Geo Word Clouds for geographic data visualization

During my Erasmus exchange at the TU/e, I was able to experience publishing a paper for the first time. I worked with my two teammates Daan and Jules on a data visualization project, which was started as part of the Algorithms for Geographic Data class.

Our work, under the supervision of professors Kevin Buchin and Bettina Speckmann, has been focused on creating word clouds with geographically accurate information. We have called them geo word clouds. The project ended with the preparation of a paper, which was presented at the 2016 IEEE Pacific Visualization Symposium (PacificVis):

Geo word clouds
K. Buchin, D. Creemers, A. Lazzarotto, B. Speckmann, J. Wulms

Word clouds are a popular method to visualize the frequency of words in textual data. Nowadays many text-based data sets, such as Flickr tags, are geo-referenced, that is, they have an important spatial component. However, existing automated methods to generate word clouds are unable to incorporate such spatial information. We introduce geo word clouds: word clouds which capture not only the frequency but also the spatial relevance of words. […]

Here you can see a map generated with our algorithm, written using Python and SageMath:

Kinds of cheese produced in France

The IEEE Copyright Policy explicitly grants permission for authors to share their papers on personal websites. For this reason, I am sharing the accepted version of the paper together with this notice:

© 2016 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. Permission from IEEE must be obtained for all other uses, in any current or future media, including reprinting/republishing this material for advertising or promotional purposes, creating new collective works, for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or reuse of any copyrighted component of this work in other works.

You can read the full text PDF here.

Coffee at TU/e

Daria Nepriakhina --- Unsplash
Daria Nepriakhina — Unsplash

For many university students, coffee is an essential fuel to stay focused and productive. Moreover, being an italian, my goal was to find a decent espresso also at TU/e.

There are basically two available options: the canteen and the vending machines.

In the several TU/e canteens, there is a bit of discrimination: the Dutch “coffee” (dirty water) 😛 costs 0.45 €, whether an espresso costs as much as 1.25 €! Moreover, the coffee is provided in paper glasses. They are really cute but they ruin the taste of coffee.

At the vending machines all kinds of coffee cost 0.45 €. Coffee is provided in a plastic glass but without a scoop for mixing the sugar. Moreover, the machines look similar but options differ depending on the building.

In MetaForum you can choose to have a coffee with sugar or black, but it’s not possible to choose the amount of sugar or the intensity of coffee. In Auditorium, instead, you can tune both parameters. Anyways I advise against selecting the “espresso white” because it’s a macchiato of very bad quality.

Given the price difference and the plastic glass, the conclusion is easy: buy the espresso at the vending machine and not in the canteen!

TU/e email: parameters for IMAP, POP and SMTP

Every TU/e student has an email box with a address. It is possible to open the inbox directly from the webmail in OASE, however it may be preferred to use a client.

IMAP technology allows to connect many devices to the inbox, including PCs, smartphones and tablets. In this way you can receive emails without the need to open the OASE website. Less recent clients can use POP to receive mail, without syncronization of read messages.

Unfortunately, the parameters for IMAP, POP and SMTP are spread across different web pages. For example, this page contains only SMTP parameters. The Outlook Web App interface instead contains correct data for IMAP and POP but not SMTP.

For this reason, I sum up all the data here. They are updated to February 2015.


  • Server:
  • Port: 993
  • Security: SSL/TLS


  • Server:
  • Port: 995
  • Security: SSL/TLS


  • Server:
  • Port: 587
  • Security: SSL/TLS

Username and password correspond to those of OASE. This may cause problems with some software. For example, the wizard of Thunderbird uses the same server for the email address and the IMAP connection, so it may be mislead by However, it’s possible to modify the account by hand to correct the problem.

Finally, there is one thing to say regarding the possibility of forwarding emails to another address. Forwarding is useful for those using interfaces such as Gmail. To receive, you set up the TU/e inbox to forward messages to Gmail. To send, you set up Gmail to use the TU/e SMTP server.

The problem is that forwarding is possible only with the new interface of Outlook Web App, but sometimes the website shows the old one. In that case, you can try to change browser to create the filter. More information about supported browsers is available here.