Andrea Ballatore

Andrea Ballatore
King's College London | KCL · Department of Digital Humanities

BSc MSc PhD FRGS

About

70
Publications
27,058
Reads
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1,136
Citations
Introduction
I am a geographic data scientist interested in volunteered geographic information, geo-semantics, linked data, digital humanities, and media studies. Website and Blog: https://aballatore.space
Additional affiliations
January 2016 - present
Birkbeck, University of London
Position
  • Lecturer
January 2016 - November 2019
Birkbeck, University of London
Position
  • Lecturer
February 2014 - January 2016
University of California, Santa Barbara
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Education
May 2009 - September 2013
University College Dublin
Field of study
  • Geographic Information Science, Computer Science

Publications

Publications (70)
Article
Full-text available
Every day, billions of Internet users rely on search engines to find information about places to make decisions about tourism, shopping, and countless other economic activities. In an opaque process, search engines assemble digital content produced in a variety of locations around the world and make it available to large cohorts of consumers. Altho...
Chapter
Full-text available
Crowdsourcing platforms and social media produce distinctive geographies of informational content. The production process is enabled and influenced by a variety of socio-economic and demographic factors, shaping the place representation, i.e., the amount and type of information available in an area. In this study, we explore and explain the geograp...
Article
Full-text available
Geographic maps constitute a ubiquitous medium through which we understand, construct, and navigate our natural and built surroundings. At the intersection of the explosion of geographic information online, data-mining techniques, and the increasing popularity of Web maps, a novel possibility has emerged: Instead of generating one map for large num...
Article
Full-text available
Wikimapia is a major privately-owned volunteered geographic information (VGI) project to collect information about places. Over the past ten years, Wikimapia has attracted hundreds of thousands of contributors and collected millions of data points, including towns, restaurants, lakes, and tourist attractions (http://wikimapia.org). Unlike OpenStree...
Article
Full-text available
This article addresses the emergent phenomenon of carto-vandalism, the intentional defacement of collaborative cartographic digital artefacts in the context of volunteered geographic information. Through a qualitative analysis of reported incidents in WikiMapia and OpenStreetMap, a typology of this kind of vandalism is outlined, including play, ide...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Films are deeply geographical. Externally, they are produced in places, across increasingly complex and shifting global networks that connect organisations, cities, professionals, and equipment. Internally, their imagined geographies are set in either real or fictional places, and refer to their social, political, and cultural facets. In this study...
Article
This paper contributes to the burgeoning literature on content moderation by focusing on its practice in relation to localized social media contexts, an area which remains under-researched. It makes two key contributions. Firstly, it presents the results of a study on moderation practices in relation to place-named Facebook groups across Greater Lo...
Article
Full-text available
Urban litter, such as cans, packaging, and cigarettes, has significant impacts, and yet little is known about its spatio‐temporal distribution, with little available data. In contexts of data scarcity, crowdsourcing provides a low‐cost approach to collecting a large amount of geo‐referenced data. We consider 1.7 million litter observations in the N...
Conference Paper
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Citizen consumption refers to the goods and services which citizens utilise. This includes time spent on leisure and cultural activities as well as the consumption of necessary and luxury goods and services. The spatial dimension of consumption inequality can show the underlying urban spatial structure and processes of a city. Usually, the main bar...
Chapter
Full-text available
Search engines make information about places available to billions of users, who explore geographic information for a variety of purposes. The aggregated, large-scale search behavioural statistics provided by Google Trends can provide new knowledge about the spatial and temporal variation in interest in places. Such search data can provide useful k...
Chapter
Full-text available
Since its emergence in the 1990s, the area of Participatory GIS (PGIS) has generated numerous interactive mapping tools to support complex planning processes. The need to involve non-expert users makes the usability of these tools a crucial aspect that contributes to their success or failure. While many approaches and procedures have been proposed...
Article
Several studies have highlighted the absence of an integrated comprehensive dataset covering all of the UK’s museums, hence impeding research into the emergence, evolution, and wider impact of the UK’s museums sector. “Mapping Museums” is an interdisciplinary project aiming to develop a comprehensive database of UK museums in existence since 1960,...
Article
Full-text available
Online representations of places are becoming pivotal in informing our understanding of urban life. Content production on online platforms is grounded in the geography of their users and their digital infrastructure. These constraints shape place representation, that is the amount, quality, and type of digital information available in a geographic...
Article
Full-text available
Several studies have highlighted the absence of an integrated comprehensive dataset covering all of the UK's museums, hence impeding research into the emergence, evolution and wider impact of the UK's museums sector. "Mapping Museums" is an interdisciplinary project aiming to develop a comprehensive database of UK museums in existence since 1960, a...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Digital maps are ubiquitous, supporting countless online activities. Most interactive mapping platforms support three user operations to move across space: zooming in, zooming out, and panning. While using interactive maps, it is common for users to land in an unfamiliar area at high zoom levels. To understand the location of the area, users zoom o...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The primary objective of this research is to understand the relationship between the positivity of user-generated content, namely Airbnb reviews and the “attractiveness” of the neighbourhood of the listing. Focussing on London wards and their Airbnb listings, we could identify some features which consistently signal positive sentiment and used best...
