Posts tagged with "Maps":

Placeholder Alt Text

The sounds of our cities, mapped with emotions

Oftentimes, our interaction with maps is one of translation: graphically-represented roads, streets, paths, rivers, and other geological help us navigate our physical space. But what if we could add another layer of information that goes beyond the merely visual? What if maps could tell us how our cities sound? Chatty Maps uses sounds from human conversations, nature, transportation infrastructure, and other auditory data to create a map of good and bad urban noise. Chatty Maps was produced by four researchers—Daniele Quercia, Luca Maria Aiello, Rossano Schifanella, and Francesco Aletta—whose shared expertise includes social sciences, acoustics, data, and mapping. They culled information from two key sources: an online archive of urban sounds, Freesound.org, and Flickr’s photo archive from 2005-2015.   First, they sorted sounds into different categories. For example, the nature category includes dogs barking, birds chirping, and rain. The transportation category incorporates train, car, motorcycle, and other types of machine sounds. Using geolocated images from Flickr, they then matched sound categories with building types to create positive or negative associations with sounds. For example, sounds emanating from a church (such as bells) would be positive. Motorbikes or jackhammers would be assigned negative emotions. Beyond just pure fun, there are implications for these types of analyses: urban planners could use the data to help address noise pollution or identify areas that could benefit from more green space. There are maps for major U.S. cities: New York, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle. (No Los Angeles, though). There are international cities too: London, Barcelona, Milan, Rome, and more..
Placeholder Alt Text

Brooklyn-based studio embraces topophilia to craft quilts out of city streets

Brooklyn-based Haptic Labs has created some strikingly beautiful polysilk and cotton quilts with hand stitched topographical accents.

The designs include coastal motifs from Nantucket to Australia, and city terrains that began as a tribute to designer Emily Fischer's mother Peggy who started to lose her eyesight from complications of macular degeneration. The first Haptic Lab quilts were meant to be used as tools for the visually impaired, and everything the studio designs is inspired by the tactile over the ephemeral:

Haptic designs counter the rapid digitization of our lives by privileging the real, physical world our bodies occupy. Like a cane that safely guides someone down the sidewalk, our projects serve as tools for sensation. We make intricate quilts, kites, furniture, and environments that combine new technologies with traditional craft techniques—infusing a sense of play and timelessness into everything we make.
The City Quilt series employs subtle white-on-white stitching to inscribe a city's streets into fabric. The queen-sized City Quilt for the studio's home borough covers Coney Island through Greenpoint, and, like the other quilts in the series, is stitched in India, and is made of 100 percent cotton. The result is an intricate and subtle homage to 12 major metros, five of which are pictured below: The newest collection, debuting at the Architectural Digest Design Show in NYC, includes faceted maps of the world made in partnership with the Buckminster Fuller Institute, using Architect Richard Buckminster Fuller's original Dymaxion drawings.
Placeholder Alt Text

Visually impaired students get help navigating Rutgers University with help from 3D-printed maps

For visually impaired students, navigating around a building or a college campus is often a challenging task. That's set to change, thanks to Jason Kim and Howon Lee, researchers at Rutgers University School of Engineering in New Jersey. The duo has developed 3D printed braille maps of their campus. Kim, a senior mechanical engineering student and Lee, an assistant professor at the Joseph Kohn Training Center (an institution that helps the visually impaired), designed the maps with the help of CAD software, SolidWorks 3D. When complete, the maps are about the size of a standard iPad. Like normal maps, some will be fixed to the walls of the university, however, these will only offer a limited selection of braille labelling. The maps are intended to be carried around in a binder by students for easy access personal reference.   https://youtu.be/nvo3Z9Af1so Before starting the project, both said they knew nothing about the format of braille and had a lot to learn. Visiting the Joseph Kohn Training Center multiple times the pair received feedback from faculty and students, being able to finish the map by the end of summer. “One of the things we saw with conventional braille printed on paper is that it doesn’t last long,” Lee said. So far, only one map has been produced, though Lee hopes to lower production costs with the aim for every interested student to have a map by the start of the new first semester. Lee also spoke of his interest to develop more maps for the rest of the Rutgers campus and city of New Brunswick, NJ. The idea is to “give freedom, extended freedom, to navigate and go from one place to another without worrying too much,” he said.
Placeholder Alt Text

This 3D topographic installation raises questions on the high cost of housing in New York City

