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friday :: may 27, 2005
   
 
geoserver: open access to geographic data

High quality information about public spaces is just as much a public good as the public spaces themselves. Quality of life in public places - both built and natural - is largely determined by how well we, as a society, process and interpret the signals that this information sends us. By definition, data about human interaction with the environment has a geographic component; for this reason, at the GeoServer project, they are particularly interested in effectively sharing geographic data.

In general, this public geographic data is now stored and maintained in such a way that it is available to the public only at a relatively high cost of acquisition and integration. Perhaps even worse, this is also true for inter- and intra agency data sharing. Anyone who has ever had the need to use public geographic data is well aware that this is a non-trivial process. Furthermore, the public sector has yet to embrace a concept of a distributed and consistent stewardship of public geographic data.

We believe that this organizational paradigm stems from legacy technology that made it nigh impossible to interoperate at reasonable costs. However, with increasing ubiquity of physical data connection and the advent of new web service and data transfer standards, the technological possibilities have expanded. In the geographic data arena, the commendable work of the OpenGIS Consortium and its member organizations have provided the standards framework with which to solve these problems. The GeoServer project is an attempt to take some of the most relevant pieces of this framework and actualize them in a way that positively impacts the public sector's ability to act as a steward for public information.

At the GeoServer project, they don't believe in simply harassing the public sector to provide more open and seamless access to public information; overworked public servants get griped at enough from the public as it is. Instead, they offer the GeoServer project as a solution to them and others who would like to open access to geographic data resources of all kinds. It is their hope that this free, standards compliant server will allow for a better flow of geographic information by lowering the barriers to data providers who might not otherwise be inclined to serve their data.

The end result of all of this, as they see it, will be a powerful platform for enabling greater communication of public information from the within the public sector itself, from public sector to citizens, and between increasingly active online citizen communities. In fact, their primary aim is to help enable a critical mass of online, standards-based geographic data. They believe that once enough data is online, the resultant positive network externalities will lead to an upward spiral of geographic communication and a radically increased ability to understand and make decisions about our environment. If you share this vision, please join by developing or using the Geoserver project! >from *Geoserver project site*.

related context
>
some new mapping services: google maps (beta), yahoo! maps, driving directions, and traffic, A9.com yellow pages, msn virtual earth
> mapping hacks by schuyler erle, rich gibson, and jo walsh
> OpenStreetMap. the free wiki world map, a free editable map of the whole world.
> OpenGuides. a network of free, community-maintained 'wiki' city guides to which anyone can contribute.
> GeoURL. a location-to-URL reverse directory
> land/mark : locative media and photography. exhibition, april 8 - may 5, 2005
> mapping. 'the map is perhaps the quintessential meeting place of art and science.' exhibition, march 21 april 22, 2005.
> plan: pervasive and locative arts network. january 28, 2005. report by naomi spellman

imago
>
operator views geographic display of geoserver

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friday :: may 20, 2005
   
 
gridswarms

Imagine a large group of small unmanned autonomous aerial vehicles that can fly with the agility of a flock of starlings in a city square at dusk. Imagine linking their onboard computers together across a short-range, high-bandwidth wireless network and configuring them to form an enormous distributed parallel computer. Imagine using this huge computational resource to process the sensory data gathered by the swarm, and to direct its collective actions. You have now grasped the idea of a flying gridswarm. At Essex, researchers are working to bring this vision to reality.

Interesting factoid: a typical flock of starlings (about 2,000 birds) contains as much brain tissue as a single human.

As well as working on airborne gridswarms using UAVs, the project are interested in heterogeneous swarms that employ a combination of airborne and terrestrial robots. This allows, for example, the UAVs to direct a ground vehicle to a particular location, or for sensed data from the ground vehicle to be processed on the airborne swarm and its results relayed to a central point for archival.

Most of the pieces of the technical jigsaw have become available in the last few years: unmanned autonomous flying vehicles, swarm technologies and cluster computing. >from *Gridswarms site*.

related context
>
swarm intelligence is the property of a system whereby the collective behaviours of (unsophisticated) agents interacting locally with their environment cause coherent functional global patterns to emerge; provides a basis with which it is possible to explore collective (or distributed) problem solving without centralized control or the provision of a global model.
> beyond swarm intelligence: the ultraswarm. 2005
> how animals coordinate their actions. march 18, 2005
> foundations of swarm intelligence: from principles to practice by mark fleischer. february 2, 2005
> hypermobile swarming. from 'top-down surveillance for grassroots initiatives!' by brian holmes. 2004
> flashmob computing: democratize supercomputing. march 19, 2004
> spontaneous order. from 'synchrony: order is inevitable.' april 9, 2003
> smart mobs: new uses of mobile media. october 3, 2002
> swarm paintings: artificial art, next aesthetical rupture?. march 12, 2002
> autonomous nanotechnology swarm.

