Monday, 31 December 2012

Measuring the Impact of Wikipedia for organisations (Part 1)

The following series of posts will be about analysing the impact and use of Wikipedia by organisations. For convenience I have used the example of the Natural History Museum (NHM), as it's the one I am most familiar with. Doing such studies on an unfamiliar organisation might prove difficult.

The linkypedia project set out to answer these kinds of questions.  A local installation of linkypedia,  with modifications, has been used to generate the statistics presented here. All links are from pages on Wikipedia to pages on the domain http://www.nhm.ac.uk/.

Measuring Impact via Page Views
One (probably flawed) measure of an organisation's Wikipedia impact is the number of page views on Wikipedia pages that reference that organisation.

 The following data are total page view from December 2007 to December 2012 (and ignores the fact that these pages might not have had links for all of this time).
Wikipedia PageNumber of links to www.nhm.ac.ukPage views Dec' 07 - Dec' 12
Cat 19,958,264
Charles Darwin 15,323,809
Dinosaur 10,740,744
Horse 10,692,007
Great Britain 9,669,059
Chocolate 9,243,390
Tomato 6,756,291
Tyrannosaurus 6,012,785
Cattle 5,868,187
Homeopathy 5,378,978
Taxonomy 5,303,333
Dodo 5,210,713
James Cook 4,977,016
Nature 4,874,884
Pangaea 4,827,257
Binomial nomenclature 4,514,425
Moose 4,432,025
Giant squid 4,209,529
Eggplant 3,910,621
Largest organisms 3,585,714



There's a pretty good correlation between this list and things the NHM is known for, I guess some people might be surprised that homoeopathy makes the list but the link is to a debate between Peter Fisher and Ben Goldacre held at the museum.

The graph below shows that of the 13,000+ articles linking to www.nhm.ac.uk most are in the long tail of page views, and relatively few articles with links to the NHM have over 1,000,000 page views.
 Another way of measuring Wikipedia impact might be to see how many links to an organisation's website there are on pages that relate to the organisation's core activities. The following table shows the Wikipedia articles with the most links to the NHM's website.

Wikipedia PageNumber of links to www.nhm.ac.ukPage views Dec' 07 - Dec' 12
Sematurinae 5,722
Wildlife Photographer of the Year 24,226
Chris Stringer 48,001
Natural History Museum 945,997
Nemapogon granella 5,996
Bumblebee 2,567,265
Systematic & Applied Acarology Society 96
Nemapogon 3,001
Systematic & Applied Acarology 209
Amastus 3,833
Tinea pellionella 23,723
Niditinea 1,805
Niditinea fuscella 3,045
Tinea trinotella 3,443
Tineola bisselliella 196,615
Monopis laevigella 6,212
Monopis obviella 2,359
Ectropis 6,279
Perizoma 6,880
Drepanogynis 1,492


Most of these are species or genera or months, so there is some obvious scope for improvements in other areas of study. (In fact there are a few thousand stub articles on lepidoptera that have little more than a link to a catalogue on the NHM website).  Chris Stringer is a member of NHM staff, and the Wildlife Photographer of the Year is owned jointly by the NHM and the BBC.

More results to follow.

Creative Commons Licence
Measuring the Impact of Wikipedia for organisations (Part 1) by Ed Baker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Adobe Acrobat JavaScript for extracting first page of PDFs

Just so I don't forget!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

ViBRANT Citizen Science Workshop (24-25 January 2013)

Organised by Ed Baker (me) & Sarah Faulwetter to set a framework for future development of the Scratchpads BioBlitz profile (demo site) and the HCMR's ViBRANT deliverable of a Citizen Science module for Drupal.

Workshop Day 1: What can we learn from successful citizen science projects?

Morning (workshop participants & invited NHM staff)

Presentations from successful citizen science projects (background to the project and what has made them successful)

Afternoon (workshop participants)

Round table discussion on how ViBRANT and Scratchpads can participate in citizen science with emphasis on:
  • What would be useful for us to do and how we might be able to engage with existing projects?
  • What user-groups exist, how are they served by existing projects, and who can Scratchpads/ViBRANT target?
  • What are the outcomes of these projects (fun/educational awareness/scientific data)?
  • What quality of data can be collected?
  • How can data gathered be reused (Biodiversity Data Journal/GBIF/EoL)?

