Just a brief addendum to last week’s post: I am puzzled how I could forget to mention initiatives like DataKind. Watch Jake Porway’s uplifting TEDx talk:


New article focusing on the system design and architecture behind our approach to filtering volunteered social media information:

Spinsanti, L, & Ostermann, F. (2013). Automated Geographic Context Analysis for Volunteered Information. Applied Geography 43 (September): 36–44. doi:10.1016/j.apgeog.2013.05.005.

If you can’t access the article, don’t hesitate to drop me a line for a pre-print.

or so the saying goes. At least part of it. Anyway, it’s been very quiet here for almost three months now. The main reason is that most of my spare energy at the moment goes into searching for new work – my current project (and with it funding) will end in a couple of months, so I’m spending my time less writing and more scouting. And flying a UAV, actually, because we’re following up on last year’s successful “Big Blue Balloon” experience. I’ll be posting about Ed (our “Environmental Drone”) soonish.

In the meantime, let me recommend some great posts by other bloggers.

First, there’s always something worthwhile on iRevolution – I am always awed by the frequency with which Patrick can publish high-quality blog posts. Yesterday’s post caught my eye in particular, because it shows Patrick isn’t only a keen thinker and great communicator, but also could do well as entrepreneur – check out his ideas for a smartphone application for disaster-struck communities here.

Then, I really love reading Brian Timoney’s MapBrief blog. It’s not only enlightening, it’s also fun – as long as you’re not the target of Brian’s sharp wit. Recently, he has run a series on why map portals don’t work. Most of the reasons should be pretty obvious, but equally obvious is the failure by most portals to do differently. Read up on it here.

On Zero Geography, Mark Graham shares with us the latest results from his research, and there have been several great posts recently on the usage of Twitter in several African cities. Visit it here to learn some surprising things about contemporary digital divides.

I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did, but I also promise you won’t have to wait for “strange aeons” before some original material is posted here.

For the past two years, I have been working mainly on an exploratory research project investigating the use of social media for fighting forest fires. That is, what information do social media contain that might be helpful for decision makers, fire fighters on the ground, and the public, and how can we utilize this information best. This project ended officially (and according to plan) last May, and my intention was to share a lot of information on this project on Geosocialite. For various reasons, this has not happened (this part not according to plan), but the main reason was that I wanted to share some data and interactive maps with you. Well, both plans have been stuck for a little while now due to institutional and corporate policies beyond my control. Sharing is not always easy…

I still hope that I will be able to show case some of the work before the forest fire season is over. In the meantime, those interested in the concepts behind our approach and what we implemented can have a look here: There you will also find some presentations and other stuff – we will keep on updating it.

Since I am now employed on another project (see below), I have to do any further work on GeoCONAVI in my spare time. Right now I am looking into machine learning for determining the topicality of some content, in other words, is some micro blog post about a forest fire or not. Some experiments with Weka on a set of annotated Tweets look promising, and I will share my experiences, insights and blunders soon here.

Another upcoming post will deal with some of the more entertaining aspects of my new main project (which is about Unmanned Aerial Vehicle data integration), and will involve a Big Blue Balloon…

Stay tuned 🙂