Mapping Jam

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Map with a Thousand Sources

Use cases for mapping:

  • Data journalism
  • Mapping and infographics:
  • Not everybody can read a map, even if it’s nicely designed.

Mapeo - peer to peer mapping application

  • Use maps offline for participatory mapping projects

Interest in highly compressed tiling for low-bandwidth mobile.

OpenStreetMap: “Los calles de las mujeres”

How to collect information for powermapping

Relationship mapping for legislation and housing

Where is the intersection of mapping and storytelling?

Maps mix virtual and the real world

Terravision : mapping project from the 90s

  • HereMaps (
  • MapBox
  • Shout out to the old Thomas Guides!

Blank spots on map: because it’s immeasurable or it’s actually blank- how to convey that?

Changing levels of certainty.

Maptime (stamen and mapbox project) : public group that meets and makes maps, shares resources to learn about how to do mapping.

Fieldpapers : stamen inhouse tool to make a physical map, print it out, mark it up, and then import it into open street map by scanning with phone. Doesn’t require continuous internet access. Creates GeoTIFF (tiff with georeference layer)

GIS tools:

  • QGIS : Multi-platform, open source, big learning process (shapefiles, etc)

Case study: data from CA state EPA

  • GIS Layers are like pizza ingredients - pepperoni layer on the top.

Open Street Map - Base data layer: wikipedia of maps- crowdsourced data (govt data sources or mapping contributions). Preservation park is very well-labeled (buildings, fountain). The data can be used for any project. Print a map of Oakland on a plate!

Google Maps: proprietary data, almost uses the same data, Google using you to data mine and not giving you access to that data back (as compared to Open Street Map)

Where to get datasets to map?

  • “Open Data Initiative” started 15 years ago where major cities started publishing open data portals.
  • : Los Angeles open data portal. (New York has the best data, Chicago, Oakland, SF).
  • Quality of municipal data: sort of messy stuff. Sometimes just some info, not all info.
  • Some departments are cautious “people might misuse this information”.

Government data tells the story of what the institutions are telling themselves, but often it’s aggregated data due to privacy concerns. Government has decided what those categories are. Best to get underlying data and categorize it yourself.

Felt: online interactive mapping- similar to GIS interfaces with “Map” area and “Layers” area. Drawing annotation tools. Hides projections from end-user. Drag and drop data. Easy to share maps, livesharing collaboration for mapping. Contribute to QGIS.

Maps rely on three types of shapes: points, lines and polygons. Lines are connected points, become roads, streets, boundaries, rivers. Polygons are connected lines. Become buildings, countries, lakes.

Projections can be political (polar projection of United Nations logo shows European proximity to North Asia, North America over the poles).

Google Earth: Available on Linux, land use issues helpful to export image for 3d view of neighborhoods. Free! But data is proprietary. Can export your data to KML files

ESRI: Mapping technologies held back by proprietary focus of ESRI, which was pushed to open things up by Mapbox, Open Street Maps, etc. Heavily used, especially by governments.

ESRI Tapestry Segmentation: Creates taxonomy for data.

Interactive maps vs Static Maps

  • ESRI map portals - interactive maps are loading data from somewhere, a server. How to get that background data? Right click with Inspect tool, look at HTML, Network- find the GIS Portal for the municipality. QGIS can connect to a ArcGIS REST Server.

Google: “government arcgis REST” to get the ArcGIS REST Server. Often not restricted, easy to grab data that you usually have to buy.

Static Maps: For presentation

Interactive Maps: For people to explore, possibly on phone

QGIS can turn into a server.

  • Data can be stored in a Postgres server (PostGIS extension for geographical database capabilities)

For community map gatherings, make the maps big. Turn maps into games. Use a plastic overlay for a physical mouse.

The human body is also a map.

Qgis mb tool to scrape tiles?

Maptiler: serve the tiles