Article
Full-text available
Surveys of the UK museum sector have all had subtly different remits and so represent the sector in a variety of ways. In the last three decades, surveys have almost invariably focused on accredited institutions, thereby omitting almost half of the museums in the UK. In this article we examine how data collection became tied to the accreditation sc...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Search engines make information about places available to billions of users, who explore geographic information for a variety of purposes. The aggregated, large-scale search behavioural statistics provided by Google Trends can provide new knowledge about the spatial and temporal variation in interest in places. Such search data can provide useful k...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Since its emergence in the 1990s, the area of Participatory GIS (PGIS) has generated numerous interactive mapping tools to support complex planning processes. The need to involve non-expert users makes the usability of these tools a crucial aspect that contributes to their success or failure. While many approaches and procedures have been proposed...
Chapter
Location based querying is the core interaction paradigm between mobile citizens and the Internet of Things, so providing users with intelligent web-services that interact efficiently with web and wireless devices to recommend personalised services is a key goal. With today's popular Web Map Services, users can ask for general information at a spec...
Article
Full-text available
Ideal types have received less attention than membership criteria in the ethnicity and nationalism literature. This article uses crowdsourced genealogical data and onomastics software to show that British Isles surnames and ancestry remain overrepresented among American actors, especially in roles connected with the national narrative. Conformity t...
Article
Full-text available
The communication of data uncertainty is a crucial problem in data science, information visualization, and geographic information science (GIScience). Effective ways to communicate the uncertainty of data enables data consumers to interpret the data as intended by the producer, reducing the possibilities of misinterpretation. In this article, we re...
Article
Full-text available
Geographic information has become central for data scientists of many disciplines to put their analyses into a spatio-temporal perspective. However, just as the volume and variety of data sources on the Web grow, it becomes increasingly harder for analysts to be familiar with all the available geospatial tools, including toolboxes in Geographic Inf...
Chapter
Full-text available
Every day, practitioners, researchers, and students consult the Web to meet their information needs about GIS concepts and tools. How do we improve GIS in terms of conceptual organisation, findability, interoperability and relevance for user needs? So far, efforts have been mainly top-down, overlooking the actual usage of software and tools. In thi...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Crowdsourcing platforms and social media produce distinctive geographies of informational content. The production process is enabled and influenced by a variety of socio-economic and demographic factors, shaping the place representation, i.e., the amount and type of information available in an area. In this study, we explore and explain the geograp...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Every day, practitioners, researchers, and students consult the Web to meet their information needs about GIS concepts and tools. How do we improve GIS in terms of conceptual organisation, findability, interoperability and relevance for user needs? So far, efforts have been mainly top-down, overlooking the actual usage of software and tools. In thi...
Chapter
Full-text available
A partire dall'emergere della nozione di intelligenza artificiale (IA) negli anni 1950, il sogno di sviluppare una macchina pensante è stato al centro di numerosi fallimenti e altrettante rinascite. Mentre alcuni informatici, scienziati e filosofi si sono sforzati di dimostrare l’impossibilità di una IA equivalente o superiore alla mente umana, alt...
Article
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This article discusses the role of technological myths in the development of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies from 1950s to the early 1970s. It shows how the rise of AI was accompanied by the construction of a powerful cultural myth: The creation of a thinking machine, which would be able to perfectly simulate the cognitive faculties of th...
Article
Full-text available
This article discusses the role of technological myths in the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies from 1950s to the early 1970s. It shows how the rise of AI was accompanied by the construction of a powerful cultural myth: the creation of a thinking machine, which would be able to perfectly simulate the cognitive faculties of th...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Knowing where people live is crucial to provide timely and effective relief in humanitarian crises. To date, the population distribution in vulnerable parts of the developing world is insufficiently mapped, particularly in low population density areas. Based on work in the Missing Maps project, we propose a method to obtain cheap estimates of the p...
Article
In Geographic Information Systems (GIS), geoprocessing workflows allow analysts to organize their methods on spatial data in complex chains. We propose a method for expressing workflows as linked data, and for semi-automatically enriching them with semantics on the level of their operations and datasets. Linked workflows can be easily published on...
Article
Full-text available
Searching for information is a ubiquitous activity, performed in a variety of contexts and supported by rapidly evolving technologies. As a process, information search often has a spatial aspect: spatial metaphors help users refer to abstract contents, and geo-referenced information grounds entities in physical space. While information search is a...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Street names provide important insights into the local culture, history, and politics of places. Linked open data provide a wealth of knowledge that can be associated with street names, enabling novel ways to explore cultural geographies. This paper presents a three-fold contribution. We present (1) a technique to establish a correspondence between...
