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Haïti and the importance of open maps.
2010-02-08 11:30:32 - by Nicolas Malevé

A bit after the fact, but still very interesting information. How Openstreetmap has been used to help NGO’s work in Haiti after the earthquake. A specific webpage has been set up for the occasion: http://www.openstreetmap.org.ph/

A thorough article by Camille Gévaudan, in ecrans.fr (in French).

Other informations in opensource.com

Quick selection of images:

- Map showing the depth of flooding, using OSM road data.

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flood depth

- Port au Prince before and After

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Port au Prince, before and after

Project report "Busboîtescartesmaps"
2009-10-25 17:49:23 - by Nicolas Malevé

More than time for a project report on Busboîtescartesmaps project that took place last November.

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The project proposed to the participants to drift within Brussels using the post boxes as elements to create their itinerary. The walks were conducted by several guides (Peter Westenberg, Christina Clar and Natasha Roublov, Lottie Child) who imagined different experiments to understand space and urbanism differently.

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Walking blindfolded
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Ears enhancement

This project was the occasion to make a first software prototype, using the Tresor’s toolbox, to record the meanderings of people in the city.

Here follows a series of notes explaining the first steps of the project.

The scenario goes like this. We select a series of spots in Brussels. These spots correspond to the postboxes spread in the center of the city. Their locations cover a wide range of places and environments, you can find them near schools, streets with heavy traffic, dead end streets, parks, etc.

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Postboxes as anchors for a walk

A group of people go in the city with an audio recorder and a GPS and visit the spots. The clocks of the GPS and the recorders are synchronised. The GPS records all the time the tracklogs of the people and the audio device capture the sound for the whole duration of the walk. When they come back after the walk, the GPS data and the audio data are copied on a computer. By comparing the time code of the GPS track and the start time of the audio track, we can extract audio segments based on location. we can extract the audio recorded by the walkers when they were nearby the spots.

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The software captures the audio fragments recorded near the postboxes

These audio segments can then be placed on a digital map where the visitors can listen to them. The interface allow them listen to the chaos of all the sounds they have recorded near the spots or to select the sounds one by one, turn them on and off.

Some walks have concentrated on the atmospheric sound, recording the ambient atmosphere( ie. pool_atmosphere_long.ogg), or interacting with it (scratching the surface with shoes ie. scratching_the_ground.ogg).
Other guides gave instructions like describing aloud what one was seeing (STE-003-workingcopy_00m_43s_40h__01m_25s_90h.mp3, STE-003-workingcopy_35m_43s__38m_59s_40h.mp3, STE-003-workingcopy_09m_01s_80h__10m_37s_60h.mp3, STE-003-workingcopy_51m_30s__55m_28s_60h.mp3,STE-003-workingcopy_15m_55s_50h__19m_37s.mp3,STE-003-workingcopy_23m_17s_40h__27m_52s_90h.mp3)
Etc etc.


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The spots are displayed and all sounds played

By default, the software lets you listen to the ’mumbling’(all_walk-5.ogg,all_walk-0.ogg) of the whole last walk, or to select individual takes within this.

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The user can filter the sounds and select the walks

Using the menu, you can chose a walk or chose a date or a guide.

Software in use:
openstreetmap, setting the coordinates
gpsbabel, can extract data from a gps unit. can also select data by region and time
sox, given a start time, it can cut audio fragments for a certain duration
mp3splt, cuts an mp3 file in segments
gstreamer allows for playing audio files concurrently
perl, php and java to glue the elements.

The software prototype has been developed by Ivan Monroy Lopez and Nicolas Maleve. The pre-alpha soon available for download.

Urban Versioning System v1.0
2009-08-11 15:45:13 - by Nicolas Malevé

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A quasi-license by Matthew Fuller and Usman Haque.


Take the separate domains of Free Software licenses and of spatial construction. Consider each of them as a series of types of entity, composition and relations. What series might be invented to run across the two of them? This document is a quasi-license. If its constraints are followed in the production of spatial structures, whether buildings or more fleeting constructions, you, and others, will be able to make something new, or reversion something already there and you will be able to express clearly how others can participate or make use of the work you are creating.

