The brutal methods outlined in the Senate report →

The brutal methods outlined in the Senate report

I just cannot wrap my head around the fact that some people seem to think that this is somehow okay. Make sure you scroll down to read what they refer to as stress positions:

Over the course of the entire 20 day ‘aggressive phase of interrogation,’ Abu Zubaydah spent a total of 266 hours (11 days, 2 hours) in the large (coffin size) confinement box and 29 hours in a small confinement box, which had a width of 21 inches, a depth of 2.5 feet, and a height of 2.5 feet. The CIA interrogators told Abu Zubaydah that the only way he would leave the facility was in the coffin-shaped confinement box.

How to write (and not write) a good paper →

This advice by Roy Levin and David D. Redell is over 20 years old and was meant to be specific to systems papers – hence the title An Evaluation of the Ninth SOSP Submissions or How (and Hot Not) to Write a Good Systems paper. However, it’s main points are largely applicable to other technology-driven research as well, and they are certainly still valid today – maybe even more than 20 years ago. This is definitely a good read and a useful benchmark for your (and my) own papers.

Webinar: A GIS Framework for Citizen-based Environmental Monitoring in NYC

We’ll be giving a webinar on enviroCar for the Transportation Professional Affiliation Group of the NYS GIS Association this Wednesday afternoon:

EnviroCar is a citizen science platform that utilizes GPS and automobile sensors to collect data on driving behavior. Speed, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are recorded, anonymized and then shared to EnviroCar’s cloud service for analysis by scientists and planners.

Data from multiple users collected over time paint a detailed picture of traffic conditions in a city. Areas of high emissions, traffic jams, or other traffic flow issues can be identified. Thus the data can both inform traffic planning and augment emission data captured by stationary sensors. All software and data components of EnviroCar are open source and the data are available in various formats for mapping and analysis. Originally developed in Germany, CARSI is investigating the potential of expanding EnviroCar to New York City.

Register here to tune in.

1-week professional training course on Open Source GIS at Hunter College, NYC

After our first course in August, we received lots of positive feedback and inquiries about future iterations of the course, so here we go:

January 19–23, 2015, 9 AM to 5 PM

The Department of Geography at Hunter College of the City University of New York and Hunter Continuing Education are offering a five day professional course in Open Source GIS. This five day course will span the entire range of GIS data capture, 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. Since we expect participants from many different organizations in the tri-state area, this training course also presents an excellent networking opportunity.

The course is designed for experienced GIS users who want to broaden their skill set with expertise in the ever-growing world of free and open source GIS. Participants are expected to have a technical background and an interest in developing comprehensive workflows using multiple software components. While we do not require any programming experience, we will be working on the command line and developing some small scripts. Participants should be eager to master these valuable skills.

Carson Farmer and Carsten Kessler are Associate Directors of the Center for Advanced Research of Spatial Information (CARSI Lab) and Assistant Professors for Geographic Information Science in the Department of Geography at Hunter College ‐ CUNY.

Carson has been working with open source GIS projects, including as core developer for QGIS, since 2007. His research interests revolve around movements and flows of individuals, information, and commodities within urban environments, and the development and implementation of novel spatial analysis methods and software aimed at characterizing these flows.

Carsten has extensive experience in projects around open data and the exchange of geographic information, both in international research projects and as a consultant. His research interests are in the areas of information integration, volunteered geographic information, emergency management, and collaborative and participatoryGIS.

Both instructors will be present for the duration of the course to support the participants in the hands-on exercises.

Location, registration and fees
The course will be held at the Department of Geography’s computer lab in the Hunter North building at Lexington and 68th Street, Manhattan. Registration fee for this course is $1800 and includes access to computers and server space to run the exercises.

For more detailed information or to register, visit or contact the Hunter Continuing Education office at 212-650-3850 or .

Phantom Terrains →

Very cool project by Frank Swain, Daniel Jones, and Stefanie Posavec:

The map below visualises the wireless network landscape on a walk around BBC Broadcasting House. Stronger network signals are shown as wider shapes; the colour of each shape corresponds to the router’s broadcast channel (with white denoting modern 5Ghz routers), and the fill pattern denotes the network’s security mode.

Beneath the map is an audio recording of part of the same walk, as heard through the Phantom Terrains sonification interface. The sound of each network is heard originating from the router’s geographical location, producing clicks whose frequency rises with the signal strength — akin to a layered series of Geiger counters. Routers with particularly strong signals “sing” their network name (SSID), with pitch corresponding to the broadcast channel, and a lower sound denoting the network’s security mode.



GeoPrivacy’14 Proceedings

The proceedings of our 1st ACM SIGSPATIAL International Workshop on Privacy in Geographic Information Collection and Analysis have been published online:

We had a great workshop last week, with interesting discussions that showed how pressing the issue of privacy in geographic information is, and that there is still a lot to do. We are already planning some follow-up activities, so stay posted.