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Steven Gray

Research subject

Thesis title: Bigdata Toolkit: Enhancing Geospatial data collection and visualisation via custom toolkits, consumer devices and mass participation

Primary supervisor: Professor Andrew Hudson-Smith
Secondary supervisor: Professor Anthony Steed
Starting date: November, 2011
Projected completion date: November, 2018

With the emergence of Web 2.0 technologies, users are increasingly looking for a more interactive, engaging involvement from their web experience. HTML 5 is providing users with a variety of tools that fuse highly interactive media and data into experiences which resemble desktop software. This research proposes to leverage Web 2.0 technologies to provide users with a toolkit that can be used to collect large amounts of data from various mediums, such as social media outlets, data stores etc., and provide workflows and tools to visualise the data collected.

The toolkit takes advantage of large scale distributed, high performance, computational data services such as Google’s Big Table (Chang, F. et al. 2008); Fusion Tables (Gonzalez et al. 2010) and Amazon’s Hadoop (Hadoop, 2008) platform to allow complex, live analysis to be performed by members of the public who may have little experience of such systems through simple to use interfaces. First tasks will evaluate new ways of collecting data from the public by harnessing typical web systems (browser-based services, mobile devices) and non conventional collection systems such as games consoles and real-time sensor networks.


Steven Gray joined CASA in September 2009, working as part of the NeISS project which aims to provide a platform to meet the demand for powerful simulation tools by social scientists, public and private sector policymakers. Since then he has designed and built various systems at CASA such as Tweet-o-Meter, QRator, Tall Tales and is a regular presenter on The Global Lab podcast.

Previously, Steve worked at the University of Glasgow as a Research Assistant with the Glasgow Interaction and Systems Group (GIST - Computing Science) as part of the EPSRC funded Open Interface project.

His current research interests include Human Computer Interaction, mobile development, accessible web development with a focus on Social Media, Web based Mapping and Ubiquitous Computing.

Publications and other work

[1] Mark Birkin, Nick Malleson, Andy Hudson-Smith, Steven Gray, Richard Milton (2011)

Calibration of a Spatial Simulation Model with Volunteered Geographical Information,

International Journal of Geographical Information Science. (Special issue on data-intensive geospatial computing). Available at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13658816.2011.559169

[2] Ramsay, A.R., McGee, M.R., Wilson, G., Gray, S. J, Gray, P, and Francois, De Turenne (2009)

Tilt and Go: The Role of Gestural Interaction in Collaborative Coordination Tasks in a Mobile Setting, Submitted to 11th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services. Available at: http://www.springerlink.com/content/w0807t8762045043/

[3] Gray, S. J, (2008)

Multi Gesture Recognition System for Interactive Musical Spaces,

Thesis Submitted for the Degree of MSc Computing Science and Internet Science, University of Strathclyde, 2008.