Posts tagged with "Maps":

Placeholder Alt Text

Chicago-based start up wants to make a digital clone of a city

In Jorge Luis Borges’s 1946 one-paragraph short story "On Exactitude in Science," a fictional 17th-century individual, Suarez Miranda, tells of a time that the "Cartographers Guilds" made a map of their empire so accurately that it matched it entirely, at 1:1 scale, point by point. Of course, this map was utterly useless. This meditation on mapping and empire seems increasingly prescient today, as every last plot of the Earth becomes represented and possessed in cartography, in satellite imagery, in Google Street View, and through intricate digital models. Enter Cityzenith, the Chicago-based startup where the CEO's reported mission, according to the trade publication Building Design and Construction, is to “replicate our entire world,” one hopes with more utilitarian results than those in Borges’s cautionary tale. Cityzenith’s digital twin technology is part of its Smart World Pro software suite, which pulls together data from builders, developers, building owners, cities, and IoT devices to create hyper-detailed "supermaps" of buildings and cities. As Cityzenith CEO Michael Jansen explained to the BBC, "[a] digital twin is a virtual representation of physical buildings and assets but connected to all the data and information around those assets, so that machine learning and AI algorithms can be applied to them to help them operate more efficiently." With these twins, users—building owners, urban designers, environmental engineers, governments—can both monitor existing infrastructure, and simulate the effects of new buildings or what different conditions like temperature change or congestion could cause for existing architecture and for city dwellers, all from a single digital dashboard. Information from everything from Excel sheets to GIS data to social media posts can be dragged and dropped to help create models, incorporating over 1,000 datasets.  While Cityzenith is not the first company to push digital twins as an option for developers, builders, and planners, it's one of the first to propose using the technology as a way to design a city from the ground up. Cityzenith claims the Foster + Partners and Surbana Jurong–designed $6.5 billion planned city Amaravati, to be the capital of Andhra Pradesh, India, will be the world’s first city “born as a digital twin.” This new capital was deemed necessary after the shifting of state lines left Andhra Pradesh without a capital. The city is being planned from the ground-up as a smart city for 3.5 million people, in part by leveraging Cityzenith’s Smart World Pro software, the latest version of which launched this winter. Data about construction, design, current and projected environmental conditions, mobility and traffic, and climate can be viewed in the desktop interface, and simulations that leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence can get ahead of what’s happening at a variety of scales. For example, if simulations of high-temperature conditions show most pedestrians will be forced to seek shaded streets during rush hour, how does this congestion shape the city? And how can the city be shaped to prevent it?  Permits can be drag-and-drop submitted, and zoning, traffic, and environmental analysis for the entire city is streamlined and accessible from a single window. Builders and developers can get info from a simple web interface. A video from Cityzenith shows a Siri-like natural language search web tool, as well. The company also proposes a “digital twin user ID” for every Amaravati citizen that will let them visit government portals to access tools from their city's digital twin. In an era of big data, simulation, and hyper-detailed mapping, Borges’s 1:1 map doesn’t feel far off. One can imagine a future where we’re better off traveling on our computer screen’s representations of a “digital twin." Or we can just play SimCity instead. For more on the latest in AEC technology and for information about the upcoming TECH+ conference, visit techplusexpo.com/nyc/.
Placeholder Alt Text

Meet the artist who hand-paints ski maps for resorts around the world

Ever thought about who sketches those trail maps you rely on so heavily at ski resorts around the United States? We’ll venture to say you haven’t. Maybe all that usually comes to mind as you slide off the ski lift is that the image ahead of you is simply a digitized version of an aerial photo. Meet James Niehues, the Denver-based artist who draws and hand-paints snow trails for resorts around the world. His life’s work guides skiers down mountains at nearly 200 resorts on five separate continents. In his 30-year career, he’s worked with clients such as Breckenridge in Colorado, Whistler Blackcomb in Canada, Mount Snow in Vermont, Whakapapa in New Zealand, and Portillo in Chile. According to Outside, Niehues currently aims to publish a book detailing the many maps he’s completed since beginning his work in 1988. He’s raising money for the legacy project in a Kickstarter campaign, which ends tomorrow. Niehues told Outside that the idea for the book has been top of mind since the mid-nineties, but he’s just now pursuing it after expanding his portfolio of projects. Each one of them is deeply personal and takes time, he said, averaging three months to complete. When starting a contract for a map, Niehues personally shoots aerial photographs and panoramas of the site in order to choose the best angles to put down to paper with a pencil. Since its invention, Google Maps has also enhanced his work, but he insists on exploring the mountain with his own eyes. Niehaus sees his maps as individual pieces of art and visuals that people can dream about while simultaneously using as tools to judge a mountain. “I think a computer-generated map is a reflection of the office—it’s rigid,” he said in an interview with Outside. “A hand-painted map reflects the outdoors. You ski to get into that environment.” In this explanation, he suggests that the typical architectural rendering, something that gives insight into what’s to come, is valuable but isn't as alluring as his final product: the painted vision of the trail. Through his own observant eye and ability to translate by hand the details of nature into a design, the mountain is brought to life on paper and helps skiers understand the terrain.
Placeholder Alt Text

