Category: Data & Tech

Lockdown bound: through Europe and the COVID-19 outbreak

  • We are safely in lockdown on a site in the UK now and doing ok. Maybe the last year spent on the road – with our “the plan is, there is no plan” approach – was a helpful experience. We are already used to not seeing our friends and family so much, going out and spending less, and cutting out lots of things we don’t really need (because they weigh too much!) 

    Friends abroad are seeing signs of lockdown easing – they can go to the pub in Vietnam 🙂 Here in the UK, there’s lots of discussion about tracking apps and data and privacy. This got me wondering. Hindsight is a wonderful thing of course. With the open data now available, I wondered if I could track our homeward journey through the unfolding pandemic. How close did we come? Where might we have been exposed?

    Good practice from a data visualisation perspective. And, an interesting challenge in terms of exploring tracking, risk, exposure, contact and transmission, etc. I used R Studio – free open source software – to create an interactive map to display and animate our movements through the georeferenced case data. 

    The amount of open data around the pandemic is impressive. It has been an important asset in understanding what works in terms of controlling the spread of COVID-19.

    I used time series and individual case records from the John Hopkins University and data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control

    Thanks to the authors of the following R packages, for making creating the mapping app so straightforward: shiny, leaflet, geosphere, tidyverse, leaflet.minicharts, vov

  • For a special birthday treat this year, and thinking ahead to our upcoming tour, I got a new digital camera. We’ve had a Panasonic TZ20 for years – great pictures in good light, good zoom, really compact – but it had some fluff in the lens that we couldn’t shift and the zoom motor was starting to play up. Low light performance was not great – my newer mobile (Samsung S7) took better indoor and night-time shots. As ever, I pondered long and hard over what to get – a good all rounder, for photo and video, not too bulky, not too expensive.

    In the end we stuck with Panasonic, and the simplicity of a fixed lens, and went for the FZ2000, described as a super-zoom bridge camera. It has 20x zoom, 1 inch sensor, better low light perfomance, 4k video, good battery life and a host of other features like 4k photo, built in neutral density filters and much more to be discovered I’m sure.

    Very pleased with the results so far. Got a lot to learn but hoping for some great photo mementos from our upcoming van life adventures. These are from our fantastic trip to Mauritius. The .jpg sizes are normally around 6-8Mb (20Mp) so I’ve had to resize/shrink them here.