Chapter
Full-text available
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) support spatial problem solving by large repositories of procedures, which are mainly operating on map layers. These procedures and their parameters are often not easy to understand and use, especially not for domain experts without extensive GIS training. This hinders a wider adoption of mapping and spatial ana...
Chapter
Full-text available
The computational representation of place is one of the key research areas for the advancement of geographic information science (GIScience), bridging the gap between place-based human cognition and experience, and space-centered information systems. While many conceptual schemas, vocabularies and ontologies contain some notion of place, the concep...
Chapter
Full-text available
Vast swaths of geographic information are produced by non-professional contributors using online collaborative tools. To extract value from the data, creators and consumers alike need some degree of consensus about what the entities of their domain of interest are and how they are related. Traditional information communities, such as government age...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The assessment of the quality of volunteered geographic information (VGI) is cornerstone to understand the fitness for purpose of datasets in many application domains. While most analyses focus on geometric and positional quality, only sporadic attention has been devoted to the interpretation of the data, i.e., the communication process through whi...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) evaluates the environmental impact of a product through its entire life cycle, from material extraction to final disposal or recycling. The environmental impacts of an activity depend on both the ac-tivity's direct emissions to the environment as well as indirect emissions caused by activities elsewhere in the supply cha...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
We propose to include the perspective of spatial computing in interdisciplinary courses on spatial thinking. Specifically, we recommend developing and applying a set of spatial lenses through which learners of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) get to see geographic space and choose spatial computations. These lenses are based on the core concept...
Article
Full-text available
In crowdsourced cartographic projects, mappers coordinate their efforts through online tools to produce digital geospatial artefacts, such as maps and gazetteers, which were once the exclusive territory of professional surveyors and cartographers. In order to produce meaningful and coherent data, contributors need to negotiate a shared conceptualis...
Article
Full-text available
Search engine results influence the visibility of different viewpoints in political, cultural, and scientific debates. Treating search engines as editorial products with intrinsic biases can help understand the structure of information flows in new media. This paper outlines an empirical methodology to analyze the representation of topics in search...
Article
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Graphs have become ubiquitous structures to encode geographic knowledge online. The Semantic Web's linked open data, folksonomies, wiki websites and open gazetteers can be seen as geo-knowledge graphs, that is labeled graphs whose vertices represent geographic concepts and whose edges encode the relations between concepts. To compute the semantic s...
Article
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The recent emergence of e-readers and electronic books (e-books) has brought the death of the book to the centre of current debates on new media. In this article, we analyse alternative narratives that surround the possibility of the disappearance of print books, dominated by fetishism, fears about the end of humanism and ideas of techno-fundamenta...
Technical Report
Full-text available
This specialist meeting on the theme of spatial search provided a platform for exploring research frontiers at the interface of computer science, cognitive science, and other disciplines, especially in the context of geographically referenced information. This report reviews the discussions among 36 experts from academia and industry over two days,...
Conference Paper
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E-recruitment uses a range of web-based technologies to find, evaluate, and hire new personnel for organizations. A crucial challenge in this arena lies in the categorization of job o↵ers: candidates and operators often explore and analyze large numbers of o↵ers and profiles through a set of job categories. To date, recruitment organizations define...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
One of the main reasons why software projects fail is the lack of communication between the business users, who actually know the problem domain, and the developers who design and implement the software model. " (Ghosh 2011). Abstract We present the design rationale underlying a language for spatial computing and sketch a prototypical implementatio...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Personal GeoServices are emerging as an interaction paradigm linking users to information rich environments like a university campus or to Big Data sources like the Internet of Things by delivering spatially intelligent web-services. OpenStreetMap (OSM) constitutes a valuable source of spatial base-data that can be extracted, integrated, and utilis...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Place is a central category in the human experience. Across cultures, individuals describe experiences, express opinions, narrate stories set in and about places. The web provides a large, dynamic corpus of documents describing places from a myriad of viewpoints. Emotions and their expression play an important role in these representations of place...
Article
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Daring predictions of the proximate future can establish shared discursive frameworks, mobilize capital, and steer complex processes. Among the prophetic visions that encouraged and accompanied the development of new communication technologies was the "Digital Earth," described in a 1998 speech by Al Gore as a high-resolution representation of the...
Article
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The linked open data (LOD) paradigm has emerged as a promising approach to structuring and sharing geospatial information. One of the major obstacles to this vision lies in the difficulties found in the automatic integration between heterogeneous vocabularies and ontologies that provides the semantic backbone of the growing constellation of open ge...