This map depicts the population density of world cities in stunning detail

Maps are cool, maps are fun, maps show us things in the world that we couldn't otherwise see. Over at The Pudding, Matt Daniels has extruded block-by-block population data for some of the world's major cities to give viewers fine-grain insight into population distribution across the core and metro areas. New York, with Manhattan at the center, resembles a geyser just before gravity intervenes, while nearby but less dense locales like Philadelphia, D.C., and Boston look like a teenager's cheekbone in a Clearasil ad. (No shade towards the Northeast Corridor, I swear!) Daniels copped the data from the Global Human Settlement Layer and processed it using Google Earth Engine. For areas like India and China where population counts are unreliable, the data appears a little noisy in map view. A detailed explanation of the data gathering and manipulation is available here. Curious to see your city in bars? Head on over to Human Terrain. h/t City Observatory
Placeholder Alt Text

This collective is drawing an intersectional feminist map of L.A.

Maps often reveal as much about the beliefs and culture of the mapmaker as they do about the locations they depict. Taking this in stride, the collective Mapping Feminist Los Angeles has begun to put together the Angelena Atlas in order to “to share intersectional feminist resources, services, and events for womxn in Los Angeles County.” The organization, which is based out of the Women’s Center for Creative Work, comprises three core members—Leana Scott, Yasmine Batniji, and Brittany Arceneaux—who bring together skills in everything from urban planning and tech development to community organizing and digital art. Mapping Feminist Los Angeles member Leana Scott points out that “cities often have networks of resources...but bringing those to light is quite difficult. And information remains underground or piecemeal and disjointed.” Brittany Arceneaux goes on to say that far too often access to this information is “very much based upon your existing social networks,” which further limits knowledge of these resources to those already in the know. The Angelena Atlas confronts this problem head-on by collecting, collating, and annotating a wide range of resources from reproductive health centers to performance spaces while attempting to promote itself outside of just the networks its members already exist in. The goal is to make a map as widely accessible as possible, certainly no small feat. The Angelena Atlas will feature resources across the entirety of Los Angeles County, so people can find organizations that serve them, collectives to participate in, or spaces to share their work no matter their locale. It will also, as its explicitly intersectional mission suggests, be centered around resources that are, among many other things, anti-racist, anti-ableist, pro-immigrant, and LGBTQ friendly. Additionally, the various points on the Angelena Atlas will be annotated to help people understand the purpose, audience, and accessibility of the various spaces While the collective has presented zines and other preliminary materials at zine and artbook fairs and other events (they have an upcoming fundraiser and awareness-building brunch that will also bring together some organizations on the map), the final form of the Angelena Atlas is still under construction. Part of what they’ll be focusing on is what Batniji calls a “creative representation of data” that will help people highlight “the impact that the resources have on them.” In this way, the Angelena Atlas will be a participatory project, radically horizontal and ever evolving. They also are looking into open source solutions for the online map so that they, and the public, retain ownership of their information. In addition, they plan on making a print version to make sure they truly can create a resource for as many people as possible. Arceneaux says that this approach to mapmaking “goes back to the core values of the project by making sure that everything we're doing and every design decision that we make is really tied back to intersectionality and making sure that these places are friendly and accessible to people of all abilities and experiences.” Arceneaux goes on to point out that many people, especially in the current political environment, are interested in joining conversations and finding community, but may not even realize that there might be “an organization in [their] own backyard.” As Scott puts it, the Angelena Atlas not only has the direct effect of providing useful information but also “fosters a new spatial awareness through data.” It’s all about “recontextualizing Los Angeles.” Arceneaux’s hope is that “by highlighting and visualizing the activity that is happening in our city people will start to look at their communities a little differently.” Thinking about feminist mapping and radical mapping inevitably begs the question of what an intersectional feminist city would look like. However, Batniji says the group is “not interested in creating utopias because that's where things get really sticky.” In the public sphere “there's always going to be contention, there's always going to be issues. A feminist city would be a place for having these conversations. A feminist city would be just a place for possibility to happen.” It would be, as Arceneaux puts it, “a place where everyone feels empowered.”
Placeholder Alt Text

