Our first Python coding dojo!

This week we had our first ever Python Coding Dojo! Around 25 current and former undergraduate students, PhDs and staff got together for evening of coding, pizza and fun.

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A coding dojo is a safe place to practice and develop coding skills in a relaxed, uncompetitive environment. On the night we split into the groups of mixed ability, meaning that relative newcomers were working with those of intermediate and more advanced experience with coding and the Python language.

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Out task was to use the tools provided by Pygame Zero, a Python framework for creating games and animations without the need for hard-core programming skills. None of the participants had used Pygame Zero before, yet within a couple of hours many of the groups had managed to produce fun simple ‘games’ or animations.

PhD student Dom Weldon, who organised the event, set us the task to create an animation and/or game to demonstrate some concept in geography. There was variable commitment between the ‘teams’ to that task. Team Two More Minutes stuck to the brief, developing an animation to depict the trajectory of human evolution through changing physical environments. Team flatearthsociety provided a commentary on the state of the world at a time with Donald Trump as one of the most powerful people in the world. Teams Henry And The Moon and Space Invaders left the planet altogether to develop a space-based animation and game.

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Some teams didn’t quite complete what they set out to do, but they certainly learned in the process and hopefully they didn’t stay up too late into the wee hours trying to perfect their vision. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and people are already asking for another dojo. Thanks again to Dom Weldon for organising this event and maybe we can persuade him to do it again soon.

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I’m really pleased to share a piece that Dani Arribas-Bel and I recently co-authored in Geography Compass on the sometimes fraught relationship between (human) geography and computers, and advocating for the creation of a Geographic Data Science. For those of a ‘TL; DR’ nature (or without the privilege of an institutional subscription!), we wanted to share some of our key ideas in a more accessible format. Continue reading

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Recently, I was asked to give talks at both UCL’s CASA and the ETH Future Cities Lab in Singapore for students and staff new to ‘urban data science’ and the sorts of workflows involved in collecting, processing, analysing, and reporting on … Continue reading