Workshop Day 2: Creating a citizen science plan for Scratchpads & ViBRANT

ViBRANT attendees

  • Development plan for HCMR’s citizen science module and can we incorporate it into the BioBlitz profile
  • Can we incorporate citizen science tools into Scratchpads in general (e.g. crowdsourcing image transcription).

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Playing with Flickr and CartoDB

Last Friday we had a ViBRANT sponsored workshop about CartoDB, the open source mapping and visualisation product from Madrid/New York based Vizzuality. The context of the workshop was possible integration of CartoDB with the Scratchpads and OBOE projects in the context of visualising biological datasets. The notes for the workshop demonstrations are here and are what the work done here is based on.

Not having a suitable dataset to hand I have been playing with making maps of the photos I have shared on Flickr. Flickr does provide a map view of a user's photographs (here's mine) although it is very limited in functionality - and unless you only have a handful of photographs you can't get a map view of all of your photographs.

I have previously visualised my Flickr stream by hacking the Drupal flickrsync module to save geolocation data with the Location module. Even with clustering the map points for 7,000+ images the results are slow to load: Drupal Flickr map of my photographs. The plus side of this work was that with just modifying the output of the view I could get a CSV file of my Flickr stream which I easily imported into CartoDB.

The basic map produced by CartoDB from this file is below:

Next I wanted to make a map of countries that are represented in my Flickr stream (perhaps I really wanted to play with PostGIS and polygons). This required downloading a shape file of all the countries from thematicmapping and uploading the file to a new table in CartoDB (CartoDB will accept the URL to the zip file so you can do it without downloading the file if you choose). The following SQL was applied to the world countries table:

This results in the following map:


Finally using some PostGIS I was able to make this map a little more accurate by splitting the countries into separate polygons (e.g. separating Hawaii from the continental United States, Northern Ireland from Great Britain).


Here's the new map:
 

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Drupal Developer | Natural History Museum, London

Become part of an expanding team of developers working at the cutting edge of information science and biodiversity research. The Natural History Museum London is recruiting a Drupal developer (fixed term until end of November 2013, £34,853 per annum plus benefits) to work on the Scratchpad project (http://scratchpads.eu) as part of a major effort to help researchers share and manage biodiversity data on the Web.

Key tasks and responsibilities include:

•   Development and support of Drupal Modules and Themes

•   Data parsing and content construction

•   Supporting users in the development of their sites

•   Interfacing with the user support team

Applicants should be able to work on their own initiative and be proficient in module development, theming and quality assurance. Mentored training and support will be provided. Successful applicants will work with members of the developer and user communities to manage and parse biodiversity data, in addition to helping with the design, construction and testing of Drupal modules and sites.  The project includes opportunities for international travel as part of the development team.

Applicants should have at least 1-2 years experience in Drupal development (version 6 & 7) with hands on experience configuring Views, CCK and other contributed Drupal modules. This includes working with PHP, MySQL, SQL, XML, HTML and CSS. If you have a profile page on Drupal.org, please make reference to this within your application along with Drupal websites you have developed.

For job specific enquiries contact s.rycroft@nhm.ac.uk

Absolutely, Positively, Strictly - NO RECRUITMENT AGENCIES.

For a full job description and to apply online please visit the Natural History Museum website. http://www.nhm.ac.uk/jobs

Closing date: 30th November 2012

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Audible for iPhone - crashing and can't delete files

 
This is an annoying bug I have found in the latest Audible for iPhone app. Audiobooks seem to download entirely but the fact they have finished doesn't seem to register with the system. The result is the app crashes when you try to play them (or on start up) and you can't delete the files from your library. Everything is fine however if you are offline.