Article
Full-text available
In geographic information science and semantics, the computation of semantic similarity is widely recognised as key to supporting a vast number of tasks in information integration and retrieval. By contrast, the role of geo-semantic relatedness has been largely ignored. In natural language processing, semantic relatedness is often confused with the...
Article
Full-text available
Over the past decade, rapid advances in web technologies, coupled with innovative models of spatial data collection and consumption, have generated a robust growth in geo-referenced information, resulting in spatial information overload. Increasing 'geographic intelligence' in traditional text-based information retrieval has become a prominent appr...
Article
Full-text available
Computational measures of semantic similarity between geographic terms provide valuable support across geographic information retrieval, data mining, and information integration. To date, a wide variety of approaches to geo-semantic similarity have been devised. A judgment of similarity is not intrinsically right or wrong, but obtains a certain deg...
Article
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This article examines the role of discourses about new media technology and the web in the rise of the 5-Star Movement (Movimento 5 Stelle, or M5S) in Italy. Founded by comedian and activist Beppe Grillo and web entrepreneur Gianroberto Casaleggio in 2009, this movement succeeded in becoming the second largest party at the 2013 national elections i...
Conference Paper
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The convergence of Earth-observing media, web technologies, and cheap, portable devices has resulted in an explosion of geographic information. Although powerful, the "geographic information universe" metaphor obfuscates the deeply social and political nature of the socio-technical systems in which the flood of geographic information is produced an...
Article
Full-text available
A growing corpus of online informal reviews is generated every day by non-experts, on social networks and blogs, about an unlimited range of products and services. Users do not only express holistic opinions, but often focus on specific features of their interest. The automatic understanding of “what people think” at the feature level can greatly s...
Article
Full-text available
In recent years a web phenomenon known as Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) has produced large crowdsourced geographic datasets. Open- StreetMap (OSM), the leading VGI project, aims at building an open-content world map through user contributions. OSM semantics consists of a set of proper- ties (called 'tags') describing geographic classes,...
Article
Full-text available
Volunteered geographic information VGI is generated by heterogenous ‘information communities’ that co-operate to produce reusable units of geographic knowledge. A consensual lexicon is a key factor to enable this open production model. Lexical definitions help demarcate the boundaries of terms, forming a thin semantic ground on which knowledge can...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In recent years, the open data (LOD) paradigm has emerged as a promising approach to structuring, publishing, and sharing data online, using Semantic Web standards. From a geospatial perspective, one of the key challenges consists of bridging the gap between the vast amount of crowdsourced, semi-structured or unstructured geo-information and the Se...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
A cognitively plausible measure of semantic similarity between geographic concepts is valuable across several areas, including geographic information retrieval, data mining, and ontology alignment. Semantic similarity measures are not intrinsically right or wrong, but obtain a certain degree of cognitive plausibility in the context of a given appli...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In recent years, geographic information has entered the main-stream, deeply altering the pre-existing patterns of its production, dis-tribution, and consumption. Through web mapping, millions of online users utilise spatial data in interactive digital maps. The typical unit of visualisation of geo-data is a viewport, defined as a bi-dimensional ima...
Article
Full-text available
The past decade has witnessed a steady growth of open source software usage in industry and academia, leading to a complex ecosystem of projects. Web and subsequently geographical information systems have become prominent technologies, widely adopted in diverse domains. Within this context, we developed an open source web platform for interoperable...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In recent years, the proliferation of Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) has enabled many Internet users to contribute to the construction of rich and increasingly complex spatial datasets. This growth of geo-referenced information and the often loose semantic structure of such data have resulted in spatial information overload. For this reas...
Article
Researchers at the Spatial Information Systems Group at University College Dublin (UCD) have developed implicit techniques for inferring user interests and adapting map content accordingly. Location-Based Services (LBS) use portable devices to deliver information to users based on their geographical position. Web search engines represent a good exa...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
With the growing availability of geo-referenced information on the Web, the problem of spatial information overload has attracted interest both in the commercial and academic world. In order to tackle this issue, personalisation techniques can be used to tailor spatial contents based upon user interests. RecoMap, the system described in this paper,...
Article
Full-text available
As the volume of information available online continues to grow, there is an increasing problem with information overload. This issue is also escalating in the spatial domain as the amount of geo-tagged information expands. With such an abundance of geo-information, it is difficult for map users to find content that is relevant to them. The problem...
Article
Full-text available
As the quantity of geospatial information rapidly increases, information overload in the spatial domain is becoming a serious issue. Often the amount of information being displayed on digital maps makes it difficult to determine useful content. In order to assist in resolving this problem, personalisation techniques have been developed. The most ef...

