Well, the blogs are back up after their downtime over the weekend. The good news is that the works seems to have gone well and the machine hall is back to normal so there shouldn’t be any further disruptions.
I haven’t blogged much in February and i dont really have a good excuse. So, to make ammends i have decided to compile a super-informative blog post full of juicy links and things that I have seen this month.
Health and GIS
First up is a good article on the AGI website about health and geography. You cant have failed to notice the plans to radically reform the NHS in the UK. The shake up could result in the loss of Strategic Heath Authorities, a geographic area that allows us geographers to compare services across the country. But what would they be replaced with? The article links to several sources that investigate the restructuring and it makes for interesting reading.
Google Borders Issues
Google is in the centre of another international border dispute. This time it is between Germany and the Netherlands. The issue concerns the Ems-Dollart estuary, with Google maps currently show the border hugging the German shore thus suggesting that the entire estuary belongs to the Netherlands. This includes the harbour at Emden which is definitely German. Fortunately the two countries are quite friendly and shipping doesn’t seem to have been affected.
Power to the people
An interesting blog post on the OS Blog page about how OpenData should give power to the citizens. Really what this is saying is that making data available is only part of the big picture, making data useable and useful is the key. The OS provide an example of a council, Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, where data is mined, converted and harmonised so that it can then be combined with other datasets (boundaries and other things) so that it is easy to understand. A nice little article and a reminder i think that the job of a GIS expert is to manipulate and present data in a way that the non-expert user can easily understand.
From the Royal Holloway, University of London comes a nice visulisation of train ticket prices. Dmitry Adamskiy has taken a look at advanced ticket prices around mapped the prices to show the stark variation around the country. Some patterns do seem to emerge. Journeys from London to destinations within the M25 relatively cheap but the surrounding belt look to be more expensive than travelling much further i.e. to Birmingham. You can select a number of departure stations and while short local journeys are generally pretty cheap, some interesting anomalies do appear like Glasgow-Dundee looking like it is more expensive than Glasgow-Manchester or Glasgwo-Birmingham. It is not clear where Dmitry sourced his data but you can view the map here or read more about it here. (Thanks to Oliver O’Brien for spotting this one). What i would suggest is to make sure you always buy a ticket for the correct day, or hope that the guard is as friendly as the one who pointed out my mistake yesterday.