The production of structures to articulate, produce and protect space, often coded under the disciplinary term ‘architecture’ is arguably one of humanity’s oldest activities. Countless technologies and legal frameworks have grown along with this process. Formerly one of the most collaborative endeavours, architecture now often functions in opposition to such collaboration. On the one hand it reinforces, and is reinforced by, whatever accretes as the currently dominant political system and some contend that this relationship makes it ineligible as a means for authentically confronting structures of power.i On the other, making buildings is a substantially collaborative effort, always involving teams and multiple kinds of expertise and decision making. All that may be required to free up construction is to render its repertoire of collaboration more expansive. Recent social, cultural and technological developments, particularly in the fields of software and electronics, suggest strategies for productive mechanisms that exist substantially within a given political frameworkyet still are able to provide clear indication of political alternatives. These alternatives in software, Free, Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) are highly pragmatic, do the work required of them but also reinvent forms of production in a way that set up real possibilities for freedom.

Why is this relevant to the making of urban spaces? For the first time in the history of humanity more of us live within cities than outside them.ii It is vital to begin to think through how we can become more consciously involved in their design, production and inhabitation. While there is a concern about how much individuals can, with good purpose, affect their environment it is clear that we are all, collectively, and in ways strongly shaped by the kinds of collectives we form, having some sort of ecological impact. Therefore ways of organising frameworks, in formal or less formal ways, for collectively productive activities are becoming increasingly important to attend to. A discussion of the processes through which humans construct cities could appear to support the argument that there is a distinction between “artificial” and “natural”. In fact it demonstrates the opposite: just as with any non-human entity we collectively construct our ecological and architectural frameworks and these frameworks tend to overlap with those of others. These overlaos have consequences. The difference is (or should be) that we consciously recognise our interdependence and thus must consciously act upon it.

Architecture, which exists at the very moment when space is defined, constructed and experienced through activity, is perhaps the most common shared enterprise of them all. A city is a city if it is lived-in: otherwise it is merely a pile of bricks, cables and concrete. Our interdependence however does not mean that anyone is ‘naturally’ dependent on the current state of cities or societies. The proportion of the earth’s inhabitants ‘depending’ on systems of neo-liberalism or oligarchy, for instance, are rather pitiful compared to the amount of natural and human resources they require to maintain their unabashedly vampiric positions. Such a situation deserves some regeneration.

In order to develop thinking about such interdependence and collaboration we might as well start from where it is blocked. The architectural profession remains relatively steadfast in a distinction that divides designers from users, even though technology increasingly provides grounds for diminishing that distinction, either through networks (electronic, social, geographical) that provide people with better access to cross-collaborative tools and multi-disciplinary inputs or through responsive building technologies that can place people themselves at the helm of the configuration/design of their own spaces.

In the eighties and nineties, computers’ impact on the architectural discipline was in the form of design aids. In the coming decades computers will increasingly be a part of the architecture itself, enabling user-centered interaction systems for configuring environmental conditions. We have already seen systems like those that track movements of the sun to control louvres outside a building, or movements of people to adapt light levels inside a building. We have seen “intelligent” devices that monitor temperature to provide us with optimum levels or even walls that change colour as necessary to complement interior designs. However, innovation in the design and construction of the built environment of the future, appears to be split problematically between large developers (who have their own particular efficiencies of scale to optimise) on one hand, and ubiquitous computing technologists (who are developing the systems that mediate the ways that we relate to our spaces and to each other) on the other, with architects finding themselves somewhat irrelevant. People-centered architectural interfaces and responsive building systems are being developed, not by architects but by computer scientists designers and artists working independently or through numerous institutions, with all the historical and commercial associations that these institutions are party to. .

This document proposes that another lesson can be learned for architecture from computing: the way in which software is made. Here, we want to concentrate on the current most significant mode of software development, Free, Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS), steering clear of ubicomp fantasies that may often obfuscate technological power structures.