This problem can be fixed by turning your phone into airplane mode in Settings, and then reopening the app. You can now play the audio files without the app crashing - but it is still not possible to delete them from your Library, it is however still possibly to delete them via the Now Playing / Last Played screen. Play the troublesome file and then click the button in the top right of the screen to bring up the Bookmarks/Details/Chapters screen.


Select the Details tab and scroll to the bottom of the page.


You can now remove the problematic audiobook from the device. You can then download it again after turning off airplane mode and everything should be fine.

This problem seems to occur when downloading from patchy connections and/or when the app is downloading in the background.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Postcodes to grid references with Code-Point Open

I've recently been playing around with using the NBN Gateway webservice to implement something along the lines of ZipCodeZoo or the Postcode plants database. This project will involve using NBN Gateway data to provide a list of species for a given taxonomic group within a few kilometres of your location (more later).

Smartphones and modern browsers are able to report their current location for use in such services, bit what if you want to check what species are found near your home while you're at work? Being able to use post codes would be an additional  nice to have feature.

As part of the UK Government's Open Data initiatives the Ordnance Survey have released Code-Point Open - which is essentially a series of CSV files with data that allows you to move from a postcode to an OS Grid Reference.

An Aside....
The OS Grid Reference can be converted to OSGB36 latitude and longitude coordinates, which can then be converted to WGS84 coordinates (e.g. to map postcodes on Google Maps). This involves some pretty in depth mathematics, but thankfully people have made a number of libraries available for doing this, such as this JavaScript library and this PHP library.
The download of this data package contains in the Data folder 120 CSV files, named after the first text portion of the postcode (some information of the structure of UK postcodes).



This isn't really ideal (I want to get these into a MySQL database) so first of all I had to merge all of these files into a single CSV file. On a Mac or Linux machine this is as simple as navigating to the Data folder in the Terminal and executing the following command:
cat *.csv > aall.csv
The resulting all.csv file is pretty large (156MB-ish). Calling it aall.csv instead of all.csv just puts it at the top of the list which appeals to my aesthetic sense.

The next step is to create a new table in MySQL:


Then we import our aall.csv into MySQ:


This imports all of the data correctly into MySQL - however some of the fields are enclosed by quotation marks ("). All that remains for us to do is to trim these from the appropriate columns:


Now that the data is all in MySQL we can get the OS Grid Reference (i.e. the northings and eastings columns for a postcode) using the following query:


iOS6 Makes Twitter go a bit crazy

video

Friday, 7 September 2012

Embedded terminal in gedit (Ubuntu 12.04)

To get an embedded terminal in gedit eneter the following into a Terminal window:


sudo apt-get install gedit-plugins

Open gedit then go:

Edit > Preferences > Plugins
enable 'Embedded Terminal'

To view the embedded Terminal:
View > Bottom Panel (or Ctrl + F9)

The present default configuration of the embedded Terminal on Ubuntu 12.04 uses white text on a white background, which is pretty ridiculous. You can either adjust the font colour of your default Terminal or use the following workaround:

Work around to get gEdit embedded Terminal usable on Ubuntu

Run the following from the Terminal:
sudo apt-get install dconf-tools
dconf-editor

In the Configuration Editor that appears navigate to the required plugin:

org > gnome > gedit > plugins > terminal

uncheck 'use-theme-colors' and then restart gEdit.


Added screenshot on recommendation of Ross:

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Psocoptera Introduction Workshop (September 2012)


Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Science Uncovered 2012



For the third year in a row the NHM will host Science Uncovered as part of European Researchers' Night.

"At Science Uncovered 350 of our scientists and visiting experts will gather across the Museum's galleries and outdoors in a fabulous show of displays, tours, experiments, challenges, discussions and more.  
This is a unique chance to interact with the latest scientific research and experience the Museum in a festival atmosphere. 
We have 6 bars and The Restaurant open on the night. Hot and cold food is available.
Our Museum in Hertfordshire joins in with its own Science Uncovered at Tring event. 
European Researchers' Night is a European Commission initiative. The Museum would like to thank the Commission for the opportunity to participate in this event."


