The New York Public Library is training computers to recognize building shapes and other information from old city maps, and they need your help! Take a few minutes to help hone the data; no experience or knowledge required! This is a very neat experiment in crowdsourcing data aggregation for use to improve civic society.
Check out this FluNearYou video, which is the result of a phenomenal collaboration by a hospital, a public health association, and a funder. The government should be monitoring and taking action to prevent this national threat, but they’re not doing much of anything right now (or ever?), so it’s lucky that this project is stepping in.
Lucy Berholz shared thoughts on this collaboration on her blog, Philanthropy 2173:
This is essentially crowdsourcing information on behalf of public health. We’re also seeing citizen crowdfund for city services that aren’t available through tax revenue – see this story on security in Oakland. What we need to ensure is that these types of actions work with government and each extends the other. If we get to the point where we are relying on crowds to fund core public services, our democracy will be in even more trouble than it is now. But if we can use the crowd platforms to engage people, to partner with the public sector, to expand and complement civic responsibility than we’ll be that much the better for it.Understanding these forms of crowdfunding and crowdsourcing as political acts – and designing them for maximum public benefit – is a big opportunity.
Neat maps used to tell New York stories that come from tax data. All my favorite things!
Amazingly detailed map of North American English dialects. It’s complicated to look at but really fun to explore.
[Related update: The film If These Knishes Could Talk, which is about New York Accents, premieres tonight. There are great dialect videos on the site, too.]
Originally I was hoping to do some data visualizations with really old census stuff, but then I stumbled upon all of these amazing ones that had already been done.
Jonathan Soma, the Brainery co-founder who created A Handsome Atlas, which is basically a treasure trove of awesome data depictions. He’s doing a great job of finding and re-presenting archival material through a fresh lens, so check it out!
This map uses dirt from every state, and it’s made by an 85-year-old retired ad agency art director. His favorite soils came from Colorado (“quite reddish”), Maine (“pale and sandy”), and Mississippi and Alabama (“deeply colored with iron oxide”). The soils have varying degrees of acidity, and each is a slightly different color.
Read more about the map and Les Gregor’s process. If you like it, you can purchase one! Personally, I love how gritty and ‘American’ it feels (yes, including the irony of the artist’s home country) and would LOVE to own one…
The Knight Foundation recently released an awesome report on their grant to Macon, Georgia for a social game designed by Area/Code to build community through local currency. These are a bunch of my favorite things. (Games! Philanthropy! Sociology! Money!) You really must read more about it, because I can’t embed any here and it’s too good not to look. I leave you with a teaser screenshot:
Even though all but the pilot episode of Mad Men have been filmed in LA, NYC is where the show is set and all of the action happens. WNYC has mapped some of the places Peggy, Don, Roger, and others frequent; just click on each spot to read when we saw it. See any favorites on there?
A lot of neat murals to discover! This is a very much incomplete database, but those available on the map are fun to explore. Also, you can submit murals that you have seen. Let me know if you do!
Worldwide Mural Map