Read more.

Gender Art Net
2009-05-12 16:21:04 - by Antoine Berlon

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OSP participe actuellement au développement du projet Gender Art Net.

Gender Art Net propose de créer un atlas interactif donnant accès à différentes vues et lectures d’un ensemble de positions artistiques feministes dans l’Europe contemporaine.
Soutenu par l’European Cultural Foundation le projet est conçu par la productrice et commissaire Bettina Knaup, en collaboration avec Constant vzw. L’équipe du projet se compose de curatrices, artistes, statisticienne, développeurs, de Berlin, Barcelone, Amsterdam (Dunja Kukovec, Laurence Rassel, Diana McCarty, Maria Perez, Katalin Timar, Urska Merc) et d’étudiants le la section European Media Studies de l’Université de Postdam (Lenore Hipper, Inés Matres, Sebastian Moering, Laura-Helen Rüge)

Le projet explore les relations entre genres, territoires, artistes, œuvres, groupes, réseaux et événements à travers différentes thématiques / fils de discussions.
La base de données du projet se nourrit d’informations encodées par l’équipe éditoriale et d’informations extraites dynamiquement sur les sites web représentatifs des artistes.

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OSP travaille à rendre visibles, dynamiques et interactifs ces différents niveaux d’informations.

En collaborations avec Anne-Laure Buisson (statistician, feminist activist, Brussels), nous cherchons à distribuer/spacialiser un ensemble de mots clés significatifs en relation avec les artistes.
Les mots extraits des sites sont filtrés via des techniques de statistiques multi-variées pour générer des représentation en deux dimension reprenant les mots et les artistes, indiquant les relations entre eux et les particularités du lexique et des centres d’intérêts des artistes. Une série de graphiques, agissants comme des clichés ou petites cartes thématiques de l’atlas sont ainsi obtenus.
Plus d’informations Ici

Les informations encodées par l’équipe éditoriale localisent les lieux d’origine et de travail des artistes, associent les artistes à des fils de discussion et réseaux, et relient des œuvres/projets à des lieux.

OSP développe une interface qui permettra de parcourir en ligne cette carte feministe du ciel artistique européen.

2009-05-08 13:39:01 - by Antoine Berlon

Wikibivouac is a collaborative map which reappropriates space to create new uses of the city.

The wiki element of contibutions from anyone aggregates information for improved transient occupancy of place.
To do this, the ZOOM team initiated the Hunting Days sessions, worldwide searches for locations of a particular resource - free, drinkable water points, one of the most critical resources to human existence. The first step was a venture into the streets Madrid in search of a free source of potable water. Discovering a fountain in the park, team members shot video to illustrate the potential uses of the resource, integrating the secnes into an instructional video introduceding the hunt and demonstrating the use of the interface to enter the points by street address or GPS coordinates. Data fields provided a way for hunters to enter info about the point, the way to access it, the times it is available, and other descriptive information. By the end of the first Hunting Day, (57) free drinkable water points had been entered into the database, and appeared in the worldwide map, with concentrations in Paris and Prague. When clicked, the points displayed the desciptive information which hunters had entered.

With the first hunt complete, focus shifted to the development of the openlayer tool which drives the Wikibivouac. Some points displayed at inaccurate locations. Developer Sami improved the accuracy of point placement from the interface, also creating a custom blue icon to represent water point locations. The points were shown by default on a black screen, but if users clicked the small plus-sign in the upper right corner, a small menu appeared which gave the option of viewing the points on two different map views.

After selecting the theme of the second hunt, a second instructional video was produced, keeping a humorous tone to encourage hunters to search for free warm spots where one can find shelter through the night. Again the object of the hunt was a free, available, underused resource important to human survival. The Wikibivouac collaborators await the results of the next hunt, which begins tomorrow.
See the site :http://www.wikibivouac.org/

Meipi-espaces collaboratifs
2009-05-06 16:46:14 - by Antoine Berlon

Meipi est une plateforme collaborative qui permet aux utilisateurs de publier des informations et des contenus sur un plan de ville. Les meipis choisis se réfère à un contexte spécifique. Celui-ci peut être local s’il représente une entrée sur un lieu donné ( un meipi de Grenoble par exemple) ou thématique s’il correspond à des sujets précis ( un meipi des villes belges).