Columbia professor Anthony Acciavatti on the technical engineering of India’s sacred river

Anthony Acciavatti, Columbia GSAPP Professor and award-winning author, delivered a lecture at Greenpoint creative space A/D/O earlier this week on his 2015 book titled Ganges Water Machine: Designing New India’s Ancient River. The event is part of the company's #Waterfutures Research Program that challenges designers and researchers to rethink the global drinking water crisis. Acciavatti reflected on his decade-long fieldwork where he traveled by foot, boat, and car to document the Ganges River basin from its source in the Himalayas to the historic city of Patna nearly 1,000 kilometers downstream. During the lecture, Acciavatti explained the difficulties of obtaining satellite imagery at a time when web-mapping services such as Google Maps were not yet invented. Instead, he resorted to designing and building his own instruments to map and visualize the region’s data. As a founding partner at Somatic Collaborative, Acciavatti is now actively working with his partner Felipe Correa, who was recently named Chair of Architecture at the University of Virginia School of Architecture, as well as Indian authorities to realize his research and designs for the region. The Ganges is a trans-boundary river, which crosses India, Bangladesh, and other South Asian countries. According to various reports, the Ganges is highly polluted by human activity, but it still is the source of drinking water for over 400 million people. Acciavatti's book doesn't focus on the region’s pollution, but instead investigates the 19th century British engineering that made the network of irrigation canals and aqueducts possible. He was also interested in identifying the political implications of how water became a powerful political resource throughout the river’s historical evolution and what it means today.
Placeholder Alt Text

Interactive project maps the impact of mid-century urban renewal

Developed by the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab and released in December 2017, Renewing Inequality is an interactive, online project that maps the demographic profiles and footprints of thousands of urban renewal projects between 1950 and 1966. Using such resources as the federal government’s Urban Renewal Project Characteristics, Renewing Inequality reveals the sweeping scope of urban renewal, which razed entire neighborhoods during the era, as well as the disproportionate impact they had on the country’s African-American communities. Renewing Inequality follows an earlier project released by the Digital Scholarship Lab in 2016, called Mapping Inequality, which details neighborhoods deemed too risky for investment and set on a course of institutionalized neglect and decay. Actively fueling the process of decay was the policy of redlining, which in effect barred communities of color from seeking mortgages or financing to repair their properties. With a cycle of decay institutionalized, these same neighborhoods were prime targets for urban renewal. Beginning in the 1950s, the federal government actively reshaped American cities through urban renewal, based on then-contemporary priorities in use zoning, residential density, automobile usage and highway construction. Equipped with billions of dollars in federal funding, local governments applied eminent domain to displace hundreds of thousands of families across the country, deeming long-standing neighborhoods as “blighted” land unfit for habitation. Ostensibly, relocation assistance and public housing were meant to follow "slum clearance" but in many circumstances, relocation funding or housing never materialized. Not only were homeowners forced into becoming renters, but much of the compensation given in exchange for eminent domain seizure was based on undervaluations of those properties. For example, the Digital Scholarship Lab highlights Cincinnati’s Kenyon-Barr/Queensgate as the largest urban renewal project in national history, displacing approximately 5,000 families. The map highlights that approximately 97 percent of those displaced were people of color, and also reveals that this predominantly minority community was adjacent to Cincinnati’s Central Business District, a focal point for white, suburban office workers–a trend in the displacement taking place in a number of American cities. As noted by the Digital Scholarship Lab, the land seized from many of the impacted African American neighborhoods "was re-purposed for commercial or industrial development or to make way for highways,” an act of “intergenerational wealth theft that helped shape today’s profound inequality” along racial lines. While the wholesale demolition of inner-city neighborhoods is much more uncommon today, large swaths of historic housing stock are currently being razed under the guise of alleviating housing pressure. However, as noted by CityLab, urban areas of older, mid-size housing boast greater affordability and employment opportunities than their modern counterparts, limited as they are by contemporary zoning and uses. It seems we still have a lot to learn from the lessons of urban renewal.
Placeholder Alt Text