ICZN allows electronic only publication of animal names

"Following four years of highly charged debate, the rules for publication of scientific names of animals have been changed to allow electronic publications to meet the requirements of the stringent International Code of Zoological Nomenclature. In a landmark decision, the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN) has passed an amendment to its rules that means a publication in an electronic-only scientific journal will be ‘legitimate’ if it meets criteria of archiving and the publication is registered on the ICZN’s official online registry, ZooBank."

From ICZN Amendment on electronic publication

Short press release
Long press release

Read the amendment at ZooKeys

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Biodiversity Technologies conference


Tuesday, 21 August 2012

English Heritage Tour: Portland Castle

Part of a tour of locations owned or managed by English Heritage (part 1 of many): Portland Castle - built in the 1540s as one of the Device Forts to protect the natural harbour of Portland from the threat of invasion from the French and Spanish. The Castle has a squat design to minimise target area and curved walls to deflect incoming fire.


(Non original) cannons


View from the castle over harbour

Modify weight of field programmatically (Drupal 7)

The key to this are the two functions field_read_instance and  field_update_instance. This can also be used to modify any of the other available properties of the field instance (apart from the entity_type, field_name and bundle).


Monday, 20 August 2012

New open access data journal from Pensoft



Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Comaprison of IPTC, EoL DwC Media & Audubon Core

As part of the eMonocot and Scratchpads projects I have been doing some research to help us decide what metadata we will allow users to add to media by default. For images the International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC) standard is generally considered de facto. While it forms a good basis for the curation of metadata of biological images and videos, in itself it is inadequate. Two schemes for extending this basis are the EoL Media DarwinCore extension and the more comprehensive Audubon Core (a proposed TDWG standard).

In order to compare and contrast these three standards to aid in our decision making I created this spreadsheet which may be of use to others.


Saturday, 21 July 2012

33rd ANNUAL ORTHOPTERISTS MEETING 7th November 2012

Dear Fellow Orthopterist,

This year we will be meeting at the Natural History Museum, London on Wednesday, 7th November from 14:00 to 20:00. Details of the venue at the museum will be sent out with the draft programme in September.

The meeting will be convened as a special interest group of the Royal Entomological Society and everyone is very welcome to attend whether to present research or just to listen and meet other orthopterists. This year, as last, we are aiming to put together a programme which will have a mixture of presentation lengths. Both initial results and ideas, as well as completed research are welcome. You can offer talks or posters on grasshoppers, crickets and related groups (cockroaches, earwigs, stick insects, mantids).

There will be space to display posters and other exhibits as usual, and computer projector facilities will be provided. To date, we are expecting talks on cockroaches of the genus Ectobius new to Britain, the mobile phone Orthoptera key, the new Orthoptera atlas, and communication in Speckled Bushcrickets (Leptophyes punctatissima).

The copy date for the next issue of the RES magazine Antenna is 31st July and while we realise that this is very short notice, if you know you would like to present something please let us know as soon as possible so details can be included.

The total cost will be £12 per person to cover tea and biscuits during the afternoon and a cold buffet with wine at about 18:00.

We hope that you will be able to attend the meeting. Please see below for registration details.

Yours sincerely,

David Robinson
d.j.robinson@open.ac.uk

Björn Beckmann
orthoptera@ceh.ac.uk

Registration

Please reply providing the following details by 25th October 2012 (talk titles as soon as possible please):
  • the title of any talk or poster you would like to give, details of specimens you will bring with you, etc. Please also let us know about any particular display equipment etc. that you require.
  • your title, first name, surname, institution (for name badge)
  • any special dietary requirements

Payment

£12 to include tea and biscuits and a cold buffet with wine.
either
Send a cheque made payable to the Royal Entomological Society to:
Ms Kirsty Whiteford, Senior Administrator, Royal Entomological Society, The Mansion House, Chiswell Green Lane, St Albans, Herts, AL2 3NS.

Pay by bank transfer:
Royal Entomological Society, sort code 30-97-25, account number 01921533.
Please ensure that you include your name and “Orthoptera SIG” for reference.