Besides the overcrowded L and the overabundance of Starbucks/Chase Banks, one of New York's favorite things to kvetch about is the rent: it's too damn high. Now, through Wage Island, an installation created by a New York–based interaction and information designer, it's possible to see in 3D how much housing really costs in this city. https://vimeo.com/138549946 Ekene Ijeoma's Wage Islands sprang from the designer's conversations with Fast Food Forward, a labor advocacy organization that's pushing for a higher minimum wage for fast food workers. Compelled by the group's commentary on how difficult it is for minimum wage workers to pay for housing, Ijeoma put his designer's training to work, correlating median monthly housing costs of each neighborhood with the amount one would have to earn to afford to live there. "This created a poetic way of creating empathy between minimum wage workers and citizens they serve; making the issue about everyone," Ijeoma mused. He collaborated with a team of six to execute the GIS modeling of New York City, design and build the model, and program the Arduino board that controls the islands' topography. Wage Islands was commissioned for Measure, the Storefront for Art and Architecture’s exhibition that ran from August 14 through September 19, 2015. The map's elevations are comprised of over 500 pieces of laser-cut acrylic. Elevations are derived from median monthly housing costs in different neighborhoods, with $271 on the low end and $4,001 at the top. The islands are situated in a tray filled with blue-black water. The user can adjust the amount of water in the box by scaling wages up from the city minimum of $8.75 per hour to a high of $77 per hour. The tallest peaks represent the most affordable neighborhoods; those who make at least $77 per hour have the luxury to choose Manhattan's tony Tribeca or Brooklyn's Brownsville, one of the city's poorest neighborhoods. Precision, and reflection on the real world factors that go into determining affordability, is scuttled in favor of highly evocative representation. New York is a renter's city: Less than a third of residents own their own homes. When asked what data was used to gauge median rents, Ijeoma explained that "this was more about looking at New York City together and not separating the different neighborhoods and people from the larger issue." He used the American Community Survey's (ACS) median monthly housing costs as a stand-in for median rents, although ACS data covers both housing costs incurred by homeowners and renters. 69 percent of New Yorkers rent, not own, so the choice to rely on this ACS dataset is unclear. The American Housing Survey, however, has fine-grained data on renters for major metro areas.)

Like Fannie and Freddie, Ijeoma pegs affordability to spending no more than 30 percent of one's income on housing. That's sensible advice, but more than half of New Yorkers are, by this measure, rent burdened, spending over 30 percent of their income on rent.

Affordability guidelines are generally broken down by the number of bedrooms per unit as a proxy for household size. Instead of looking at average rents across neighborhoods, or rents for units of one particular size, Ijeoma dismissed those nuances as irrelevant for this project, as "[the data] would've more or less looked the same because of the geo-spatial interpolation and translation into 3D."

Currently, Ijeoma is doing a stint at Orbital as a designer-in-residence, where he's working on a mapping project that covers a broader swath of America, as well as a project that addresses social media–engaged phone-zombies who blunder through the streets of New York.
Placeholder Alt Text

New York City launches interactive maps that reveal the minutia of neighborhood-level data

Busybodies and neighborhood know-it-alls rejoice: today, New York City, in partnership with civic data managers Vizalytics, launched a beta version of neighborhood.nyc, a new website that maps street-level information derived from 311 calls and city agencies. While this information was and is available in the NYC Open Data Portal, it often required time and high-level sleuthing to sort through mounds of data. The city's new website, neighborhood.nyc, pulls from open data feeds to streamline and map information in the data portal, allowing residents to filter results by neighborhood, or categories, including: MTA, traffic, public health, and quality of life. A search of Tribeca (AN's home neighborhood) revealed markers for noise complaints, street closures, restaurant inspection reports, and contact information for police, fire, and elected officials. In the coming months, the city will invite community leaders to become page administrators, allowing them update their neighborhood's home page images, post community events, or promote local business. To ensure broad access, the site is available in 13 languages. Each neighborhood has its own searchable URL. The index lists over 400 districts famous and obscure, including the twee portmanteaus that are definitely not a thing.
Placeholder Alt Text

This mapping tool shows the effects of gentrification and displacement in the Bay Area

