Inside the National Museum of Brazil

Por dentro do Museu Nacional” is a Google Arts & Culture project that makes it possible to revisit the collection of the National Museum of Brazil before its fire of 2018.

A virtual guided tour presents 360° views of the main galleries of the Museum:

This room displays the oldest skeleton discovered in the Americas, popularly known as Luzia.

In other sections of the website you can explore geological and archeological works such as meteorites and pottery pieces:

Meteorite Bendego: the largest Brazilian meteorite and one of the largest in the world.
Vaso globular Marajoara: cerâmica brasileira de 3000 anos







Video recordings of Information Plus Conference

Information Plus is a biennial conference on interdisciplinary practices in information design and visualization. The last edition took place in Potsdam Germany from 19 to 21 October.

Organizers have just updated the website with video recordings of the first conference day and photo documentation of the workshops, exhibition and dialog dinner. The remaining videos will follow over the next weeks.

Presentations I watched so far:

Dataviz, Machine Learning and Image Processing at

Held on November 10 and 11 in São Paulo, the third edition of Coda.Br (“Conferência anual de jornalismo de dados e métodos digitais”) featured more than 300 participants and dozens of hours of activities, including presentations and practical activities. I wasn’t able to assist, but fortunately, organizers gathered and shared all conference presentations in one place!

Here I highlight some lectures and workshops regarding subjects such as data visualization, machine learning and data visualization:

Digital technologies to preserve and disseminate Brazilian cultural collections

The fire that destroyed the National Museum in Rio in September this year sparked the alert for the state of conservation of the Brazilian collections and has motivated initiatives from different sectors of civil society. Tomorrow (September, 27), a group of researchers, curators, and educators will meet to discuss how digital technologies can help preserve, disseminate and popularize national cultural collections.

Coordinator of the Vision and Computer Graphics Laboratory of IMPA (Visgraf-IMPA), and one of the guests of the “I Panorama in Digital Technologies for Museums” (“I Panorama em Tecnologias Digitais para Museus“), Luiz Velho knows the theme well. For over two decades, Visgraf has developed projects related to different processes of safeguarding, researching and disseminating museum collections.

At the round table “State of the art of technological solutions, reflections on experiences implemented”, Velho will present part of the work done by Visgraf. One of them is the 3D Museum, a modeling and visualization project, which resulted in the creation of a website and a CD with the virtual exhibition of a collection of clay sculptures, part of the collection of the Folklore Museum of Rio.

Velho will also present projects created for the Astronomy Museum (MAST) and the Antônio Carlos Jobim Institute. Recently, Visgraf partnered with the Moreira Salles Institute (IMS) to research and develop applications regarding IMS’s photographic cultural heritage.

The event will be held at the auditorium of the FGV headquarters (Praia de Botafogo, 190), from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Registration is free and can be done here

Updated (28 November)

Slides of the presentation Media Technologies in the New Museum

Participants of the round table “State of the art of technological solutions, reflections on experiences implemented”
Luiz Velho talk
Velho presents IMPA and IMS project aiming IMS’s photographic collections.

Evolution of GIS in the Humanities: from Historical GIS to Spatial Humanities

The Digital Humanities Laboratory of the Getulio Vargas Foundation (LHuD-FGV) holds tomorrow (November 21, at 6:00 pm) the open session “Evolution of GIS in the Humanities: from Historical GIS to Spatial Humanities” (“Evolução dos SIG nas Humanidades: dos Historical GIS às Spatial Humanities”), with Professor Daniel Alves.

Daniel Alves is a researcher at the Institute of Contemporary History of the New University of Lisbon. He holds a Ph.D. in Contemporary Economic and Social History, specializing in Urban History, History of Revolutions and Digital Humanities.

The event will be held at the Casa Acervo CPDOC (Rua Jornalista Orlando Dantas, 60, Rio de Janeiro). More information can be found here.


On this session, Daniel presented a series of  projects related to the areas of Historical GIS and Spatial Humanities:

History Projects:

Literature projects:

Some photos of the open session:

An overview of the evolution of historical GIS
Peripleo is a search engine to data maintained by partners of Pelagios Commons.
Georeferencer (David Rumsey Map Collection) allows you to overlay historic maps on modern maps


An interactive map that uses machine learning algorithms to detect fields and crops

OneSoil Map allows to explore and compare fields and crops in Europe and the United States (44 countries in total). The overview map helps to understand patterns of fields sizes and crops in different regions. Zooming in enables to know a specific field in detail: the hectarage, the crop, and the field score. Besides, the key feature of the map is that it allows users to see how these fields have changed over the past three years (2016 – 2018). The map reveals insights about local and global trends in crop production for farmers, advisers, and dealers. It helps to predict market performance at all levels and fosters smart decision-making.

