Stuff that occurs to me

All of my 'how to' posts are tagged here. The most popular posts are about blocking and private accounts on Twitter, also the science communication jobs list. None of the science or medical information I might post to this blog should be taken as medical advice (I'm not medically trained).

Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

Contact: @JoBrodie Email: jo DOT brodie AT gmx DOT com

Science in London: The 2016 scientific society talks in London blog post

Monday, 21 March 2011

Nerdytrips - the making of #nerdmap

EDIT: 12 September 2011 - as of a few days ago the new map is live at - the design was by @aaronrudd and it was created by @applecado - we love it :)

The only bit that's really out of date in the post below is the reference to Google Realtime. This wonderful service stopped in around June 2011 and is already missed, but Topsy's pretty good. Not the same though.

------------------- Original post -----------------

Last September Ben Goldacre tweeted of his mild Saturday afternoon boredom and the need to do something non-boring that was local and nerdy, specifically:
"BORED. name a halfdaytrip? i like industrialarchaeology urbanexplorer sub-brit typestuff, dungeness-but-nearer? leaving nw1, car if nec..."
Soon after, a whole load of suggestions came in, many of which Ben retweeted and I thought that there was a lot of interesting stuff being suggested that warranted proper curation in case others wanted to go visiting some of these places. Some of them I'd not even heard of. Plenty were in London but there were a few that were further afield.

Google has a facility that will let you harvest tweets sent to a particular account (or using a particular hashtag) in a way that Twitter's own search pages won't, so I used their "Realtime" option to capture all of the tweets sent to @bengoldacre over that period of time. You can see an example of one of those search results for tweets in which Crossness was suggested. On the right hand side is a timeline and you can use it to scroll backwards and forwards collecting the relevant tweets. I think Google's intention is that you can use it to watch real-time tweets happening now but I've been using it to re-find historic ones.

The result of this was "Abandoned Britain - half day nerd trips" - an alphabetic list of the suggestions with the Twitter names of those suggesting, linking to their original tweet.

To cut a long story short @ImaginaryGF and Ben suggested expanding this list to include the rest of Britain, Europe / the world by turning it into a map / archive of nerdy places in which people could add new additions themselves.

This has now happened :-)

The editable map has had over 90,000 views and at time of writing - 5pm on Monday 21 March - has about 370 additions.

We made it as easy as possible for people to contribute:-
1. Add to the nerdytrips / nerdmap map directly
2. Post a suggestion on Twitter and hashtag it with #nerdytrips (and later #nerdmap) so it could be collected via archiving tools like What The Hashtag.
3. Post a comment on Ben's blog

What's next?I'm going to be adding to the map the suggestions that have come in via Ben's blog or the two hashtags and then transferring (gradually!) the entire map onto a master copy for safekeeping. I think I'm going to be quite busy... There are some other plans in the pipeline but I'm concentrating on this for now.

If you want the raw data the four sources are:-
*don't forget to scroll to the bottom and click on page 2 to get the full list, if you want to copy and paste it you'll need to use the print option (or use Jamie's Yahoo Pipes, below).
Some of this data is available as Word (.docx) files which I've stored on my Dropbox.
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Comment policy: I enthusiastically welcome corrections and I entertain polite disagreement ;) Because of the nature of this blog it attracts a LOT - 5 a day at the moment - of spam comments (I write about spam practices,misleading marketing and unevidenced quackery) and so I'm more likely to post a pasted version of your comment, removing any hyperlinks.

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