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The product space and the wealth of nations
2007-10-06 22:17:21 - by Nicolas Malevé

The Product Space Conditions the Development of Nations, a paper by
C. A. Hidalgo. R. B. Klinger, A.-L. Barabasi, R. Hausmann is reviewed by Tim Harford from the Slate Magazine.

In his review, the journalist writes:

There are many explanations [ why poor countries are poor], but some are easier to test than others. One very plausible account of why at least some poor countries are poor is that there is no smooth progression from where they are to where they would be when rich. For instance, to move from drilling oil to making silicon chips might require simultaneous investments in education, transport infrastructure, electricity, and many other things. The gap may be too far for private enterprise to bridge without some sort of coordinating effort from government—a "big push."
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The Product Space and the Wealth of Nations

The scientists are willing to test out this hypothesis and therefore have to measure what they call the proximity between two products.

The concept of proximity formalizes the intuitive idea that the ability of a country to produce a product depends on its ability to produce other ones. For example, a country with the ability to export apples will probably have most of the conditions suitable to export pears. They would certainly have the soil and the climate, together with the appropriate packing technologies, frigorific trucks and containers. They would also have the human capital, particularly the agronomists that could easily learn the pear business. However, when we consider a different business such as mining, textiles or appliance manufacture, all or most of the capabilities developed for the apple business render useless. Unfortunately this intuitive definition of proximity is, very cumbersome to measure. It requires quantifying the overlap between the set of markets related to each product. Thus, we measure proximity by using an outcome based method founded on the assumption that similar products are more likely to be exported in tandem.

The result of their analysis take the form of a map that gives a synthetic overview of their research. More interesting than the end result itself, is the documented process of creating this image on a website that complements the paper.

For a discussion about the content of the analysis itself, refer to the forum of the French translation of the article on the website Rue89

Thanks Didier!

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

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FridaV
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!

Business Microscope
2007-10-05 11:45:56 - by Nicolas Malevé

Found on the TechOn website, Hitachi’s Sensor Depicts Human Relationships as Topographical Map, an article by Shinya Saeki, Nikkei Electronics.

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Employee wearing name-tag sensor
A name-tag-shaped sensor network terminal measures the time used for face-to-face communication among the members of the organization and their activities. And it functions as an inflated radiation sensor, a triaxial acceleration sensor, a sound sensor and a radio communication device.

The massive data collected by the sensor network terminal are signal-processed by the server and displayed as a "topographical map of the organization."

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Topographical map of the human relationships in a company

Which means:

Every employee of the company wears a badge with its name. The badge contains a chip that gives a handful of information about where s/he is and what s/he does. The software produces a set of statistics that give a precise picture of the employee’s moves, who s/he meets, how long, who s/he avoids, etc.

Therefore:

The system can be used to clarify the problems within an organization and, thus, reduce the risk in organizational operation, in addition to the improvement of productivity, by quantitatively showing the strength of the relationships among the members of the organization, according to the company.

The topography of a football match
2007-10-02 10:30:13 - by Nicolas Malevé

This weekend, in an article of De Morgen newspaper, Een club die niet rijk is, moet slim zijn, Hans Vandeweghe analysed the reasons why the clubs are adopting scouting softwares to make the most of their players. To find new talents, one needs a certain flair. But to monitor the performances of the players once they have been selected, the cold eye of digital technology seems more adapted: did they follow the tactical instructions, did they run fast enough, did they cover enough terrain, did they win duels during a match? A software called Prozone is made to answer these questions.

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Prozone
One player’s move

Prozone analyses the images recorded by ten cameras installed in a stadium and produces statistics about individual players performances, etc.
As marketing says:

PZ3 is a comprehensive reproduction of a live game. The data generated from this powerful software provides a high-quality assembly of physical, tactical and statistical information presented in multiple formats.

The result is a phenomenal interactive coaching and analysis tool that allows you to view every movement, interaction and the total contribution of both your team’s players as well as those of the opposition – a truly invaluable asset in the world of modern football.

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Prozone
Circulation of the ball

Topography+Statistics=Return on Investment?