So as a nice break from the chaos of second semester teaching I popped in to a meeting at Sustrans yesterday.  This invitation came about as a result of one of our students Mike ‘Fists of’ Furey who did a work placement with them over the summer.   Mike happened to mention the RG cycling stuff and I subsequently got a phone call and an invite to one of Sustrans’ technical fora.  It seems that the guy who invited me has since emigrated to Australia, which is a fairly extreme way to avoid sitting through a presentation by me, so respect to that.

Anyway, these technical fora appear to do exactly what they say on the tin – I walked in midway through a very detailed discussion over who precisely has responsibility for tree maintenance along different sustrans cycle routes.  I guess my role was to be the random conversation generator at the end of the day.  Anyway, lots of interesting feedback after the presentation, particularly on the details of the method and how it might be more widely used.  I think there was a bit of horror at the idea that going from an audio recording to a fully coded up transcript takes about a day.  Obviously this is the Rolls Royce way of doing things.  It’s a bit like saying, I can put questionnaire data into Excel in a few hours, but if you want any kind of analysis beyond making a few graphs then it’ll take me a little while – multiple linear regression takes a bit of time and energy.   Similarly, I can get a half hour audio recording into GIS / on a Google Map within two hours, but if you want proper qualitative analysis (rather than just pulling out some interesting quotes) then that does take a while.

Still, lots of food for thought, particularly about opportunities for doing word art projects alongside cycle routes and ways to examine specific issues with infrastructure.