‘Nobody wants to do council estates’ – digitaldivide, spatial justice and outliersMuki HaklayExtreme Citizen Science (ExCi...
1607(cc) Wikimedia Commons
Normal Distribution & Standard Deviation(cc) Wikimedia Commons
UK Indices of Multiple Deprivation  Deprivation Score                       20% Most                              20% Leas...
Power Laws             (cc) Wikimedia Commons
(c) Visual Libration
• Pew Research Centre of Facebook (Nielsen 2012): In a  phone survey, people reported an average of 227 FB  "friends", act...
Contribution                                                Registered Users                                              ...
OSM contribution in the UK to 2008
OSMers – portrait                      Female                                                                 Above 50    ...
Population and completeness                                                      Length of OSM / Length of Meridian 2 <= 0...
200       OSM coverage in England, by180       deprivation index160    Mar ‘11140       Mar ‘10120       Oct‘09100        ...
140       OSM (with attributes) coverage in England,120    by deprivation index100806040                                  ...
Spatial and Social Inequality                           Rural
(c) Mother Jones
UNDERSTANDING THEWORLD?
Social media, Geography and Society• Learning about a phenomenon• Learning about society from analysis of actively  contri...
Geograph       Panoramio   Picasa Web   FlickrSource: Vyron Antoniou, UCL
Source: Thomas Koukoletsos
Source: Thomas Koukoletsos
Flickr – Locals (blue)vs. Tourists (red)                         Source: Eric Fischer
…how to minimize theimportance of bias in social-media data and ignore how suchdata differs from the actualpopulation … le...
The geography of talk in Great Britain. Shows the strongest 80% oflinks, as measured by total talk time, between areas wit...
Reading Digiplace: filtered by software and people
Different modes of research• Passive observation of engagement – ‘letting the  market operate’• Active engagement or study...
(c) Andrea Antonello(cc) Nick black                                         (cc) Urbanwide - flickr
(c) Dair Grant(cc) Shaun McDonald                                       (cc) Chris Fleming
• Use of social media / geoweb for statements  about society is highly problematic because of  digital inequality and ampl...
'Nobody wants to do council estates’ – digital divide, spatial justice and outliers
'Nobody wants to do council estates’ – digital divide, spatial justice and outliers
'Nobody wants to do council estates’ – digital divide, spatial justice and outliers
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'Nobody wants to do council estates’ – digital divide, spatial justice and outliers

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The understanding of the world through digital representation (digiplace) and volunteered geographic information (VGI) is frequently carried out with the assumption that these are valid, comprehensive and useful representations of the world. A common practice throughout the literature on these issues is to notice the digital divide, and while accepting it as a social and not natural phenomenon, either ignoring it for the rest of the analysis or expecting that it will solve itself over time through technological diffusion. The almost deterministic belief in technological diffusion absolves the analyst from fully confronting the political implication of the divide.
 
However, what VGI and social media analysis is revealing is that the digital divide is part of deep and growing social inequalities in Western societies. Worse still, digiplace amplifies and strengthen them.
 
In digiplace the wealthy, powerful, educated and mostly male elite is amplified through multiple digital representations. Moreover, the frequent decision of algorithm designers to privilege those who submit more media, and the level of ‘digital cacophony’ that more active contributors are creating mean that a very small minority – arguably outliers in every analysis of normal distribution of human activities – are super empowered. Therefore, digiplace power relationships are arguably more polarised than outside cyberspace due to the lack of social check and balances. This makes the acceptance of the disproportional amount of information that these outliers produce as reality highly questionable.
 
The paper highlights the mass silencing of voices in society and call for a more critical engagement with digiplace and VGI.

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'Nobody wants to do council estates’ – digital divide, spatial justice and outliers

