Personal Mapping Platforms

Posted: January 18th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Research, Statlas | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

For the project Statlas we are looking into making a personal mapping platform for journalists. We submitted the grant proposal for this almost half a year ago and the idea had been alive for far longer (we started about this time last year).

It’s good to sea that there is a wider trend in consumer mapping platforms right when we are underway with ours. Here’s a brief survey of the ones we found during a cursory examination. There are bound to be more. If you know them, please let us know in the comments.

ArcGIS

ArcGIS has a mapping platform based probably on the ArcGIS server, a paid for cloud mapping platform.

ArcGIS - My Map

Looks nice, like a web based version of Google Maps combined with Google Earth with all the different overlays you can put on there. I tried to create a map and share it on Facebook which oddly enough did not work. The sharing, embedding and standalone map versions do look well thought out but if they don’t work they’re probably not tested well.


View Larger Map

ESRI

ESRI the company behind ArcGIS has another ‘Make a map’ tool which is a lot more restricted but because of that provides a clearer experience.

Make a Map | Free Embeddable Maps | Embed Map Web Page | Embedded Maps

This doesn’t offer a ridiculous amount of options, but it is very clear and nicely done and the sharing options are also very straight forward. An embed of that map is below:

Dotspotting

Dotspotting is Stamen‘s platform for putting dots on a map currently in its ‘SUPER ALPHA-BETA-DISCO-BALL VERSION’. As they describe it, it’s intended to make the process of visualizing city data easier, more open and more robust.

That is pretty much the same reasons we started on this road in the first place. Mapping and data literacy are necessary in web development as well as the other way around: web literacy is necessary for those that make the heavy-duty maps. The two need to meet to create the applications and ease of use we are looking for.

Dotspotting - "My Flickr Photos (Sept 2010)", a sheet of dots by straup

A script to export my Foursquare checkins in an easy way and create a sheet with those is forthcoming. Anyway, Statlas is best described as that: a way to project values onto regions and enable people to play with that dynamic.

Weet meer

Weet Meer got launched very recently in a beta release and is limitedly available up until next month. It does a decent job in displaying the statistics offered by the CBS and offers some statistical relations and tools to compare things with.

Weetmeer.nl - Aantal inwoners

That is a brief overview of what is already out there. We’re glad that we have hit a nice timing to be able to develop ours and fulfill an actual need out there: to be easily able to make maps of a set of values to a group of regions.


Statlas: Week 0

Posted: December 30th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Statlas | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments »

The technology demo of Dutchstats as presented during Hack de Overheid last year has been a nice trigger for further development along that axis. For now the project under codename Dutchstats2 —a new name and identity is forthcoming— will be underway.

nl.alper.processing.map.DrawWKT

We got the announcement a couple of weeks ago that our proposal for subsidy had been accepted. We spent December gauging interest, taking in the project and building a team that can execute this in Q1 2011. Team introductions forthcoming after we’ve kicked it off.

The Brief

The assignment is still the same one that prompted the original Dutchstats:

Given a set of values for a set of geographical regions visualize the mapping from the values to the regions in a way that is interesting, useful and pleasant.

Simple enough to be doable. Broad enough to be generally applicable.

The original Dutchstats was mainly concerned with Dutch municipalities as geographical regions and election results as values and we will be continuing along that line, but we will be looking into opening up both the values and also the geographical regions for anybody who has something to contribute to either. The idea is to create a generative atlas.

Atlas

A generative atlas mostly to see if we can give the concept of an atlas new currency in the online world.

In the Netherlands there is an atlas called the Grote Bosatlas which still is the standard atlas for everybody in and out of school. But asking people around the question: when is the last time you have even thought of an atlas, let alone got and leaved through a Bosatlas, everybody draws a complete blank. Google Maps has supplanted most of the topographical and wayfinding functionality of paper maps and atlases to the extent that it has wiped out the original concept out of people’s heads.

Multi-Map

The social geographical function of the atlas has been replaced by a ton of projects working either with or on Google Maps/Earth using GIS or placing points on the map (using location or geocoded data), Stamen’s Dotspotting is a good example of that. Besides those web centric approach there’s also a slew of closed/semi-closed mapping tools from statistical offices, government bodies etc. that are built on poor and closed technology and are limited to the task at hand (which they usually do poorly at that).

BLIK

Technology

We’re going to determine as we go the technology that we’re going to use, but the project needs to be webcentric and is allowed to be bleeding edge (though perhaps not as bleeding as the original prototype) so I hope we can avoid using Flash completely.