imago
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starling swarm facing a human brain

sonic flow
>
parallel linked flying computers [stream]
parallel linked flying computers [download]

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friday :: may 13, 2005
   
 
datacities: sensity

Thousands of motes can be deployed across the city for gathering data in wireless sensor networks. Used in large numbers they can communicate with one another via radio signals across the network. They can reconfigure themselves or self heal, so that the network stays stable. The data is funnelled through a system to a point where it can then be interpreted. The motes themselves can be deployed every thirty metres depending on the frequency, and any number can be place in a network. A new mote in just developed allows nine hundred metres without line of sight, suitable for a city wide proposal.

Each mote can sense its own position, wake up and find its neighbour in the network. They have low energy use, but the life expectancy is determined by the battery. In the future it is imagined they will run on solar power. So the concept is to embed the city with thousands of motes to gather data for the creation of artistic artefacts.

The motes can monitor sensors such as temperature, sounds, light, position, acceleration, vibration, stress, weight, pressure, humidity, and gps. The sensors take a constant stream of data which is published onto an online environment where different interface can make representations of the XML and from this lots of artistic interpretations can be imagined.

The first version will be deployed at the Watershed Media Centre Bristol, as part of research into the intelligent building

The city experience is a web of connected networks and multi layered threaded paths that condition us to the emotional state of the city space. In essence, the city fabric is a giant multi user multi data sphere. To take part you really have to put something back in, that's like life. In this case, to take part you have to input data so others 'may' see the output of the data response.

The city has a history of stories relative to time and place, stories from the street. Love stories personal and extreme, crime stories, stories that are small or that can affect global parameters. All of these spheres can be represented by media and therefore by data within the digital realm and becomes a data source so powerful so interwoven that its scale can only be imagined as metaphor. The size and scope of such an archive, of such rich mediated data experience would support many projects. As such it can be interpreted as history via one sort of interface or as a game via another sort of interface. A possible objective is to 'mediate' data into a conceptual artefact. With this perspective there are many unimagined threads of data and connections that describe our world that can be explored within which we can create artistic interpretations. >from *Sensity by Stanza*. 2004. via alex

related context
>
interactive city. isea, august, 2006
> ubicomp 2005. tokyo, september 1114, 2005
> what is urban computing?.
> grafedia: hyperlinks for the urban landscape. february 18, 2005
> plan: pervasive and locative arts network. january 28, 2005
> cityborg.net, a digital interface with our world. december 17, 2004
> the sensor revolution. march 2, 2004
> resonances and everyday life: ubiquitous computing and the city by anne galloway. december 27, 2003

imago
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mote city network

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friday :: may 6, 2005
   
 
biology of gender: defining male and female

Gender, often said to depend solely upon anatomy or hormones, may depend also on hard-wired genetics, according to new research that could help doctors and lawyers better understand the one in 4,000 babies born with both male and female traits.

"The biology of gender is far more complicated than XX or XY chromosomes and may rely more on the brain's very early development than we ever imagined," researcher Eric Vilain, M.D., reported.

"Surgical sex assignment of newborns with no capacity to consent should never be performed for cosmetic reasons, in my opinion," said Vilain, an associate professor of human genetics who also serves as a chief of medical genetics and director of research in urology and sexual medicine within the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. "We simply don't know enough yet about gender to be making surgical or legal assumptions."

William G. Reiner, M.D., agreed. "The most important sex organ is the brain," said Reiner, a psychiatrist and associate professor in the Department of Urology, Oklahoma University Health Science Center. "We have to let these children tell us their gender at the appropriate time."

An estimated 1 in 4,000 to 1 in 5,000 babies may be classified as "gender ambiguous" because intersex conditions affecting their genitalia, reproductive systems or sex chromosomes make an immediate assessment impossible, Reiner explained.

Yet, many laws -- including U.S. marriage laws -- assume that everyone is clearly male or female, a concept known in legal circles as sexual dimorphism, or binary law, legal expert Susan Becker of the Cleveland State University explained. At the same time, children with ambiguous genitalia continue to undergo surgical sex assignment. >from *Defining male and female*. Research casts further doubt on newborn sex-assignment surgeries. February 18, 2005

related context
>
studies expand understanding of x chromosome. new insights into the evolution of sex chromosomes and the biological differences between males and females. march 16, 2005
> intelligence in men and women. february 4, 2005
> everything you always wanted to know about sexes. june, 2004
> sex in the brain. february 17, 2004
> neurobiological basis of romantic love. november 26, 2003
> conflict interaction of couples. october 27, 2003
> biodiversity include sexual diversity: extended concept of biodiversity. june 14, 2002

imago
>
gender con_fusion

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