Researchers at UCLA and the UC-Berkeley are mapping neighborhood change in the Bay Area. The Urban Displacement Project uses government housing, land use, transportation, and Census data from 1990–2013 to find markers that represent turnover in housing, demographic shifts, and new investment. Led by UC-Berkeley's Karen Chapple and Miriam Zuk, researchers divided the nine-county Bay Area’s 1,569 Census tracts into low- and high-income tracts. Low-income tracts were defined as areas where 39 percent of households earn 80 percent less than each county’s median income, and high income tracts where less than 39 percent of households are considered low income. Low- and high-income tracts were categorized by residential displacement “risk factors.” Significantly, the report defines “gentrification” and “displacement” differently. Displacement is defined as a net loss of low income residents, while “gentrification” is tangible evidence of neighborhood investment and/or an influx of more affluent residents. This is important because, as the researchers found, gentrification in some areas happened before displacement, while in others, displacement comes first or occurs at the same time as gentrification. Lower income tracts were assessed for risk of gentrification and displacement, while higher income tracts were assessed for displacement risk only. Overall, 51 percent of tracts did not experience significant displacement, while 48 percent are losing low-income residents. Researchers found that 422 tracts are “at risk” of displacing poor residents, while 165 are “currently experiencing displacement.” The map is intended as a resource for community groups taking action to prevent displacement. The data is retrospective, shedding light on regional population trends. Planners, however, cannot use the data to make sure predictions about where gentrification and displacement is likely to occur in the future. The data doesn’t reveal where displaced residents move to, or account for other qualitative factors that may prompt a move. Transportation planning and development can benefit a lower-income area, if officials take into account the economic and social needs of the existing population. Some areas, including  East Palo Alto, and Marin City, have actively forestalled displacement with housing subsidies and community organizing.
Placeholder Alt Text

Open data from Transport for London spurs 3D axonometric plans of the Tube so passengers can mentally map their next trip

Now you can strategize your next rush-hour skedaddle through the labyrinthine London Underground ahead of time—and choose all the right shortcuts. Transport for London (TfL) has released a series of 3D axonometric maps of the world’s oldest tube network, following a Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) request by Londoner Georges Vehres. While revealing the sheer intricacy of the Underground’s tunnels and the country’s longest escalator at north London’s Angel station, the set of 124 maps documenting stations A through W are not to scale, as becomes obvious by the unrealistically steep stairwells. Passengers can now devise a mental map of their most frequently-used stations. TfL’s release of a trove of public transport data following the FoIA spurred London-based visual developer Bruno Imbrizi to create 3D maps of his own that display the movements of all trains in the London Underground in real-time in brilliant color. Technically, the data is real-time accurate only from the moment you load the map, as it represents a prediction from TfL for the next 30 minutes of activity. Trains take the shape of shifting rectangles along a lace-like lattice of tunnels, disappearing and reappearing behind orbs representing each station to the tune of a soothing underground soundtrack.
Placeholder Alt Text

This map sheds light on Chicago's $1.7 billion in tax-increment financing projects

The open-data site Chicago Cityscape has mapped hundreds of construction projects receiving public support through the city's increasingly controversial tax-increment financing (TIF) system. (Full disclosure: Chicago Cityscape is run by Steven Vance, who contributes to AN) A common economic development tool for municipal governments, TIF can incentivize construction projects by offsetting a developer's property taxes. But as numerous in-depth reports from the Chicago Reader have made clear, in Chicago the program has historically been used more like a slush fund for the mayor's office, with money often landing in the coffers of downtown projects instead of the economically depressed areas where it's supposed to spur job growth. In 2011 Mayor Rahm Emanuel campaigned in part on improving government transparency, vowing less than one week into his first term to return TIF “to its roots.” Controversial TIF awards continue to emerge, however, accumulating predominantly in the city's central business district as the mayor gears up for his second term. Chicago Cityscape's map is accompanied by a spreadsheet of public city data sortable by project name, approval date, TIF assistance amount, total project cost, ward, and community area. In all there are 379 entries displayed, but that excludes projects listed by the city in another data set—the City of Chicago TIF projects portal shows TIF projects through other agencies, such as the Chicago Department of Transportation.
Placeholder Alt Text

Google Maps turns any city into the eight-bit world of Pacman

pacman-maps-01 In what appears to be an April Fools' prank launched a day early, Google has added an eight-bit video game, ahem, Easter Egg feature to Google Maps. While browsing around the city of your choice, look for the Pacman box in the lower left-hand corner right next to the aerial photography button. Click it, and you're transported into a dot-filled, ghost-infested city street grid in search of cherries. Take a look!
Placeholder Alt Text