Depending on how much of the base components are already available (data stores, tile servers, rendering engines), we will be focusing more on the application part. But if such components are not yet available or up to par, we will be investing in building them ourselves.

Process

In our practice we believe in standing on the shoulders of giants, sharing alike and giving credit where credit is due. We will be doing this project completely in the open not because we don’t have a customer for it but because everybody is a potential customer and they should be able to see and participate from the earliest stages on.

Any software that we produce will be released under a very liberal open source license. So that anybody can use our stuff and we hope to advance the state of mapping online in our own modest amount. Also all our design research and progress will be posted to this blog in chunks of a week or a bit more (depending on our sprints).

Fully open is the only way we can imagine doing this. We hope you will join us.


Foursquare Page for Utrechts Uitburo

Posted: September 25th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Projects | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Utrechts Uitburo —the cultural promotion and scheduling agency of the city of Utrecht— has received the first Dutch brand page on Foursquare via our mediation (tweet). Further integration and content enrichment is forthcoming.

The news has been picked up by Emerce and Dutchcowboys among other publications.


Nomination eParticipation Award 2010

Posted: September 25th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Vervuilingsalarm | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Our old project Vervuilingsalarm unexpectedly got nominated for this years eParticipation Award, an award that showcases successful examples of public services.

The project was a proof of concept protoytype whipped together in a very brief time presciently using Google App Engine and Pachube both of which have grown leaps and bounds since then. Vervuilingsalarm is a concept that shows how you can use standard web technology and scraping to hook sensors into the wider web of data to modernize them and to help others build upon them. That it is still running nicely without any maintenance is a testament to the solidity of Google App Engine.

We would love for attention and funding to expand the project into a wider sensor network with more data patches, interaction and sharing built in to become a hub for Dutch environmental measurements while continuing to use the strength of external services such as Pachube and others.


PvdA Canvassing

Posted: September 1st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: PvdA Canvassing | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The PvdA (the Dutch Labour Party) has sent campaigners to canvas neighborhoods and ask inhabitants their opinion on area and the direction of the country.

We imported over 10’000 records collected by volunteers into a map and aggregated results by city and by postal code. This makes it easy to browse through and drill down into the surveyed areas and see what the local issues are.

PvdA Survey Website

Attention: NOS.nl

Process: “Online campagnes — Canvassen voor de PvdA”

Creator: Alper Cugun


Dutchstats

Posted: September 1st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Dutchstats | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Dutchstats is a statistical tool to compare election results and other key statistics on the municipal level for the Netherlands. It allows any value that can be mapped to a municipality to be visualized and will be released as an open source framework.

Attention: Open Data NetworkVVOJ

Process: “Dutchstats — Your personal Atlas of the Netherlands” and “Dutchstats – Je persoonlijke atlas van Nederland”

Creators: Alper Cugun, Alexander Zeh


Vervuilingsalarm

Posted: September 1st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Vervuilingsalarm | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Vervuilingsalarm is an aggregator of particulate predictions for a series of measuring stations in the Netherlands. The data is scraped, aggregated, plotted and graphed and also sent out to sensor hub Pachube.

Creators: James Burke, Ton Zijlstra, Alper Cugun, Buro Pony


Table Viewer

Posted: September 1st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Table Viewer | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

We want to help ad-hoc groups of people in the same location to compare their music tastes and see where the overlaps and where the holes are. The table is a turn-taking jukebox with tangible interactions and nice visuals for its users and spectators.

Attention: First prize by last.fm (tweet) on Amsterdam Music Hackday 2010

Process: “Table Viewer for Music Hackday”

Creators: Alexander Zeh, Alper Cugun, Dirk van Oosterbosch


Silence Landscapes

Posted: September 1st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Silence Landscapes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Landscapes in two and three dimensions generated from sound measurements made by artist Sarah van Sonsbeeck for her project Een Dijk van een Kust in the free-range park in Monnickendam.

Process: “Creating an audiogeography from walks through the silence” and “A Landscape Generated From Silence”

Attention: Bright.nl

Creators: Sarah van Sonsbeeck, Alper Cugun, Kars Alfrink


Travel Times

Posted: September 1st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Travel Times | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

A public transportation travel time map for the Netherlands inspired by the mySociety time maps.

making of video in Dutch of the above work and the data are also available.

A next version by Kars Alfrink juxtaposed the time it takes to travel by car with the time to travel by public transportation see: “The Making of a Travel-Time Map of the Netherlands” and “Download My Travel-Time Map”.

Creators: Alper Cugun, Kars Alfrink