This week I have been busy running around organising GISRUK 2013 – however, in between this, I talked about some research I have been completing to develop a national individual level model of CO2 emissions that are linked to the school commute. For anyone who missed the talk, this was recorded by Robin Lovelace from the University of Sheffield (thanks!) and put on YouTube.
I have been waiting for this software for an age it seems – actually… only since about last October! Previously Zotero has integrated into Firefox, however, with a plethora of other (and often) quicker browsers this has always annoyed me (but not that much as it is free!). Anyway, I may be going wholesale Chrome in a couple of months now that this new version of Zotero is out which runs standalone: http://www.zotero.org/support/standalone. Initial tests seem that this is again a very nippy bit of software. I maintain a public list on Zotero with geodemographic references – this can be found here.
Yet more terminal commands… this time for setting up a MYSQL database and installing the GUI tools in Ubuntu
sudo apt-get install mysql-server
MYSQL GUI Tools (e.g. Query Browser)
sudo apt-get install mysql-gui-tools-common
MYSQL DBI Interface – required to connect to R
sudo apt-get install libdbd-mysql libmysqlclient16-dev
R is a fantastic bit of software which I have been using on and off for a number of years since I gave up on SAS due to their (free for academics) annoying licenses and limited support for the things I wanted to do – R is infinitely flexible and totally free. Installing R on Ubuntu is very easy:
sudo apt-get install r-base
You can then start R from the terminal by typing R and pressing enter… or…
If you prefer, I have found the RGedit plugin for the pre-installed text editor Gedit to be very good. This can be installed as follows:
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wget http://www.kaduk.net/~mateusz/gedit-r-plugin/kaduk.asc cat kaduk.asc | apt-key add - echo "deb http://www.kaduk.net/~mateusz/gedit-r-plugin ./" >> /etc/apt/source.list sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install gedit-r-plugin
After install the only thing you need to do is fire up Gedit and select “Preferences” from the “Edit” menu. Then on the plugins tab check the box “R integration”. This should open an R console at the base of Gedit and load R (Click on the picture to see how this looks).
For the past couple of months I have been running Ubuntu 10.10 (“Maverick Meerkat”) on my Lenovo X300 laptop. The installation gets pretty much all the hardware up and running with the exception of the fingerprint reader and internal microphone. I am not entirely new to Linux, but the last time I was using it was about 1998 and it was a VERY different experience. These days Ubuntu is more than comparable to Windows or OSX – and in some respects actually much easier to use. For example, one thing I have been very impressed with is how simple it is to hook up to my Android phone making it very easy to share the mobile connection and browse the web.
Having said that – out of the box, a number of things have taken some setting up, however, with the power of Google I have muddled my way through. Although many of these installs can be completed in the Ubuntu GUI, I chose to seek out terminal commands so they can be replicated with ease when I no doubt break something serious. As such, this post provides some optional components for Ubuntu along with some software extras I have found useful. Please note, they worked for me, but I don’t want to hear about it if they break or don’t work for you!
GIMP – Image editing software akin to Photoshop (http://www.gimp.org/)
sudo apt-get install gimp
Skype – VOIP Software
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echo “deb http://download.skype.com/linux/repos/debian/ stable non-free #Skype” | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list > /dev/null sudo apt-key adv –keyserver pgp.mit.edu –recv-keys 0xd66b746e sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install skype
VLC – Play everything media player (http://www.videolan.org/vlc/)
sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install vlc vlc-plugin-pulse mozilla-plugin-vlc
Liferea – RSS Reader (http://liferea.sourceforge.net/)
sudo apt-get install liferea
Configuration / Basic System
Remove Default Email Evolution
sudo apt-get remove evolution --purge rm /home/<user> /.evolution
sudo apt-get install flashplugin-nonfree
Ejection Indicator – simple way to eject usb sticks or DVD
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:fredp/ppa sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install ejecter
Compiz – Adds fancy effects to the GUI – in particular is an Expose type effect. I only use this, so I have a one key press to see all my open windows, just like I do in OSX (http://www.compiz.org/)
sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager
Dropbox – share files using the cloud (http://www.dropbox.com/) – any alternative that is integrated into Ubuntu on install is Ubuntu One
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echo “deb http://linux.dropbox.com/ubuntu $(lsb_release -cs) main” | sudo tee “/etc/apt/sources.list.d/dropbox.list” > /dev/null sudo apt-key adv –keyserver pgp.mit.edu –recv-keys 5044912E sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get -y –force-yes install nautilus-dropbox
DVD Playback – this doesn’t work on a fresh install – run this and the problem is solved!
sudo apt-get install xine-ui libxine1-ffmpeg
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:sun-java-community-team/sun-java6 sudo apt-get install sun-java6-jre sun-java6-plugin
Gmail Watcher – this checks your gmail with indicators of new mail
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sudo add-apt-repository ppa:loneowais/ppa sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install gmailwatcher
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:lorenzo-carbonell/atareao sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install my-weather-indicator
Hotot – A nice Twitter client for Linux (http://hotot.org/)
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:hotot-team sudo apt-get install hotot
Nautilus elementary – a slightly nice file explorer interface
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade sudo add-apt-repository ppa:am-monkeyd/nautilus-elementary-ppa
Caffeine – Keeps you PC awake either manually or by linking it to start with specific software (https://launchpad.net/caffeine)
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sudo add-apt-repository ppa:caffeine-developers/ppa sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install caffeine
Last week saw the launch of a plethora of new tools related to the open geodemographic classification OAC.
I am just about to step down as chair of the Output Area Classification User Group which represents OAC and last week convened my final annual conference. One of my long standing irritations about the Output Area Classification has been the lack of simple tools that firstly enable you to append the classification to your own postcode level data, and secondly; the availability of descriptive material about things end users are actually interested in. However, in the past few months I have pushed hard to rectify these issues through our user group.
OACoder – Postcodes to OAC Conversion
Through one of my side projects with researchers at UCL (Public Profiler) we have released a simple coding tool called OACoder that uses the newly released ONS Open NSPD dataset. This can be downloaded here and takes a CSV list of postcodes and simply appends the OAC codes.
OAC Grand Index
A grand index is a basic descriptive tool which disaggregates index scores by geodemographic clusters for multiple responses to survey variables, administrative and transactional data. This is a resource which the user group will add to over time. This can be downloaded here.
Ongoing debate over the years has surrounded the standardisation of colours used in the generation of OAC maps and graphs. These are by no means ‘official’ colours, however are those commonly used by members of the OACUG committee. The colour codes can be found here.
Since Endnote X3 has recently added Pages compatibility I have started to write more on my Macbook. However, one issue with this was that my very large Endnote library was stranded on my university workstation. An effective solution to this problem was to move my Endnote library into my Dropbox folder. For those not familiar with Dropbox, this is free online storage account that comes with an application for Windows / OS X / Linux that syncs files in a specified folder accross multiple machines. This provides a very simple way of sharing Endnote libraries for free!
An alternative, and one which I experiment with in a different context is Zotero . This is a centralized online reference manager with growing caitpabilities that is free to use, and is integrated into Firefox. I am really looking foward to seeing what happens with this application over the next few years. Specifically if they add Pages compatibility.
Happy New Year!
I have always struggled to find a nice easy way to create cartograms. That was until I found a relatively new tool called ScapeToad (http://chorogram.choros.ch/scapetoad/). Within minutes I had generated a very appealing cartogram of London at Output Area level. Convenient features include: the ability to export back into ArcGIS, the output of the distortion grid and the ability to manipulate multiple layers based on the same distortion. All a very promising start!