Monday, 26 October 2015

Mapping and data visualisation:an initiative from Oxford

Oxford University is one of the oldest educational institutions in the world. But age and tradition count for nothing today, where education and research must be cutting-edge if they are to make any mark at all in the contemporary data-savvy environment in which they compete for students, funds and credibility.

In this context Aistemos notes the initiative taken by the Oxford Internet Institute which it brands the Information Geographies Project. The Institute explains:
“This project proposes a comprehensive mapping of contemporary geographies of knowledge.

Information is the raw material for much of the work that goes on in the contemporary global economy. As such, it is important to understand who produces and reproduces, who has access, and who and where are represented by information in our contemporary knowledge economy.

Our goal is to produce a comprehensive atlas of contemporary information and Internet geographies, that will draw on four years of focused research conducted at the Oxford Internet Institute. Specifically, the atlas will draw on unique data, visualisations, and maps in order to tell a story about three key facets of global information geographies (access, information production, and information representation).

We aim to broadly disseminate this work in a variety of open and accessible formats including free and interactive ebooks, an interactive website, and a printed atlas. We’re still at early stages of the work, but keep an eye on this site for all of our updates”.
The potential relevance of this project to IP analytics is obvious, in that the creation and publication of information through the patent system fall within its scope and the data which its research already addresses provides greater understanding of the location and magnitude of potential markets for information-based products.  Internet penetration, broadband access and the extent to which web-enabled products are used is not just a matter of social curiosity: it's important for anyone investing in the development and sale of hardware and necessary software that drives the sector.

The Institute's published work so far appears to be tangential to the IP/innovation nexus rather than central to it. The imbalance of both the availability of information and its use are among subjects tackled so far, with stunning graphics (an example of which is shown below) -- some of which are interactive.

The project's content is not merely accessible but is governed by a generous Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License (here).

It is hoped that the Institute's work will continue to open up fresh vistas in terms of being able to gain a better understanding of where information is created and how it moves, and that it will assist in putting more meaning into IP analytics in the future.

Thanks go to beSpacific for alerting us to this project.

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