Tuesday, 14 May 2013

CDC2013 Workshop final updates

This workshop was a clear case example of what an EU-funded COST project provides to active members: a chance to visit, meet and exchange ideas with other members of the MOVE project, thereafter promoting regional collaboration which will champion the scientific objectives of the MOVE project.

Phase 1: The data challenge preparation

The workshop proposal which was drafted by Godwin Yeboah, PhD student at Northumbria University (UK), under the supervision of three experienced researchers; Seraphim Alvanides from Northumbria University (UK), Stefan Van Der Spek from TU Delft (Netherlands), and Nico Van De Weghe from Ghent University (Belgium). A two-hour initial meeting/skype conference was held on 1st February 2013 to brainstorm and plan in advance for a successful workshop where all four organizers were present. A website was later developed to provide a portal to host all documentations on the workshop: https://sites.google.com/site/cdc2013workshop

Phase 2: The actual event

The actual workshop, started at 9am on Tuesday 14th May 2013 at the Faculty Club, Groot Begijnhof 14, 3000 Leuven (Belgium) after one hour of registration and preparations. Seraphim and Godwin delivered a “double act” presentation for the 24 participants. The presentation focussed on the background of the project which led to the collection of the bicycle dataset used for the workshop. Some experiences from the project were also shared. Two keynote speakers, Veronique Van Acker and Hans Skov-Petersen, followed with their presentations which were mainly about experiences gathered in CIVITAS and BIKEABILITY projects respectively. After a coffee break, the morning session ended with two more presentations which were about relating mobility patterns with socio-demographic profiles using agent based modelling technique as well as analysing and exploring the built environment using cyclists’ tracks collected using GPS (Global Positioning System). Question time was offered before an hour of lunch break. The afternoon session started with three presentations comprising movement reconstruction using hybrid map-matching algorithm, extraction of bicycle trips from GPS data, identification of road signal patterns, and, after a short coffee break, a spatio temporal analysis of flows. Nico and Seraphim led an insightful one and half hour open discussion which touched on data quality, data processing and analysis, using agent based modelling technique, acknowledgement, possible future collaborations with using the dataset, toolsets, visualisation techniques, high tech hardware for movement data collection.

Phase 3: The results of the data challenge

The emerging themes were quality assessment of processed data from algorithmic routines, quality assessment of cycling infrastructure, impact assessments incubation period, objective parameterization of cyclists’ movement behaviours and their related analytical frameworks, urgent need for tracking cyclists’ from different geographical areas to enable comparison of results. Photos from the workshop can be found here: https://sites.google.com/site/cdc2013workshop/gallery


In addition to supporting data warehouses, such as chorochronos.org, participants proposed the development of a web portal which points to existing toolsets for executing various tasks related to movement data collection, processing, analysis and visualisation. Example of toolsets discussed were Postdap, JMapMatching among others. The workshop created an enabling environment for collaboration which should be maintained by future periodic gatherings; an annual workshop on data challenges was widely recommended.

Acknowledgements: Financial support from MOVE (COST Action IC0903) towards travel expenses is acknowledged.

Please find updated information for the CDC2013 workshop in the following:

Below is a snapshot of some of the presentations. More photos as well as presentations may be assessed using the provided links above.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Everyday cycling in urban environments: Understanding behaviours and constraints in space-time

The title of my paper presentation at the 21st GIS Research UK (GISRUK) 2013 conference was "Everyday cycling in urban environments: Understanding behaviours and constraints in space-time." The presentation generated lots of interest among the audience and also confirmed my own conviction of the importance of active transport - especially cycling - in urban transportation. The paper was in four main parts: description of the methods employed in this research and sample characteristics; spatial analysis to understand the sample’s commonalities and differences with other areas; comparative spatial analysis of the primary tracks with  “official” cycling network data of the study area; and, further discussion and conclusion summarising the findings of the research. Additionally, I introduced what I call the concept of "Corridor Space Analysis" which is a kind of spatial analysis comprising of some combinations of buffering and spatial intersection techniques to compute trip shares of cyclists given a designated cycleway network. The concept was also used to assess the  infrastructural features within the "corridor" such as parkings and crossings found on the network. As part of this research, 79 commuter cyclists have been tracked with small size portable GPS devices while filling detailed travel diary. Socio-demographic and psycho-social variables were also captured to aid in understanding interactions between movement behaviour and the built environment.

There were other interesting presentations, informal discussions and networking that were quite useful. The mix of experienced researchers and early career researchers for the sessions blended so well; kudos to the local and global organizing committees. All aspect of the conference, to me, was brilliant and I was not surprised when praises were showered on the master mind behind the organisation - Dr. Alex Singleton. I must say, that personally meeting and chatting with some of the outstanding scholars in Geographic Information Science (GISc) such as Professor Paul Longley, Professor Jason Dykes, Professor Harvey Miller, Professor Muki Haklay, Professor Chris Brunsdon, and Professor Peter Batey was very insightful. These ephemeral interactions between early career researchers (ECR) and experienced researchers are very useful and must be considered in the next GISRUK2013 at the University of Glasgow. I remember encouraging an ECR who wanted to interact with someone considered to be an expert to do so by simply going to the person and saying something as simple as "Hello .... my name is .....  and from the university of .... and just want to introduce myself and also say that I appreciate your work." As simple as it might seem, it is not all ECR who have the confident to approach someone they see as far ahead and "holding the light at the end of the tunnel." So, from my observation, experienced scholars should deliberately make an attempt to interact with "anybody" they see as ECR in such conferences.