  1. 1. ‘Nobody wants to do council estates’ – digitaldivide, spatial justice and outliersMuki HaklayExtreme Citizen Science (ExCiteS) Research GroupDepartment of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering, UCLm.haklay@ucl.ac.uk
  2. 2. 1607(cc) Wikimedia Commons
  3. 3. Normal Distribution & Standard Deviation(cc) Wikimedia Commons
  4. 4. UK Indices of Multiple Deprivation Deprivation Score 20% Most 20% Least Deprived Deprived Super Output Areas Ranked by Deprivation Score
  5. 5. Power Laws (cc) Wikimedia Commons
  6. 6. (c) Visual Libration
  7. 7. • Pew Research Centre of Facebook (Nielsen 2012): In a phone survey, people reported an average of 227 FB "friends", actual profiles 245 friends. 32% of respondents were *really* off in their survey answers, being MORE THAN 50% WRONG.• Substantial difference between outgoing and incoming use of FB features. Average users sent 9 private messages but received 12. They "liked" stuff 14 times per month but received 20 "likes" from others during the month. 12% of users tagged a photo during the one-month study, but 35% of users were tagged in a photo.• How can the average user receive more messages, likes, and photo tags than they generate? Because overall FB use is distorted by a small number of superusers who incessantly send, like, tag, poke, and so forth all day long. (These people must have no life.)
  8. 8. Contribution Registered Users 117,000 Mappers Non-mappers 33452 (29%) 83548 (71%) One-timers >100 nodes >1000 >10000 >100000 14834 (44%) (46%) (21%) (5%) (0.6%)Source: www.openstreetmap.org , downloaded from http://downloads.cloudmade.com/(Accessed on April, 2009)Source: Nama Budhathoki, McGill
  9. 9. OSM contribution in the UK to 2008
  10. 10. OSMers – portrait Female Above 50 Below 20 (3%) years years (10%) (4%) 41-50 years (22%) Male 20-30 (96%) years (32%) 31-40 Doctoral High years degree School or (32%) Post- (8%) lower Some graduate (5%) College degree (17%) (21%) College/ University degree (49%) N=426Source: Nama Budhathoki, McGill
  11. 11. Population and completeness Length of OSM / Length of Meridian 2 <= 0.20 Length of OSM / Length of Meridian 2 > 1.00 (both datasets with attributes) (both datasets with attributes) 16000 7000Number of Untouched Grid Cells 14000 Number of Complete Grid Cells 6000 12000 5000 10000 OSM 0308 4000 OSM 0308 8000 OSM 0309 OSM 0309 OSM 1009 3000 OSM 1009 6000 2000 4000 2000 1000 0 0 <= 14.00 15.00 - 40.00 41.00 - 137.00 138.00 - 820.00 821.00+ <= 14.00 15.00 - 40.00 41.00 - 137.00 138.00 - 820.00 821.00+ Population / 1km Grid Square Population / 1km Grid Square
  12. 12. 200 OSM coverage in England, by180 deprivation index160 Mar ‘11140 Mar ‘10120 Oct‘09100 Mar ‘0980 Average of PCTMeridianOSM0308 Average of PCTMeridianOSM030960 Average of PCTMeridianOSM1009 Average of PCTMeridianOSM0310 Mar ‘08 Average of PCTMeridianOSM0910 Average of PCTMeridianOSM031140 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30 32 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50 52 54 56 58 60 62 64 66 68 70 72 74 76 78 80 82 84 86 88 90 92 94 96 98
  13. 13. 140 OSM (with attributes) coverage in England,120 by deprivation index100806040 Average of PCTMeridianOSM0308A20 Average of PCTMeridianOSM0309A Average of PCTMeridianOSM1009A Average of PCTMeridianOSM0310A Average of PCTMeridianOSM0910A Average of PCTMeridianOSM0311A 0 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30 32 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50 52 54 56 58 60 62 64 66 68 70 72 74 76 78 80 82 84 86 88 90 92 94 96 98
  14. 14. Spatial and Social Inequality Rural
  15. 15. (c) Mother Jones
  16. 16. UNDERSTANDING THEWORLD?
  17. 17. Social media, Geography and Society• Learning about a phenomenon• Learning about society from analysis of actively contributed information• Learning about society from passively contributed information
  18. 18. Geograph Panoramio Picasa Web FlickrSource: Vyron Antoniou, UCL
  19. 19. Source: Thomas Koukoletsos
  20. 20. Source: Thomas Koukoletsos
  21. 21. Flickr – Locals (blue)vs. Tourists (red) Source: Eric Fischer
  22. 22. …how to minimize theimportance of bias in social-media data and ignore how suchdata differs from the actualpopulation … lessons:• Big-data fallacy• Beware demographic bias• Beware of naïve sentiment analysis• Silence speaks volumes• Past positive results do not guarantee generalization
  23. 23. The geography of talk in Great Britain. Shows the strongest 80% oflinks, as measured by total talk time, between areas within Britain.The opacity of each link is proportional to the total call timebetween two areas and the different colours represent regionsidentified using network modularity optimisation analysis. Source: MIT SENSABLE City Lab
  24. 24. Reading Digiplace: filtered by software and people
  25. 25. Different modes of research• Passive observation of engagement – ‘letting the market operate’• Active engagement or study of society requires careful consideration of inclusion and/or sampling
  26. 26. (c) Andrea Antonello(cc) Nick black (cc) Urbanwide - flickr
  27. 27. (c) Dair Grant(cc) Shaun McDonald (cc) Chris Fleming
  28. 28. • Use of social media / geoweb for statements about society is highly problematic because of digital inequality and amplified by participation inequality• Biases of gender, education, available time and engagement• Some digital breadcrumbs provide a more accurate representation, but we can assume that the qualitative information provides the explanation for the ‘why’• Obligation of researchers to represent silent voices

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