Data collection and technology

The map was created by the startup OneSoil and is a continuation of the OneSoil digital farming platform, which automatically detects fields, identifies crops through satellite imagery analysis. The core technologies are based on AI, deep learning models, computer vision, IoT and original machine learning algorithms, which enable the company to process data in real time:

“First, we learned how to clean the satellite photos from artifacts to ensure correct processing of information. Second, we trained an algorithm to allocate field boundaries automatically. For the map, we simplified the boundaries so that the visualization is really fast. The accuracy of crop classification, or F1 score, is 0.91. Third, we trained another algorithm to automatically determine a crop that grows on a field. Fourth, we created what you can now see: the map.



Digital technologies for museums

The School of Applied Mathematics (EMAp) and the School of Social Sciences (CPDOC) from  Getúlio Vargas Foundation (FGV) will organize and host the First Panorama in Digital Technologies for Museums (I Panorama em Tecnologias Digitais para Museus) on November 27, 2018.

The objective of this Panorama is to present the demands of the museological sector, as well as reflections on previous experiences. Given the scenario of the recent disaster of the National Museum of UFRJ, it is necessary a reaction of all the actors involved in the theme: managers, researchers, educators and other sectors of society.

The event will discuss the strengthening of a knowledge network around the use of digital technologies in the museum context. Likewise, it is necessary to consider impacts related to the diffusion of the collections of these museums, understanding that the society’s engagement with the issue, as well as the development of a close relationship between population and museums, is one of the ways of preserving, collecting and maintaining investments in these institutions.

Representatives of diverse institutions will participate as speakers in this event. Among them, my Ph.D. co-advisor and coordinator of the Visgraf Laboratory, Luiz Velho.

Collection and Digital Libraries Guide

The “Collection and Digital Libraries Guide” (Guia de Bibliotecas Digitais e Acervos Online, Portuguese only), published by the State Government of São Paulo, Brazil, lists 76 collections and digital libraries with free contents, including images, for consulting and download on different topics. The indicated collections are maintained by important national and international institutions, constituting a wide repository of cultural collections that can contribute to the development of research and motivate the sharing of knowledge in various areas through the internet.


A map that reveals patterns of arrangement of buildings

A dataset containing 125,192,184 computer generated building footprints in all 50 US states is the source for a New York Times’s map of every building in America.

Published on 12th October, this map represents every building in the US by a black speck, reflecting the built legacy of the United States.

The dataset was publicly released by Microsoft early this year. The company’s computer engineers trained a neural network to analyze satellite imagery and then to trace the shapes of buildings across the country.

DNN architecture: The network foundation is ResNet34. The model is fully-convolutional, meaning that the model can be applied to an image of any size (constrained by GPU memory, 4096×4096 in the case).

The map reveals patterns in the arrangements of buildings. Traditional road maps highlight streets and highways; here they show up as a linear absence. As a result, “… you can read history in the transition from curving, paved-over cow paths in old downtowns to suburban sprawl; you can detect signals of wealth and poverty, sometimes almost next door to each other.”.

In the south of New Orleans, it’s possible to notice the layout of buildings along a narrow spit of land on either side of a Louisiana bayou, which may reflect the imprint of the region’s history under France: “… “long lot” development, which stretched skinny holdings laterally away from important waterways. Geography shapes settlement, but culture does, as well.”
Buildings along Louisiana bayou

Crotos: a project on visual artworks powered by Wikidata and Wikimedia Commons

Crotos is a search and display engine for visual artworks based on Wikidata and using Wikimedia Commons files.

The Wikidata extraction contains more than 133 866 artworks (September 2018) including 66 271 with HD image. This extraction is regularly automatically updated from Wikidata on the basis of the nature of the items and corresponds to visual artworks such as paintings, photographs, prints, illuminated manuscripts and much more.

The interface

Searches can be made by free or indexed search through a user interface. Results are displayed by chronological order with thumbnails. Links on thumbnails open a viewer with the image hosted on Wikimedia Commons.

It is possible to filter the results by type (painting, sculpture, print…) or to specify a period as a criterion.

By default, without criteria, a random selection is displayed. Besides with the Cosmos interface, it is possible to discover the artworks by indexation (par type d’œuvre, creator, movement, genre, collection…).


For each resulting image, the interface displays the title, the creator(s)  and the collection or the location where the artwork is maintained. These information are on Wikidata, a free, collaborative, multilingual, secondary database, collecting structured data to provide support for Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, the other wikis of the Wikimedia movement, and to anyone in the world.

Additional descriptors are date or period, nature of work, material used, inventory number, movement, genre, depicts, main subject, and so on. A full list of descriptors is mentioned here.

Contribution mode

The project has a contribution mode, useful for identifying missing information with facets. Finally, source is on github and the database of Crotos can be downloaded. Both are under Free Licence.