Un meipi permet donc à une communauté d’utilisateurs de rassembler l’information concernant un endroit, une thématique et ainsi constituer une base de données collaborative.


2009-03-09 23:46:01 - by Nicolas Malevé

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« 4816 is about finding the minute points on the GPS grid in the urban area of Vienna.
The point N 48° 11,000´ E 16° 19,000´ is an example of these 185 intersections
of latitudinal and longitudinal minutes within Vienna. The intercept points are about
1.9 km apart on the north-south axis and about 1.25 km apart on the east-west axis.
The goal with 4816 is to find those intercepts with the support of the GPS tool and
document them photographically. At each intercept point a photo is taken in each
compass direction.

By traversing the GPS intercept points you take a journey through Vienna. The goal is
known. But what will be the nature of its environment? Will it be approachable? What
will be the special thing about it? It will be a interesting process to observe how
long it will take untill all 4816-points are found. A significant number of points
will be in buildings. A few will be in the middle of the Danube. These are two of the
difficulties we have encountered. It remains to be seen which ones await us.»

2008-10-28 16:34:48 - by Nicolas Malevé

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Post boxes are a familiar repetitive phenomenon in the urban landscape. Even when postoffices become privatized and disappear, these boxes remain firmly planted in the urban soil. Busboîtescartesmaps invites us to validate these entities as more than just utilitarian tools. Drifting from one box to another, the walks propose to climb them, to explore their musical qualities, to listen to the stories that echo from their interiors. Among other things the walks contribute to a collective mapping in which the trace of one walk echoes the existence of other walks. You can participate in the walks starting from Recyclart, where also the communal map can be consulted, and also the Atlas of subjective and collaborative maps of Brussels.

Read more

Postbussen zijn een bekend wederkerig aspect van het urbane lanschap. Zelfs nu posterijen en agentschappen geprivatiseerd worden en langzamerhand steeds meer verdwijnen, blijven de bussen ferm gewordteld in de stadse aarde.

Busboîtescartesmaps nodigt ons uit om de bussen te herwaarderen als meer dan enkel nuttige gereedschappen. De wandelingen onderzoeken de bussen als potentiele muziekinstrumenten, als stadselementen die beklommen,kunnen worden en als dragers van verhalen en herinneringen. De wandelingen dragen bij aan een collectieve audio-mapping die de verschillende onderwerpen van de wanddelingen met elkaar verbindt. Je kunt meewandelen vanaf Recyclart, waar ook de gemeenschappelijke kaart kan worden bekeken / beluisterd, samen met de Atlas van subjectieve kaarten van Brussel.

Lees meer

Les boîtes postales implantées dans le paysage bruxellois sont des points de repère familiers. Si les bureaux de poste disparaissent graduellement avec la privatisation, les boîtes, elles, résistent et jalonnent le territoire. Busboîtescartesmaps est une invitation à prendre ces boîtes pour plus que de simples conteneurs utiles. En dérivant de l’une à l’autre, les différentes ballades proposées en feront des montagnes à escalader, des instruments sonores ou des antennes déclencheuses d’histoires et de narrations. Ces ballades feront en outre l’objet d’une mise en carte commune où chaque trajet pourra faire écho à un autre. On pourra participer à cette cartographie en partant de Recyclart, qui abritera aussi la carte commune ainsi qu’un espace de consultation dédié à un Atlas des cartes subjectives et collaboratives de Bruxelles.

En savoir plus

More than the sum of the parts
2008-09-10 11:47:14 - by Nicolas Malevé

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Sonia in action

In his PhD’s dissertation, Ben Shaw discusses «how shared representations enhance design collaboration. I draw on examples from my field study at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where real-time teams have radically accelerated the design of next generation exploratory spacecraft and science missions to Mars. My results highlight the roles representations play in generating possibilities, synthesizing perspectives and consolidating commitment to action, thereby helping collaborative groups bring about preferred futures.»

