Saturday, November 22, 2014


For anyone interested in reading my ramblings. I'm moving this blog back to my site: . 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Athens transit weighted graph I

Experiment, code->paint: Bash, MySQL Geospatial, Java, Linestring weighted edge clustering, Oil on canvas.
Central Athens bus network, edges weighted by OASA frequency.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Visualisation of Athens Public Transport

"Unfortunately, no one can be told what The Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself."

Using the new styled map functionality of Google maps API v3, I've created these visualisations of the bus network in Athens.

The network is made up of 569 bus routes covering a combined distance of 6500 Km - enough to stretch to central China... Each route is shown here in red - where bright red indicates a higher concentration of buses.

Central Athens - This detail demonstrates how well the centre of Athens is connected. It puzzles me why anyone would need to use a car (or taxi ;)) I'm in favor of banning all cars in the central zone...

Connections to the port from central Athens

Port of Piraeus

Agia Paraskevi

Monday, September 20, 2010

Athens Taxi Cost Estimation

Tired of being overcharged for taxi trips in Athens? At the weekend I made this simple tool to help estimate the cost of traveling through Athens by taxi: The costs have been calculated according to the most up to date laws (2010) and include a full itemisation of charges you can expect from your taxi trip. The charges also include the 11% VAT introduced for Athens taxi services in July.

To use the tool, simply right-click on the map to specify your starting and destination address or use the input fields in the left hand side menu. The screenshot below shows a trip from the port to the airport including additional port, toll-road (Attikh Odos) and airport fees.

The tool was made using Google's Beta Maps API v3, Google geocoding and directions services and some very ugly hacked up css/jquery/javascript. Improvements coming soon :)

Open Transport Data

A Case for Open Data in Transit from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Eastern Telegraph Co Ltd

This interesting looking building was once the hub of telecommunications for Greece, established c,1854 (I think). It is the site where the first submarine cables were laid, in 1858, connecting Syros to mainland Greece via Pieria. Later, cables were laid connecting Syros and Chios, subsequently providing the first telecommunications to Constantinople and Alexandria.

According to this reference Greece under King George, "There are 8,958 kilometres of wire, and 186 telegraph- offices. The most important service is that of the Eastern Telegraph Company, with its head-quarters at Syros." The building later housed the Merchant Navy School.

The interior of the building is fascinating. Strange mechanical devices lay dormant amidst the call of squabbling pigeons.

The structure was severely damaged during the Second World War, although restored in 1947 to house the TTT (Panhellenic Telephony Telegraphy & Postal Service).


Next to the Eastern Telegraph Company building lay the ruins of "Limokathartirio"; a large complex, constructed in 1839 by the Bavarian architect & painter, Wilhelm von Weiler. Weiler was also the architect of the Old Military Hospital in Athens, constructed earlier in 1834. The Lazaretta/Limokathartirio building in Syros is considered to be Weiler's masterpiece. Initially, the complex was used as Quarantine until the late 19th century.

The main part of the building consists of 32 rooms (all equipped with a kitchen, wash area and lavatory), in which mainly Eastern travelers would be required to stay for a minimum of 7 days "clearing period" before entering Ermoupoli.

Until the late 19th century, this clearing period was implemented as a measure to protect the local population of Syros from major diseases of the time, such as the deadly cholera pandemics. From 1908, the complex was used as an asylum for the insane. And later still, up until 1961, used as a prison holding political prisoners en-route to be expelled to deserted islands.

The building has been divided up according to function (Quarantine, Asylum, Prison). It is possible to identify the purpose of each area by looking at the colour of the walls. Saffron is the quarantine area, while Red is the Asylum area and Grey, the prison.

It is difficult to find any specific historical events (although there must be many) related to the occupants of the building. Although, through a little searching, it is apparent that a Greek priest, intellectual & revolutionary (Theophilos Kairis) died in the building (assuming the building was also a prison at the time) on the 10th January, 1853.

