or co‐citations among academic articles are being mapped. The presentation will highlight how centuries‐old geographic thinking and cartographic principles and even GIS technology remain relevant today in the pursuit of novel visual expressions of abstract data. This will include numerous visual examples for a wide range of domains and data, from thousands of hospital records to millions of biomedical research articles, tagged music items, climate change records, or the history of Ebola coverage in scientific versus news publications. The presentation will also reflect on efforts to leverage knowledge visualization into generating societal impact, with strategies that include academic and commercial efforts and the building of a network of strategic partnerships in academia, government, and industry.

Bio: Dr. André Skupin is the Founder and Co‐Director of the Center for Information Convergence and Strategy (CICS) at San Diego State University. He combines a classic cartographic education and 20+ years of experience with the GIS market in the U.S., Europe, and South Africa with long‐standing interests in geovisualization, visual data mining and spatio‐temporal modeling. He has developed methods for analyzing human mobility, demographic change, and environmental sensor data in attribute space. Dr. Skupin is also known for his novel approaches to knowledge visualization, where much of his research has addressed how knowledge artifacts can be analyzed by combining traditionally disparate approaches from natural language processing, artificial neural networks and cartography. As Associate Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) at the University of Dubai and Co‐Founder of a knowledge management start‐up, Dr. Skupin has a strong interest in accelerated transition of technological innovation into diverse application areas, from biomedical knowledge management to financial analytics, demography, crime analysis, and environmental monitoring.

5th Workshop on Linked Science 2014— Best Practices and the Road Ahead (LISC2015) →

Linked Science has been accepted as a full day workshop for the International Semantic Web Conference again. This will be our 5th LISC workshop, and the theme for this year is Best Practices and the Road Ahead:

Scientific dissemination traditionally relies heavily on scholarly articles and presentations at conferences. However in the past few years, we have seen an increasing trend towards the publication of raw research data to facilitate verification and reuse. ​Linked Science champions the process of publishing, sharing and interlinking scientific resources and data along with complete experiment context, which is critical for understanding, reusing and verifying scientific research. Semantic Web technologies provide a promising means for achieving this practice. ​In the past four Linked Science workshops, we have focused on investigating benefits of this approach.

However, there is a still huge knowledge gap in understanding how to support Linked Science, especially for non­technical users who are new to this domain. To overcome this critical barrier to the adoption of the Linked Science approach, our 2015 edition proposes a focus on ​“Best Practices and the Road Ahead”, ​aiming for practical solutions that help applying Linked Science principles and open research discussions with regards to supporting this new practice.

We are particularly interested in tools and workflows that could facilitate the practice of Linked Science, and investigations identifying challenges and gaps to be addressed, with a special focus on less technology­savvy users​.

The workshop will be held October 11 or 12 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The website is up and running, the official call for papers will be circulated soon. Mark your calendars for the submission deadline on July 1st.

The Racial Dot Map: One Dot Per Person for the Entire U.S.


Very cool map by Dustin Cable at University of Virginia:

This map is an American snapshot; it provides an accessible visualization of geographic distribution, population density, and racial diversity of the American people in every neighborhood in the entire country. The map displays 308,745,538 dots, one for each person residing in the United States at the location they were counted during the 2010 Census. Each dot is color-coded by the individual’s race and ethnicity. The map is presented in both black and white and full color versions. In the color version, each dot is color-coded by race.

[Via Citylab]

Dumbsmart systems

Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 22.46.51

Here’s the submission system of a computer science (!) journal that thinks it is more accurate to manually type in my email address, rather than have it filled in automatically. Probably because of all the typos introduced by copying and pasting. D’oh.

Measuring continental drift with your phone →

So, you could imagine instead of leaving your phone to do nothing overnight you could instead leave it to record 8 hours of drift data. We’d anonymize it and record drift information just for the nearest 100 mile square or something so we don’t know where your house is. Then we could aggregate that data with other phones across the world and see if we get something that looks accurate out of it.

I have no idea whether that works, but it sure is a damn cool idea. Go to m.opendrift.org on your phone to participate.