London pixel in 2020

Welcome to London pixel, the site about London, arranged by lots of tiny dots and pixels.┬áBecause that’s all we are, tiny little dots in tiny little pixels in a landscape called London.

It is the name of a new venture. I will keep it simple text at present, as it is a whole new experience on my brand new 5G server (It is actually 16G, but I don’t like to boast).

What does London lack? London lacks purpose.

Who visits London at present? Just those who have to go to work, and the diehards.

A pixel is a tiny dot in a picture, pictures are made up of thousands of dots, or pixels, each can have a range of colours, usually just the three primary colours of different strength, or mix.

These pixels could be just black or white (on or off, a 1 or a zero). This is binary. This would need to be stored as a bit of data, it is in an on or off state.

A byte of data is 8 bits in length, with each bit being a 1 or zero. If you do a bit of maths, this gives you a binary range of 0000 0000 (eight zeros) to 1111 1111 (eight ones) , and this allows a decimal number equivalence of 0 to 255.

A quick bit of maths explains this, the smallest digit / bit is 0 or 1, the next is worth 2 or 0, then 4 or 0, then 8 or 0, then 16 or 0, then 32 or 0, then 64 or 0, and lastly 128 or 0. See the pattern.

That’s enough of that for a moment.

What if I broke London down to lots of bits and bytes and pixels. London is so huge, it is impossible to even visit it in its entirety, let alone imagine it all.

Even just a list of streets and alleyways is huge, and conveys little meaning.#

Most of my current sites which are mainly street directories, or collections of data at points in time have little credibility to the average reader, they are like making sense of a random selection of bits and bytes where there are random on and off points, 1s and 0s, they make no sense, even to the super intelligent. Most also do not care.

So, how do we convey meaning in a pixel?

Well, lets next consider compression of a picture or a sound, and the most economical way of storing this image.

When you take a photograph on your mobile phone, with its super high intensity, it may be a 4GB image, for arguments sake.

I now want to upload that image to a web page, maybe this one, but your average phone user will use all of their data in opening this one web page.

So, we compress the image, to make it smaller.We could test each eight dots in the picture, and if they are mostly a 1, we say they are all 1, if most are 0, then all are zero. We could immediately restore this image as 8 times smaller by just remembering this information, then we could repeat this task, again and again. We compress the image at the same time losing some of the intensity and clarity.

This is how sound was squahed and compressed onto a DVD from an original sound track which was much more noisy. You lose quality at the expense of making it smaller in size.

So, the London pixel site is all about making sense of the bigger picture and images, without losing the plot.

My first project is to map the entirety of the Roman London wall from AD 343, and tell you where it was. It’s a start, and may take a few months.

In the meantime, I am looking for lots of great imagery to use on the site from today or yesteryear. Let me know if you want toget involved.

Kevan

One comment

  1. Hi, this is a note to say what an excellent idea, and very fresh from the thousands who use pinterest and twitter and facebook, and just copy other peoples pictures.
    So, you provide your own for everyone to copy from. Or can they?
    Also very impressed with the blog on the Roman London wall, and I intend to walk the walk in modern London town a lot more once this scabby pandmic has gone away; here is a chance to plan your walks from the comfort of your armchair.

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