townsendr interactive map

This week I updated my Townsend Material Deprivation Score project. The update makes townsendr an interactive online map of deprivation that users can simply view in their browser, rather than having to download and run the R code or view only static maps. I think the result is much more intuitive and useful. Making the map interactive is achieved by using Shiny, a technology for R to make interactive charts and plots. [Read More]

Sheffield Migration Matters Festival

I am delighted and very proud that I was asked to exhibit some of my photographs from Lesvos for this year’s Migration Matters Festival in Sheffield, which is held as part of Refugee Week. The festival ran from 17th to 25th June 2016 in Theatre Delicatessen, with exhibitions from other photographers, workshops held by artists, and plays performed by local theatre companies. Sadly because I was recovering from surgery I was unable to attend the talk that my supervisor gave on the evening of the 23rd – ‘Letters and Pictures from Lesvos‘, but I was able to at least see the static pieces by other photographers and artists when I visited later in the week. [Read More]

Sheffield screening of The Great European Disaster Movie

On Monday 9th May (Europe Day) the Geography Society and I hosted a screening of The Great European Disaster Movie. The movie: examines the identity crisis of current-day Europe and the complex challenges that are mounting against the Union’s survival. Beset by growing nationalism, seven years of economic crisis [as of 2014] and an increasing dissatisfaction with its undemocratic political structure will Europe sleepwalk into catastrophe as it did one hundred years ago? [Read More]

Petition to EU Council

Update 29/5/16: At some point while I was away over the last week I received a written acknowledgement from the public information service of the European Council, but it still wasn’t exactly a response to the petition: eu-council-response Update 11/5/16: I received acknowledgement today from the European Council Public Information Service that the petition had been received and ‘duly noted’. It’s not exactly the response I was hoping for (“We will stop deporting people immediately”), but I think it’s all I realistically expected: [Read More]

Letter from Lesvos, April 2016

New Europeans have just published my Letter from Lesvos, my reflections following two field classes there which coincided with the EU-Turkey deal coming into effect, including meeting some of the refugees, volunteers, and activists there. Our first hand report on the situation in #Lesvos #refugee camp: https://t.co/bOgxYR21Q2 pic.twitter.com/LuvYrVkdBy — New Europeans (@NewEuropeans) April 15, 2016 The letter has also been re-posted on Wake Up Europe! The letter I am writing this letter having just returned from Lesvos with second-year and third-year human geography field classes with the University of Sheffield. [Read More]

Sheffield Madina Masjid

A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of visiting the Madina Masjid in Sheffield, taking a group of undergraduate students as part of the social science Achieve More week. I’d never been inside a mosque before despite visiting a couple, so was genuinely excited to be shown around. Our tour guide, Zahid, showed the group the facilities, starting with the wash rooms where he showed us how Muslims performs their ablutions before prayer. [Read More]

Formal informal testing of research code

When writing research code I do test my code and results, but until recently I’ve only been doing this informally and not in any systematic way. I decided it was time to change my testing habits when I noticed I had recoded a variable incorrectly despite my informal tests suggesting nothing was wrong. When I went back and corrected this error this made a small, but noticeable, difference to my model. [Read More]

Update to Townsend deprivation score script

I’ve updated and released a new version of the Townsend material deprivation score script. Changes in v2.0 The script now uses the Nomis web API to obtain census data through a http:// connection, meaning they can be downloaded, unzipped and loaded from within an interactive session. Shapefiles of England and Wales are now downloaded from the UK data service boundary data archive’s easy downloader, again meaning shapefiles can be downloaded from within an interactive session rather than having to be downloaded and unpacked separately. [Read More]

Why do internet maps use Mercator?

I’ve often wondered why Google, as well as other internet map providers, use the Mercator projection. It was originally designed for nautical navigation by keeping lines of latitude perpendicular to lines of longitude. The cost was that land areas were distorted, and the distortion increases nearer the poles, making countries in very low or very high latitudes look bigger than they really are. Using the Mercator projection, Greenland looks bigger than Australia for example, but in fact Australia is about three times the area of Greenland. [Read More]