Questions

Question (1)
Question
A question for quant geographers: Are there good studies on the spatial clustering/co-occurrence of common POIs? I am thinking of the usual example of post offices (planned, dispersed) vs restaurants (unplanned, clustered). #geography #pointsofinterest #giscience

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Projects

Projects (3)
Project
Geographies of User-Generated Content
Project
Media are not only technical and social objects, but also cultural constructions that inform wider representations and perceptions of technologies and societies. This project aims to study the role of the imaginary in media histories, focusing in particular on how narratives about the so-called 'digital revolution' were employed by groups such as political parties, social movements and big corporations, and how these narratives shaped practical interactions with media in everyday lives.
Project
Mapping Museums is a four-year project that will produce the first authoritative database of museums that opened and closed during a period of rapid expansion and change, and will provide the first evidence-based history of independent museums and their links to wider cultural, social, and political concerns. It is thought that between 1970 and 1989, some 1300 new museums opened in the UK. The vast majority of these new venues were independent, were founded by community and special interest groups, and individual collectors, and they differed from public museums to such an extent that that they were judged to have ‘revolutionized’ the sector. There are now understood to be some 1600 independent museums in the UK, but despite the extraordinary boom in their numbers we know very little about them. Regional and national funding bodies and museums associations collect data on independent museums, but it is not cross referenced and is limited to their specific remits and areas of interest. They do not keep records on when museums opened and if they close, and the information that is available cannot be mapped or easily searched. In the first phase of the project, the research team will collate and supplement existing information to establish a dataset of all UK museums from 1960-2020 and, in turn, build a database that is searchable according to factors including location, date of foundation, subject matter, size, type of museums, and combinations of these attributes. This information will be mapped visually and will be freely available in open source format on a project website. In the second phase of the research we will use the database to identify patterns in the emergence, development and closure of independent museums and then seek to account for those trends (or anomalies) through historical and interview-based research. The research will enable us to establish long-term trends in the development of independent museums: when exactly museums opened, if there was a link between where they opened and their subject matter, or between date and subject matter, if there are areas where few museums opened or survived, and if these patterns correlate to other broader cultural or social factors. It will produce the first evidence-based history of the UK museum boom, show how the sector has developed, and provide an insight into the grass roots concerns at a regional and national level. As such, it will contribute to our scholarly understanding of British culture, be useful for policy makers and arts funders, and of interest to the general public. The research will also address the computational challenge of defining a conceptual model that reflects the knowledge of museum studies experts and the diverse data collected about the museums themselves; and to develop a database and visualisations that are easily able to be evolved and extended as new data is gathered, new research insights are made, and the researchers’ understanding of the domain and their data analysis requirements change. For the database development, we are using semantic web and linked data technologies such as RDF, OWL and SPARQL. The project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and is led by Fiona Candlin, Professor of Museology (Principal investigator), and by Alex Poulovassilis, Professor of Computer Science (Co-investigator).