In modern Greek history, Theophilos Kairis (b. 1784) is an important figure. On the 10th May, 1821 he declared the War of Independence by raising the Greek flag on the island of Andros (See wikipedia article). He also imported revolutionary thinking, such as western science & liberalism in to Greece and is notably credited with introducing the first telescope to Greece.

Despite this, his "radical" ideas did not impress the Greek Orthodox Church. Consequently, the never ending obstacle of rational thought that is - The Church -, declared him as a heretic & sent him to Syros for trial. Theophilos Kairis, along with his collaborators were tried on the 21st December 1852 in Ermopoli, where he was sentenced to 2 years imprisonment. Being 68 years old and frail, he perished after only 10 days of imprisonment in the Lazaretta building.

He was buried without any ceremony in the yard of the building; Later, priest's, along with followers of the church, desecrated his grave by exhuming his body, cutting open his belly and stuffing it with Lime in protest of his "heresy".

Off topic note: according to this reference, the desecration happened as above - I find this a little hard to believe. It is known that Theophilos Kairis died of "natural causes" - after only 10 days in prison. He died in a time of plague & disease, he was buried without ceremony, and further still, in a building which was also used as quarantine. If these facts are taken into consideration, along with the strange use of Lime, I believe: Lime (Quick lime / powder - Calcium Oxide), in times of plague, has historically been used to cover corpses. This is because calcium oxide/lime speeds up the decomposition process, thereby minimising the risk of disease to the living population. Lime, in it's raw form, was also used to mask the smell of death. Given this, it's more probable that since he perished of "natural causes", it may have been suspected that he died of sickness, and had to be buried quickly - hense the lack of ceremony.

It's a fascinating structure, with a strange, and as is the case with Theophilos Kairis; a dark history. Unfortunately, many of the red brick arches have become the victim of developers (one of whom is known locally as "The Dragon") who have apparently removed many bricks by hammering away at the building under the cover of night in order to build fireplaces in modern day homes.

In 1976, a developer removed over 50 bricks from von Weiler's masterpiece to be used in reinforced concrete for a patio for a holiday villa in the nearby village of Finika. Subsequently, the magnificent arches at the front of the building collapsed. Soon after this, in 1978, the Greek state recognised the building as an official monument; although since then, it has been left to ruin. More unfortunate are the plans to use the site as a casino :( -- I believe this to be a shame, given the site's notable architecture and its importance in modern Greek history.

Industrial Ruins

Ruins of the Ladopoulou Tannery


May day

Friday, January 15, 2010

Map of interesting architcture in Athens, Greece

Using google maps API and by geocoding data from EIE I've constructed a map of interesting architecture in Athens. Buildings can be filtered according to year of construction by using a slidebar (see screenshot above) + the map has a basic search function.

Using a map of Athens published in 1890 from Meyers Konversationslexikon, following the design of modern Athens by architects Stamatis Kleanthis, Eduard Schaubert & Leo von Klenze , I aligned the streets from the 1890 survey with the streets as they exist today. The 1890 survey is astonishingly accurate - It's fascinating how this level of precision cartography was achieved without modern day tools such as GPS. Subsequently, the original survey can be imposed on to the modern map with very minor corrections.

Above is a detail of Kolonaki. According to the 1890 map, the modern day Hilton hotel was built on top of a Barracks & everything south of Vasilissis Sofias Avenue was undeveloped.. You can also see how the development of Kolonaki has spread up into Lykavittos :/

By comparing the Acropolis with the survey from 1890, it's possible to see how much things have changed... Lot's of interesting things to see here :)

Back to the architecture map - I've noticed this building a few times whilst coming back from Athens in a taxi. According to EIE, it was built in 1925. I especially like this one - it stands in huge contrast to the hastily built modern slabs of concrete around it. Here it is on the map - 46 Septemviou & Marni Steet