Pay by debit or credit card over the phone. Please phone Kirsty on +44 (0)1727 899387.
(Please note that there will be a 2% admin charge payable on all credit cards)
Overseas visitors will probably not be charged or can pay on the day.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Part Time e-taxonomy Support Specialist, Natural History Museum (closing today)

Become part of an expanding team of developers and informaticians working at the cutting edge of information and biodiversity research. The Natural History Museum London is recruiting an e-Taxonomy support specialist (14 month, part time, £16,403 per annum, pro rata equivalent to £27,339) as part of a major effort to help researchers share and manage biodiversity data on the Web.
Key tasks and responsibilities include:
  • Run the Scratchpad helpdesk, respond to user queries
  • Develop training courses and assist in their delivery
  • Maintain the on-line, context-sensitive help system
  • Develop a personal Scratchpad on a taxonomic topic
The successful applicant will manage the help system for Scratchpads, be the primary point of contact for user enquiries, assist in the development of user support functions and engage in outreach and promotional activities. As part of this work we encourage the successful applicant to develop a Scratchpad for their own project research using taxonomic content they have acquired through research activities. This post would ideally suit a taxonomist with practical experience managing taxonomic data and an interest in eTaxonomy. This is a part time post equivalent to 3 days per week.
For job specific enquiries contact vince@vsmith.info. For a full job description and to apply online please visit the Natural History Museum website. http://www.nhm.ac.uk/jobs

Absolutely, Positively, Strictly - NO RECRUITMENT AGENCIES. Closing date: 9th July 2012

Two new Drupal developer posts (closing today)

Become part of an expanding team of developers working at the cutting edge of information science and biodiversity research. The Natural History Museum London is recruiting two junior/mid-level Drupal developers (18 month contracts, £34,508 per annum plus benefits) as part of a major effort to help researchers share and manage biodiversity data on the Web.
Key tasks and responsibilities include:
  • Development and support of Drupal Modules and Themes
  • Data parsing and content construction
  • Supporting users in the development of their sites
  • Interfacing with the user support team
Applicants should be able to work on their own initiative and be proficient in theming, coding, configuring and quality assurance. Mentored training and support will be provided. Successful applicants will work with members of the developer and user communities to manage and parse biodiversity data, in addition to helping with the design, construction and testing of Drupal modules and sites.  The project includes opportunities for international travel as part of the development team.
Applicants should have at least 1-2 years experience in Drupal development (version 6 & 7) with hands on experience configuring Views, CCK and other contributed Drupal modules. This includes working with PHP, MySQL, SQL, XML, HTML and CSS. If you have a profile page on Drupal.org, please make reference to this within your application along with Drupal websites you have developed.

For job specific enquiries contact vince@vsmith.info. For a full job description and to apply online please visit the Natural History Museum website. http://www.nhm.ac.uk/jobs

Absolutely, Positively, Strictly - NO RECRUITMENT AGENCIES. Closing date: 9th July 2012

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Online Taxonomy Meeting at Linnean Society of London

I'm going to this - feel free to come too.

ONLINE TAXONOMY MEETING
20 SEPTEMBER 2012, LINNEAN SOCIETY OF LONDON

Is the Internet really making taxonomic information more accessible to its many actual or potential users? Certainly much effort is being made to put such content online, but how effective are we in achieving this end? This one-day meeting, with its line-up of international speakers, aims to provide an update on progress. It will feature a number of substantive online taxonomy initiatives and a critical review of the current position. The meeting will address the question of whether users’ needs are being met and will conclude with a talk (also serving as an Evening Lecture) on the use of informatics in related disciplines. The event should appeal to all producers and users of taxonomic data.

For the programme and registration form see:
http://www.linnean.org/fileadmin/events2/events.php?detail=331

This event will be followed by an evening meeting:

PALEOCLIMATIC IMPACTS ON BIODIVERSITY AND ECOSYSTEMS – INSIGHTS FROM ECOINFORMATICS
18.00, 20th SEPTEMBER, LINNEAN SOCIETY OF LONDON

This event is free and open to all, there is no need to register for the evening meeting.