Skyscraper Museum releases interactive Lower Manhattan walking map

The Skyscraper Museum has updated the historic Heritage Trails map and released it as an interactive online resource. The original 199os map created by Richard D. Kaplan covers landmarks in Lower Manhattan and was intended to draw tourists and visitors to the area after the 1987 stock market crash and the recession of 1994. Along with moving the map online, the Skyscraper Museum has added sites from 1998 to the present day. The walking trails used in the original map are preserved in the new online version. Richard D. Kaplan was an architect whose family established J. D. Kaplan Fund, a private foundation in New York supporting the arts, civil rights, parks, and preservation in New York. The interest in mapping out New York City’s buildings using technology has not only been a venture of the Skyscraper Museum. Another interactive map that explains New York’s landmarks has been created by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). The LPC map allows users to find landmarks by architect, style, and other categories. Meanwhile the Concrete New York Map created by Blue Crow Media looks strictly at brutalist architecture across New York City. The Heritage Trails map points users to four possible trails. The Green trail covers the east side of the Financial District and moves down south to Battery Park City; sites here include Battery Park City and the Statue of Liberty. The Blue trail is focused on Chinatown and the Seaport, including the Fulton Fish Market and the Federal Reserve Bank. The Red trail covers Broadway and Chinatown, stopping at Little Italy, and includes Newspaper Row and St. Paul’s Chapel. The Orange trail is on the west side of Lower Manhattan and includes the World Trade Center and the American Stock Exchange. The interactive map offers a new way of looking at city landmarks. For example, one sight poses the question, “What has 200 elevators, 1,200 restrooms, 40,000 doorknobs, 200,000 lighting fixtures, 7 million square feet of acoustical tile ceilings, more structural steel than the Verrazano Narrows Bridge?” The answer: The World Trade Center.
Placeholder Alt Text

This new map lets you search every NYC landmark

Today the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) launched an enhanced version of its popular interactive landmarks map. If you've ever wondered whether the protected building you're standing in front sports Richardsonian Romanesque or Queen Anne details, now you can get your answer on the spot.

The LPC's map first debuted in March 2016 with the city's 1,400 individual landmarks. Now, Discover NYC Landmarks also features 141 historic districts (containing almost 34,000 historic buildings). Users can access detailed information, including PDFs of each item's designation report. "The launch of the enhanced web map will not only allow for a greater appreciation and understanding of our city’s rich architectural and cultural heritage, but it also brings greater transparency, efficiency, and public access to the agency," said LPC Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan, in a prepared statement. "This information is invaluable to all stakeholders, including homeowners who want to know more about their buildings, community groups, preservation advocates, historians, academics, and anyone who walks through New York City’s neighborhoods and marvels at our buildings." The map is accessible on desktops, tablets, and phones, and its updated search feature allows users to filter listings by architect, style, building type, and era. The GIS-based project was designed through the LPC’s Historic Building Data Project and funded by The New York Community Trust.
Placeholder Alt Text

Instead of ads and porn, LinkNYC kiosks will now show photos of old New York

Beginning last Friday, select wifi kiosks in New York now feature scintillating pictures of the city from decades past. It's LinkNYC porn, but for buildings.

In partnership with LinkNYC, the city's wifi kiosk system, the Department of Records and Information Services is displaying dozens of historic photos on LinkNYC screens in the five boroughs. The images correspond to the blocks where they're displayed, so a person at Henry and Clark streets, for example, would see a black-and-white picture of the port in what is now Brooklyn Bridge Park. The New York Times reports that most of the photographs on display date from the 1890s through the 1970s, and the project will be up through the end of the year.

LinkNYC is taking residents' suggestions for where the archival images should be displayed; readers can tweet @LinkNYC to have their voices heard.

The program is the latest in a slate of apps and maps that disseminate New York City history online. This year, Urban Archive geotagged and released over 2,500 images of old New York that users can access on the go. Built in collaboration with Brooklyn Historical Society, the New York Public Library (NYPL), and the Museum of the City of New York, the app pings users with archival images when they're near a historic site in the database, prompting reflection on the changing city. Separately, the NYPL launched the NYC Space/Time Directory, a “'digital time-travel service' that combines the library’s map collection with geospatial tools to illuminate the city’s messy and beautiful development over more than a century." Downtown, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP) debuted its Civil Rights & Social Justice Map, an interactive tool that reveals key downtown sites where marginalized people have fought for equity, dignity, and representation.

Beyond the archive, urbanists can now access maps to prepare for L-mageddondiscover the city’s noisiest neighborhoods, learn about future skyscrapers, and find the internet's favorite kind of architecture.