Maps Visualize the Challenge of De Blasio's Vision Zero Plan

With Bill de Blasio making traffic regulation a priority of his fledgling administration, new visualizations of traffic injuries across New York City illustrate what the new mayor is up against in attempting to make such incidents a thing of the past. Statistician and Pratt professor Ben Wellington has used open data documenting traffic fatalities and cyclist injuries to generate heat maps of where in the city such events tended to occur in 2013. The resulting images, published on Wellington's blog I Quant NY, paint a somewhat grim image. A map that simply locates each of last year's 3800 reported cyclist injuries is so swarmed as to be rendered largely uninformative when zoomed out. The heat map generated from this diagram points to the Lower East Side of Manhattan and its cross-river neighbor, Williamsburg, as accident hotbeds. Despite these clear visual trends, such developments do not necessarily indict these two areas as more explicitly dangerous for bikers and then other parts of the city as they do not incorporated ridership density. Thus it is possible that these neighborhoods appear swathed in red simply because their streets play host to a higher amount of two-wheeled traffic than other portions of the city. Williamsburg maintains its scarlet presence in a map depicting 2013 traffic deaths. The East Side makes a slightly less conspicuous appearance while northern parts of Manhattan and the Bronx also reveal a proclivity for such incidents. Wellington identifies Brooklyn's Broadway, Queens Boulevard, and Grand Concourse in the Bronx as particularly deadly roadways. If the mayor gets his wish, generating 2014's iterations of these maps will be a far easier task. Nonetheless the images only reinforce the idea that Vision Zero—and the heat-free maps it would create—appears to be quite a lofty goal.
Placeholder Alt Text

Colorful Carbon Footprint Maps Illustrates Energy Usage Trends

University of California, Berkeley has released a new set of interactive maps illustrating national energy usage.  The visually striking if troubling images reveal a stark urban/suburban divide regarding carbon footprint, with the latter contributing far more in emissions than their city-dwelling counterparts. Average Annual Household Carbon Footprint (Source: UC Berkeley CoolClimate Network (2013) The maps were produced as part of the school's CoolClimate Network.  The three correspond to average annual household carbon footprints, household energy carbon footprint, and vehicle miles traveled respectively. Hovering your mouse over a particular region allows for a more detailed breakdown of the three categories.  The data suggests an inverse relationship between population density and carbon footprint size, which is to say that more densely populated cities tend to be more energy efficient. A further look at the numbers suggests that much of this correlation can be explained by the high transportation costs pervasive in suburbia. Average Household Energy Carbon Footprint (Source: UC Berkeley CoolClimate Network (2013) Yet before New Yorkers or any other urbanites grow too smug, the net effect of this relationship may be largely null.  The denser cities that demonstrate a relatively lower carbon footprint tend to be the very areas that  spawn the extensive suburbs possessing problematically higher ones. The correspondence between usage and population density is not applicable when only suburbs are taken into account, and in fact the opposite correlation tends to be true. Researches claimed that this finding can be explained largely by economic factors. Curious users can see how their household stacks up against their own neighbors or any other region in the country by filling out the Network's CoolClimate Carbon Footprint Calculator. Average Vehicle Miles Traveled by Zip Code (Source: UC Berkeley CoolClimate Network (2013)
Placeholder Alt Text

Boston Unveils New Map of "The T" Subway System

Navigating Boston's subway system, known as "The T," will soon be a cinch with the help of a new map designed by Mikheil Kvrivishvili. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) named the Moscow-based interactive/graphic designer the winner of its "New Perspectives Map Re-design Competition" after receiving 6,837 out of the 17,045 votes cast by the public. A panel of experts—composed of MBTA officials, academics, urban planners, and cartographers—selected six finalists from a pool of dozens of applicants. Members of the public then voted online for their favorite design. The contest called for ideas that fit within the "Classic Tier" or the "Open Tier." The former required a more traditional approach to the MBTA rapid transit or "spider" map, whereas the latter welcomed interpretations leaning on the creative side. Kvrivishvili's map, according to the MBTA, fulfilled a four point criteria: "creativity, aesthetic quality, readability/visual clarity, and informative quality." This redesign comes at a critical time when the city is planning on allocating $13 billion in infrastructure, and while MassDOT is undergoing a rapid expansion with several new stations  and a new rail line on the docket. The winning map will be updated to include the changes in the system as they are made. “We are entering an exciting period of growth and change in our system and I’m pleased that we were able to work with the public to help usher in some exciting new developments,” said MBTA General Manager Dr. Beverly Scott in a statement. “As we continue to grow and improve our system, the new map will be a great symbol of the changes and updates were working on as a whole.” The maps will start popping up in new stations as soon as early 2014.