Adding Biblio fields programmatically in Drupal 7

Previosuly I showed how to create a new Biblio type in Drupal 7 - this code covers the next step: adding additional Biblio fields to a Biblio type in code.


Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Madness

Not content with performing on top of Buckingham Palace - they also put on a good show. Shame about some of the other "stars" they had on before.

Google Images by race

A little study of what happens when you search for  "American", "African", "European" and then "Asian" on Google Image Search.

I'm not quite sure what to make of the results - but here you go...

American (patriotism)

African (culture)

European (bureaucracy)


Asian (I guess beauty if you were to be polite)



Monday, 4 June 2012

Biblio Scholar

Various Scratchpad sites I work with, most notably the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (@ZooNom) and the Natural Sciences Collections Association (@Nat_SCA) both use Scratchpads as a platform the online components of their journals (Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature; NatSCA News).

In order to provide some increased metadata to aid search engines in indexing this kind of content I wrote the Biblio Scholar module for Drupal which provides some metadata that may be used by Google Scholar (see Inclusion Guidelines) and potentially other services.

Some more background to the Biblio Scholar project.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

On air travel

Yes - this hasn't got any better.....

"It is a measure of the newness which still infects air travel that, although once in the air it completes a journey between two points with the utmost dispatch, at the same time it condemns travellers to dreary hours of waiting and preparation on the ground; to tiresome formalities with Customs, Exchange and Immigration controls at all kinds of places, and finally to cumbersome and ponderous journeys by road to and from aerodromes. It took us two hours after leaving Victoria, to get into the air."

- Laurens van der Post (1952) Venture to the Interior (The author was flying from Heath Row aerodrome)

Friday, 1 June 2012

Creating a new biblio type programatically in Drupal 7

How to create a new biblio type in code in Drupal 7:


This is just a modification of the function biblio_admin_types_add_form_submit($form, &$form_state) and run during install of the custom module (using hook_install() ).

Managing Scratchpads tools in eMonocot

Originally published on the eMonocot blog: Managing Scratchpads tools

As I mentioned before, one of the things that tailoring Scratchpads to a particular community or project allows us to do is to develop functionality that is specific to that community or project. Within the eMonocot project we have developed some functionality that is useful across all of the eMonocot Scratchpads (e.g. the IPNI webservice) while other parts (e.g. the Swiss Orchid Foundation images) are useful only to a few of the Scratchpads.
In order to allow site maintainers to pick and choose which subset of these functions they would like I have added a number of the optional fetaures to the Scratchpads Tools feature to make it easy for site maintainers to add/remove these functions with a single click.
eMonocot tools

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Create Drupal 7 biblio nodes programatically

The biblio module for Drupal is almost certainly essential for anyone trying to use Drupal as a platform for doing science. It is a large module with lots of functionality but parts of it are pretty badly documented (that is: you can read through the code but just Googling might not throw up what you need).

 The first issue - how to create a biblio node programatically (that is: in code).


Some things to note:

1) You must set the type of the biblio you wish to make (Journal Article, Book chapter, etc) before the call to node_object_prepare().

2) To set the authors you must set $node->contributors as an array (like that above) and also call biblio_insert_contributors($node).

The above example sets only a fairly minimal  number of the biblio fields, but any of the biblio fields may be set using this method.

The field 'start page' in biblio entries is for some reason stored in the field biblio_section (that's not an error in the code above)l.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Using IPNI to autocomplete publication names

Originally posted on the eMonocot blog: Using IPNI to autocomple publication names
One of the advantages of making a custom Scratchpads profile for a particular group of users is that this allows us to tailor the functionality of a site to the specific needs of a particular community or project.
Scratchpads have been developed to be neutral to the nomenclatural codes (unlike SpeciesFile for example, which is developed to precisely follow the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature). While we want to keep as much as we can of what we do within eMonocot useful to zoologists, there are a few cases where the restriction to a subset of botany has allowed us to develop some useful botanically focused extensions. The inclusion of images from the World Orchid Iconography database is an example of this as I blogged about recently.
Another example that we have released today is a link to the International Plant Names Index (IPNI). IPNI has a databse of botanical publications and we now use their webservice to autocomplete various fields on the 'add bibliography' form on the eMonocot Scratchpads.


