Photo of Martin Dittus

Hallo. I am Martin Dittus.

I am a researcher and data scientist at the Oxford Internet Institute, where I study the economic geography of darknet marketplaces.

Before that, I was a researcher in computer science at the ICRI Cities at University College London, where I researched community engagement for the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT), a volunteer initiative with thousands of contributors. At its core this was quantitative work, and my main outputs were statistics and data visualisations. I made use of the "hard" evidence of contributor data traces, but also the "soft" evidence of knowing the practices and motivations of the community.

I have previously been a software developer and project manager at Last.fm, a director and trustee of the London Hackspace, an organiser for Hack the Barbican and the Electromagnetic Field camping festival, a cat herder for Air Quality Egg contributors, and more. My data visualisations have been featured in Infosthetics [1][2], Visual Complexity [3][4], FlowingData [5], in print magazine De:Bug [6], Manuel Lima’s Visual Complexity book [7], the German-language Visual Simplexity book [8], and elsewhere.

Featured work

Research diary Research diary: contributor engagement in humanitarian mapping Research diary State of the Map 2016: Building large-scale crowdsourcing communities with the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team Research diary OII Talk: Big Data and Putting the World's Vulnerable People on the Map Research diary Missing Maps: the first year in stats & charts Research diary Participation inequality in humanitarian mapping Research diary Unknown Pleasures (of humanitarian mapping) Research diary Collective Sensor Networks Visualisation Last.fm Heatmap Calendars

Featured talks

Talk slides Mass participation during emergency response: Event-centric crowdsourcing in humanitarian mapping Talk slides Building Large-scale Crowdsourcing Communities with the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team Talk slides Big Data and Putting the World's Vulnerable People on the Map Talk slides Missing Maps: the first year in stats & charts Talk slides Contributor engagement in humanitarian mapping Talk slides DIY sensor networks: community-driven environmental monitoring Talk slides Urban data work: a practitioner’s perspective Talk slides Creative community spaces: London Hackspace, Electromagnetic Field, and Hack the Barbican Talk slides Tags and tag radio at Last.fm

Other activities

  • Open data sets collected by "everyone"

    A talk at Innovation Week Rome on the topic of community knowledge: data and information collected by community groups. During this event 300 people, 30 facilitators, and 10 international speakers were co-creating ideas for a social innovation city. Slides

  • A practitioner’s perspective on urban data work

    A talk at Urban Data Hack about my data visualisation and data analysis work in the context of urban spaces, including work by colleagues at the ICRI Cities. Closes with comments on technology-based solutions to social problems, and some suggestions on how best to start looking for important problems. Slides.

  • Open hardware projects at the London Hackspace

    A talk for Design Culture Salon at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the world's leading museum of art and design. Part of a panel on transparent design with Jessi Baker, Alison Powell, Gillian Youngs, and Kevin Walker. What are the ethics and politics of transparency, and is this is being adequately factored into design practice? Slides.

  • OpenStreetMap community diversity

    An article for State of the Map, the annual gathering of the global OpenStreetMap community. Maps have a peculiar ability to act as a stage for shared concerns, as catalysts and connectors for a wide range of interests.

  • The politics of making

    A panel discussion at the Elephant & Castle Mini Maker Faire with Cory Doctorow, Sarah Corbet, Eva Verhoeven, and Nelly Trakidou. Can maker culture be understood as political act, as resistance against late capitalism? Slides, video.

  • Creative community spaces

    A talk at Bartlett Plexus about the London Hackspace, the Electromagnetic Field camping festival, and Hack the Barbican as community-created spaces. Slides, video.

  • A sensor commons: DIY environmental monitoring

    A talk at the Electromagnetic Field camping festival, reviewing a range of global DIY environmental monitoring activities. The Air Quality Egg, SafeCast, DIY spectrometry, and more. Slides.

  • Last.fm heatmap calendars

    Visualising the music listening habits of selected Last.fm users. In total the project involved the aggregation of 8.7 million scrobbles across ~180 graphs. Project page, blog post.

  • Music Feeds

    A now defunct music blog aggregator, built at the first ever music hack day in London. You could filter posts with Last.fm user profiles, a fulltext search, and more. The results were great: pop culture snippets, opinionated commentary, podcast feeds, and lots of noise. Blog post.

  • Lots of data, little money. A Last.fm perspective

    What to do when the data you have to analyse keeps growing but your budget doesn't? A discussion of how Last.fm became one of the first commercial adopters of Hadoop, and one of the biggest users of commodity distributed systems. Slides, video.

  • Pool Radio

    A now defunct aggregator of hopefully interesting Last.fm radio stations, aggregated from user tag feeds, group forums, global tag charts, and more. Blog post.

  • … and more.