Below is GISRUK2013 delegates map I have put together - based on the list of delegates circulated on the last day of the conference - showing the institution that won the highest number of delegates; the University of Edinburgh had about 28 delegates followed by Leeds University with about 20 delegates.

View GISRUK2013 Delegates Map in a larger map

Monday, 18 March 2013

Northumbria University academic takes his research to UK Parliament

Mr. Godwin Yeboah, a Doctoral Researcher at The Northumbria University at Newcastle, is invited by UK Parliamentary and Scientific Committee to present his research to a range of politicians and a panel of experts today on Monday 18 March.

On presenting his research in Parliament, he said, “I find SET for BRITAIN as a unique platform and fantastic opportunity for early career researchers like me to present my research to a wider audience, and to engage with politicians regarding scientific research in this country; especially giving the contemporary nature of urban cycling transportation in this country. Additionally, the event offers a great chance to interact with other scientists and engineers from the UK and get a wider perspective on cutting edge research from across the country which may lead to possible future collaborations for the betterment of society.”

Andrew Miller MP, Chairman of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, said, “This annual competition is an important date in the parliamentary calendar because it gives MPs an opportunity to speak to a wide range of the country’s best young researchers.  “These early career engineers are the architects of our future and SET for Britain is politicians’ best opportunity to meet them and understand their work.”

Godwin’s principal supervisor, Dr Seraphim Alvanides said “This is an outstanding achievement for a Northumbria postgraduate researcher, demonstrating the importance and relevance of our Faculty’s research to the wider society. Godwin’s work is looking at the physical and transport constraints that commuter cyclists are dealing with on a regular basis. This is a contentious topic with serious planning implications, if we want to increase sustainable transport, such as regular cycling, in our cities. Our research is pointing towards feasible solutions for improving the urban cycling infrastructure end encouraging more people to cycle as part of their daily commute. Godwin’s poster communicates succinctly a complex research issue to a lay audience, as well as to politicians and policy makers. I am delighted that he was shortlisted at this national competition for a prestigious Medal and monetary prize. SET for Britain is co-sponsored by the Royal Academy of Engineering and runs during the National Science and Engineering Week.”

Neil Scott, Vice President Engineering – Airbus in the UK, the company sponsors of the gold medal, said, “High quality engineering is the life blood of the global aviation industry and it is only through the efforts of our teams of highly skilled and qualified engineers that we are able to stay ahead of our competitors and ensure that the UK aviation industry maintains its position as a world leading centre of engineering excellence."

“It is absolutely vital that we continue to invest in high quality training and in research and development and I’m delighted to say that we continue to work closely with the UK government to ensure this is happening. From Airbus’ successful application for Regional Growth Fund support, which is helping create 200 new engineering jobs, to the joint industry/government initiative that will fund up to 500 Masters Degrees in Aerospace Engineering – these are all steps that clearly underline our shared commitment to ensuring the continued success of the UK aerospace sector, both now and into the future.”

The Parliamentary and Scientific Committee run the event in collaboration with the Institute of Physics, The Physiological Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Society of Biology and the Society of Chemical Industry, with financial support from BP, Airbus/EADS, INEOS, AgChemAccess, Essar, the Institute of Biomedical Science, GAMBICA and WMG.

The research is also published in The JournalScience DailyNorthumbria News, and other media outlets.


1.  Contact
For further information about the event, images, or interview opportunities, please contact Joe Winters:
Tel: 020 7470 4815
Mob: 07946 321473
E-mail: joseph.winters@iop.org

2.  SET for Britain
SET for Britain is a poster competition in the House of Commons - involving approximately 180 early stage or early career researchers - judged by professional and academic experts.  All presenters are entered into either the engineering, the biological and biomedical sciences, the physical sciences (chemistry), or the physical sciences (physics) session, depending on their specialism.

Each session will result in the reward of Bronze, Silver and Gold certificates.  Bronze winners will receive a £1,000 prize; Silver, £2,000; and Gold, £3,000.  There will also be an overall winner from the four sessions who will receive the Westminster Wharton Medal.

SET for Britain was established by Dr Eric Wharton in 1997.  Following his untimely death in 2007, the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, with support from The Royal Academy of Engineering, The Institute of Physics, the Society of Biology, The Royal Society of Chemistry, The Physiological Society and the Society of Chemical Industry are working together to further his legacy.

The event is made possible this year by industry sponsors BP, Airbus/EADS, INEOS, AgChemAccess, Essar, the Institute of Biomedical Science, GAMBICA and WMG.

Early stage or early career researchers include university research students, postgraduates, research assistants, postdocs, research fellows, newly-appointed lecturers, part-time and mature students, returners, those people embarking on a second career, and their equivalent in national, public sector and industrial laboratories, and appropriate final year undergraduate and MSc students, all of whom are engaged in scientific, engineering, technological or medical research.