The IPNI publication autocomplete function in use. Click to enlarge.


Of course this integration with IPNI has applications for many non-eMonocot botanical Scratchpads - a good example of how the eMonocot project can contribute to the wider Scratchpads community.

Friday, 18 May 2012

eMonocot and Swiss Orchid Foundation collaboration

Originally posted on the eMonocot Blog

Back in April Ruth Bone, Paul Wilkin and I visited the Swiss Orchid Foundation in Basel, Switzerland to discuss ways in which we could work together. As part of this collaboration it was decided that the eMonocot project could display images and digitised specimens from the Swiss Orchid Foundation's database of World Orchid Iconography on the eMonocot Scratchpads and portal.

Swiss Orchid Foundation and eMonocot
Paul Wilkin talking to volunteers at the Swiss Orchid Foundation

The images will be automatically harvested at most once per week for each taxon using a custom webservice implemented by Dominique at the Swiss Orchid Foundation. We are currently testing the service on the Cypripedioideae Scratchpad (e.g. Phragmipedium besseae) where the World Orchid Iconography images are now shown alongside images uploaded to the site directly and those harvested from the Encyclopaedia of Life.


Swiss Orchid Foundation images alongside those uploaded to the site and those harvested from EOL

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

City technology art



When I went to Barcelona recently to meet the guifi.net and Quick Mesh Project teams I stayed with Efrain from guifi.net. This video shows Efrain and his friend experimenting with using wifi technologies to create art as part of the AirCity project.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Using Maprika for Geology

In the last post I shared a video of Jeremy Young using the iPad (plus iPhone and Android) app Maprika on the Jurassic Coast as part of the Lyme Regis Fossil Festival.

Maprika is an app originally intended to allow you to find you friends on ski slopes, by taking an image of a ski map and allowing you to georeference it in-app by adding the same points on your map and on Google Maps. The app provides an easy to use interface that can switch between these views while you georeference the map.

By using this technology to georeference the old W. D. Lang maps of the Lyme Regis we were able to study the effects of coastal erosion on the limestone ledges of Monmouth Beach (including the world famous ammonite pavement). As the video in the previous post showed the change has been considerable - both in terms of the amount of cliff that has eroded and the erosion of the limestone pavement.

The photo below (thanks to Aodhan Butler) shows Sam and I standing on a line of stones that we placed along the cliff edge of the Lang maps - showing the extent of the cliff erosion.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Digitising Old Geological Maps with Maprika


Jeremy Young talks to Marc De'ath about using Maprika with the W. D. Lang geological maps of Lyme Regis as part of the Collaborative Curiosity Digitial Live Science Experiment.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Augmented reality for Geology part 2

A while ago a wrote about augmented reality for geology. The aim was to use the open source Drupal content management system to provide an easy to use graphical interface for the augmented reality app Layar (which is both iOS and Android compatible).

At the 2012 Lyme Regis Fossil Festival we (The Buckland Club in collaboration with the Lyme Regis Development Trust)  finally managed to try out the app with the public, where it was received with enthusiasm (for some of the background to this project as well as some of the technical specifications see Writing a specification for our first Digital Asset).

One of the major issues with deploying a functional app in this environment is the lack of both wireless and 3G access. Even throughout the town there are many black spots where it is impossible to get signal of any kind on a wireless device.

The solution to this was to install a number of long range WiFi links between places in the town that had and were willing to share their internet connection and the places that we wished to test our apps with the public. Working with Victor and Pau from the Quick Mesh Project we managed to create a network of four WiFi nodes, including a battery powered portable node that could be used on the beach between tides.

IMG_8886
Pau, Victor and I installing a WiFi node on the roof of the Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis.

I will write more about what we have been up to in Lyme Regis soon.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Worst biodiversity project logos

Two of the worst project logos from the biodiversity world. 

Consortium of European Taxonomic Facilities (CETAF):

 
Drawn by a child?



Drawn on by a child?

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