Volume 7: This Week in Civic Tech/Open Data

This week seem to be a slow week in visualizations and articles. But still, there were some interesting pieces. They mostly relate to transit but all cover different angles. We have Subway desserts in NY, runner data displaying segregation in Baltimore and a new way to visualize transit trips.
Next week will include all the awesome things that happened on Saturday, March 2nd around the world on Open Data Day!


Where the Subway Limits New Yorkers With Disabilities - The New York Times

I‘m a sucker for maps. And especially the ones designed by the NYT. They have a great visualization team.

And dessert maps (as I refer to this kind of maps) always make me smile. Although they typically are very sad maps since they show the lack of access to something.

If you have the space use annotations to highlight specific areas and add explanations.

Baltimore’s so Segregated, Even Strava Shows It. These Runners Want to Change That

And astonishing that you can see the segregation in running data.When viewing the Strava heatmap of Baltimore, the most-run routes of the city meld to form the outline of a letter “L” that glows like neon. It begins in the north and runs straight down the city’s spine, before diverting east along the Inner Harbor and the promenade. This area of Baltimore is also a demographic phenomenon known as “the white L.” It’s the area where resources are directed, where prospective homebuyers are guided and luxury apartment complexes are erected. Its lines are as obvious in real life as they are on the Strava heatmap, and most people who live inside of it stay inside of it.

Nice heatmap of strava runners in the city of Baltimore. And astonishing that you can see the segregation in running data.
Nothing too fancy about the map. And there are more where this is coming from.

Heatmaps work best if you don’t show the underlying city or if you need to because the data does not cover much of the city make it light.

Taxi Trips NYC

Another nice looking heatmap. You can almost see the segregation in NY as well as you have seen in the runner’s map. It‘s not as apparent as the other but still visible. It is an old article that last week popped up again. The article includes more info on how the data was selected and aggregated.

Flood risk and more

This is another older article, but the maps do update regularly. They were built by BuzzFeed for Hurricane Michael in 2018.
The direct data source is not cited but the data comes from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction and NESDIS Center for Satellite Applications and Research. They look nice and give a good overview, but if you view only the map the data source is missing, and even the article does not contain too much information.

Always include the data source in your map as well, not only in the corresponding article. You might share the map later without the article.

Full Map Old Article from 2018

New way to visualize Public transit routes

According to research, travel preferences vary among urban commuters; some want to take the fastest route, some prefer to have the least walking or minimized interchanges, yet others prefer minimal waiting outdoors. Thus our challenge is to visualize and present transportation possibilities on smartphones according to the passenger’s needs.

The article behind this new approach is fascinating and worth a read. It is not specifically for Civic Tech but visualizing public transit is a challenge, and I love the result that they came up with.


Civic Tech/Community

Open Government/Open Data


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