Placeholder Alt Text

New map pays tribute to concrete and Brutalist buildings across New York City

Blue Crow Media, a publishing group that publishes architectural guides for cities worldwide, just released a map glorifying concrete structures across New York City—titled, appropriately, Concrete New York. Among the structures highlighted by the map, many will be familiar to AN's readers. Eero Saarinen's TWA Terminal at JFK airport, currently being renovated into a 505-room hotel, is listed, as is the Marcel Breuer–designed granite and concrete monolith now home to the Met Breuer. Perhaps less visited is Breuer's Begrisch Hall on the Bronx Community College campus or I.M. Pei's Silver Towers at NYU. Concrete infrastructure also gets its due: the Cleft Ridge Span at Prospect Park (completed in 1872) is featured as well as the more recent Dattner Architects and WXY Studio-designed Spring Street Salt Shed (completed in 2015). In Greenwich Village, New Yorkers will recognize New Orleans architect Albert Ledner's Curran/O'Toole Building, unmistakable with its double cantilevered, scallop-edged facade, formerly serving as St. Vincent's Hospital (a landmark institution for victims of the HIV/AIDS crisis). The guide also points out historic works by Paul Rudolph, Frank Lloyd Wright, Edward Durell Stone, and many others. The map was edited by Allison Meier, a Brooklyn-based writer. The next guide will look at the use of concrete in Tokyo, and will be available next month. Previous maps by Blue Crow Media have examined modernism in Berlin and Belgrade, art deco in London, and constructivism in Moscow, although Brutalism remains their favorite topic to date, with maps on the subject for Boston, London, Paris, Sydney, and Washington, D.C.
Placeholder Alt Text

This interactive map lets you explore Manhattan’s skyscraper history in 3D

Publicly accessible data maps on New York's buildings is nothing new, however, an easy-to-navigate three dimensional one is. While Google Maps and others provide accurate visuals, the "Manhattan Skyscraper Explorer," developed by Raluca Nicola, allows users to navigate with ease by sorting buildings into 25-year segments. As a result, it is easy to see the buildings constructed between 1950 and 1975 with the click of a button. Using ArcGIS API for JavaScript (software that allows three-dimensional applications to be powered by web-generated scenes with toggle-able layers), Nicola was able to make a light-weight tool for navigating Manhattan's architecture. "I started by coloring the buildings based on the time period they were built in. This way I could identify the areas with newer or older buildings, discover which buildings were built in the same period or see that in some neighbourhoods like Soho most of the buildings were built before 1925," Nicola explained in a blog post. "Then I was curious to correlate construction year and height, so I built a timeline with Y axis representing the height. In this timeline each building is a circle with the color given by the construction period. It was interesting to confirm that fewer skyscrapers were built during the Great Depression and almost none during World War II." Inside the map, users can scroll to zoom in and out as well as pan by clicking and dragging. When selected, buildings come with images and a short synopsis. Wikipedia API (called MediaWiki) and the Flickr API were used to load images—famous buildings having their own wiki page helped with this. Furthermore, being color coded, spotting the era of a building is easy. Likewise, buildings over or under a certain height can be selected to further narrow scope. Searching directly for a building can also be done too. To find out more about how Nicola built the platform, read the blog post here. The map itself can be found here.
Placeholder Alt Text

Announcing a whole new way to discover stories about your city, region, or neighborhood

Have you ever walked by a new construction site and wondered what's being built? Spotted a striking storefront and wanted to know who designed it? Perhaps you'd be alarmed to discover your favorite park is at risk? At The Architect's Newspaper (AN), we're obsessed with covering the most important stories on the built environment, whether it's a mega project or a thoughtful change to a small plaza. Now you can discover our articles based on your location at any given moment. AN has partnered with Hoverpin, a free app that helps users find new people, places, and events, to make this possible. Here's how it works:
  1. Open Facebook's Messenger app on your phone. (If you don't have an iPhone, Messenger is free to download. The app requires you to have a Facebook account.)
  2. In the "Search" bar at the top, type "The Architect's Newspaper."
  3. AN's blue, circular icon should appear—click on it.
  4. Tap "Get Started" for a quick tour, then click "Explore."
  5. Select "Your location"—you'll be asked to send your location. You can adjust your pin on the map if you like. Tap the small, blue arrow once you're ready.
After you send your location, a number of articles will appear, each one relating to a site near you. Each "pin" links to the full article on AN's website. You can also view the project's exact location on a map or share the story others. Curious about a specific city? Just tap "Send a message" then enter the city's name (e.g. Philadelphia). We have over 250 articles available on this Messenger app, so while not every location will have relevant articles, our database grows every day. (A note to our international readers—at the moment, our pins are primarily in the U.S.) Want to explore our archive on your desktop? Visit the Messenger app's desktop version and repeat the steps above; the "Search" bar is at the top left of the page and features a small magnifying glass icon. You can also find all of our "pins" on this easy-to-navigate map. If you'd like to send a regular message through the app, just tap "Contact Us" and we'll respond as quickly as possible. Have questions or comments? Please let us know below or email info[at]archpaper.com!