I am a digital geographer and data scientist at the Oxford Internet Institute, where I research the information geographies of Wikipedia, Google Maps, and other large online knowledge platforms.
Together with my coauthor Mark Graham I am currently finishing a book for Pluto Press, and contributing to an upcoming report by Whose Knowledge on the state of the internet's languages, collecting evidence that the global majority is underserved by today's internet platforms. In earlier work I produced analyses of the economic geography of darknet marketplaces.
I completed a PhD 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. This was largely quantitative work, relying on the "hard" evidence of contributor data traces, but also the "soft" evidence of knowing the practices and motivations of the community. Four studies have been published as papers in major academic venues, and two of them have received awards. It was very much a collaborative effort, and we couldn’t have done it without a lot of community support!
I am a trustee for Local Welcome, a U.K. charity that offers opportunities for social encounter for refugees and other marginalised groups in society. 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 , Visual Complexity , FlowingData , in print magazine De:Bug , Manuel Lima’s Visual Complexity book , the German-language Visual Simplexity book , and elsewhere.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.