Geo hacking

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Facilitated by Evan Henshaw-Plath, protest.net

Session Description

Using maps and geocoding in your software and campaigns. This is a discussion about the use and abuse of geo for programmers. We'll cover everything from foursquare checkin's to building incredible visualizations using Polymaps.

Session Notes

- OpenStreetmap lets you do things like go offline and add data

- the new Google fusiontables allows you to display spreadsheet data over google maps

- stamen design does a lot of map displaying mapping stuff, from crimespotting to mapnificient

- there are two primary problems: collecting data and displaying it

- maps can include different layers, and even have sliders to select timeframes

- to get interesting stuff to map, you often have to get organizations and governments to release their data to the public

- Obama has made it mandatory for departments in the federal government to release their data via an API

- there are many free tools out there to help non-profits get into mapping, such as ManyEyes, dipity(?), and Open Streetmaps

- Cloudmade hired stamen to make different map styles for Open Streetmap data

- There are tools to style maps and generate the resulting tiles from the data

- The amount of work you have to do depends how much you want to customize your baselayer and control your data

- Google doesn't have good data in many places in the world, where Open Streetmaps has good coverate

- Geocoding is converting addresses to latitude and longitue

- PostGIS is a way to run queries on map data which is an extension of a Postgres database

- SQLite and Spacial Types is another way to do mapping stuff

- GeoHash is a way to do block-based hashes of locations

- GeoName is an open database of place names and locations

- GeoCommons Finder! has a stack

- GeoRSS lets you add a location field to your RSS feed

- KML is google's standard for 3d models that you can place on maps

- GeoJSON is another standard for sharing geo data

- Mapufacture is another platform for manipulating data

- Visualization is a very exciting field to attractively tell stories about geographic data

- There are many free tools for static data sets

- Dynamic data is more fun, but requires a higher level of skill, and there are restrictions by mapping providers

- FlowingData is a site with some great information on visualization

- Check out http://tendernoise.movity.com/ and http://www.tendervoice.org which Martha worked on with Stamen

- Vast majoity of geohackers Python, PostGIS, and Django

Summary:

- Visiualization is important to tell stories with geographic data

- There are many free tools for nonprofits that don't require programming

- If you want to get deeper then it is a really exciting field

- Open Streetmaps is rivaling commercial maps, there will be further sessions