For his dissertation he created a few network animations of the Nasa designers team meetings.
«The behavior of these networks reflects important aspects of the interaction taking place in a design meeting at any given time, including the level of support and commitment expressed for different proposals, the extent to which participants engage one another’s points of view, and the degree of integration of shared representations in conversation. This behavior can be visualized using animated layout diagrams such as those below (produced with a program called SoNIA and viewed in Quicktime movies). The qualitative information conveyed by these diagrams can be complemented by applying numerical metrics to the network structures, as described in the dissertation.»

Read more

Mapping Me / Mapping You
2008-04-06 19:44:14 - by Nicolas Malevé

April 25, 18:00 - 20:00, in Recyclart

A roundtable meeting about cartography between An Mertens (and other members of
Saturdays, Woman and Free Software)
, Liesbeth Huybrechts (Cultural studies PHD KuLeuven, researcher, curator),
Nicolas Malevé (Tresor software, Towards.be) and
Peter Westenberg (Routes + Routines) investigating GEO data control, different layers
and perspectives on the art of mapping, subjective cartographic perception and /Home as private territory.

  • w h e n : April 25, 18:00 - 20:00
  • l o c a t i o n : Recyclart, GARE BRUXELLES-CHAPELLE, Rue des Ursulines 25, Brussels

Exxon secrets
2008-01-17 20:43:34 - by Nicolas Malevé

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Exxon Secrets

Exxon secrets is a project by Greenpeace that documents Exxon-Mobil’s funding of climate change skeptics. It displays a network graph connecting the different organizations that receive funding from Exxon-Mobil and their spokespeople.

Meet Frida V
2007-10-06 15:30:43 - by Nicolas Malevé

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Frida V. is a rugged and comfortable bicycle equipped for efficient exploration and mapping of public urban spaces. It carries a small computer, GPS positioning device, 802.11 wireless network transciever and a basic audiovisual recording unit. The consolidated software and hardware assembly enables automated mapping of stumbled wireless networks, easy creation of location-tagged media and opportunistic synchronization with a server resource on the internet. In other words, let the warriding and rideblogging begin!

Read more orwatch the video (you will need thevlc player)

Thanks Wendy!

Cartographie collective et participative de l’Afrique
2007-07-15 12:23:14 - by Véronique


Cartographie collective et participative de l’Afrique... par des voyageurs... Données mise à disposition gratuitement de la communauté tracks4africa et vendues par ailleurs

Using GPS devices, the Tracks4Africa (T4A) community when touring Africa do meticulous record keeping of their travels. From this huge repository of high quality GPS data we have created a super accurate GPS map called the T4A Map. But the T4A Map is more than that, it is the collective navigational experience of the T4A community over the past 7 years. It shows Africa the way it is and how it is constantly changing. Click here for more informaton about Tracks4Africa’s maps.

Professed by the late Jan Joubert, we believe that conservation of environmental resources depends on access to INFORMATION and for the traveller to be INFORMED. This is the 4th dimension of eco-travel and it is the focus of Tracks4Africa.

We invite everyone with a GPS to join this pan African mapping initiative aimed at creating a popular African GIS culture where everyone can give a contribution towards the re-mapping of Africa ; to contribute by email your GPS track logs, waypoints, photos and INFORMATION which will ensure eco-tourism that is safe and environmentally correct.

Please note that this initiative is not aimed at mapping major urban centres (often for cities very good quality data already exists) but rather to focus on rural and remote Africa. Tracks4Africa also serves to impact positively on the small business initiatives (craft markets and community rest camps) of people in rural and remote parts of Africa.

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Locus Sonus
2007-02-09 22:06:26 - by Femke Snelting

Quick post from Nantes: listen to the world!

Locus Sonus Audio Streaming Project Map

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