Posts Tagged ‘TileMill’


A project I worked on for a digital zine Elia Vargas is putting together. I also submitted this to a call for entries for the Istanbul Biennial, which was announced by Stamen Design. You may view the live / interactive version here.

Culture Code Cities Cells

In the last several decades cultural production has shifted from being shaped primarily by geographically separate places to a world that has become continually influenced by interconnected networks. The pivotal factor being that mobile devices and the web now mediate how many people experience their lives. In response, the data generated from these devices and shared across the web are informing how users of the technology view the world from their constant connectivity to email, social media and instant messaging. Thus we may choose to work from about any location at any time. We learn about events as they are unfolding. Time is now experienced in milliseconds rather than large hourly blocks (what’s on my Twitter feed vs. how has the news progressed since last evening?)

In this map the shape of the continents has been created from geotagged photos on Flickr. Nations and states / provinces are shown as Voronoi cells, also generated from Flickr user data (in a given place do Flickr users think it’s administrative area A or B?) Ten minutes of geotagged tweets collected on September 4th are shown in their temporal sequence that contrast with standard time zones which highlight on a mouseover. This map is an attempt to ask if we should rethink how we define time and place. Just as time was standardized following the advent of telecommunications and the rail roads, our computerized networks suggest the future of time is not what it used to be.

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sample of part 1: Comparing point of interest data from OSM and USGS


sample of part 2: Mapping non-normative features in Prospect Park

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sample of part 3: a non-euclidean map of Prospect Park


Part 1, Points of Interest, OSM vs. USGS: here

Part 2, Mapping the park from my point of view: here

Part 3, Moving beyond maps (OF): here

Final paper for project available here

We live in world inundated with maps yet we are never critical of maps, assuming that if it’s mapped it must be empirical and free from subjectivity.

Dennis Wood, The Power of Maps; “Mirror,” “window,” “objective,” “accurate,” “transparent,” “neutral”: all conspire to disguise the map as a …reproduction… of the world, disabling us from recognizing it for a social construction which, with other social constructions, brings that world into being out of the past and into our present.

This project seeks to address the following:

1. Maps have always been political in nature; the idea that maps embody interests of not only the mapmakers but also who they are serving, (developers, advertisers, etc.)

2. The unintended consequences of maps: Google Maps (web-mercator & their algorithm)

USGS criteria for what they represent on their topographic maps: 1. permanence of features, 2. cost of compiling information (aerial photography and field checking), and 3. map legibility.” (Wood)

How To Lie With Maps; “Not only is it easy to lie with maps, it’s essential…maps must tell white lies to avoid hiding critical information in a fog of detail the map must offer a selective, incomplete view of reality” (Monmonier, H2LWM)

Map Art: began in the 1920’s and was used by artists from different movements (surrealists, situationists, Fluxus, post-Minimalists) surrealist map of the world.

Wood again:

“…map artists are reclaiming the map as a discourse function for people in general. The flourishing of map art signals the imminent demise of the map as a privileged form of communication. The map is dead, long live the map!”

Counter / Critical Cartography: If maps are political why not use them for subversive purposes?
“All maps, whether institutional or counter-cartographic, embody and produce power relations” (Mogel)

Maps in the Digital Era:

Are now made from geospatial data. No data is ever completely “raw” or “objective” (Para-Empiricism, coined by Annette Kim). How do new forms of web-mapping and spatial data embody bias and subjectivity? Is new technology really allowing mapping to become more democratic or just pseudo-popular?

map 1: looking at bias in spatial data

> what does the USGS say about PP according to their criteria?

> what does OSM say about PP from their contributors?

map 2: what don’t normative maps show the reader?

>If maps are a snap shot in time how do we define permanence?

>What is deemed worthy of being mapped?

map 3: how can we make mapping more humanistic?

> is our perception of maps as objective and neutral too embedded to make them truly democratic?

> do we need something beyond the map?

using on the ground research methods to collect qualitative data (field papers, photography, video, sound)

A non-euclidean “map” of Prospect Park, Brooklyn. Created using a GoPro camera mounted to my head, iMovie for video editing and Open-Frameworks for combining the video shots into one screen space. Inspired by the theory of artist and cartographer Dennis Wood and work by Associate Professor of Urban Studies and Planning Annette Kim (of MIT’s SLAB):


link to interactive map here

Following the Cartography and GIS Dorkshop I gave last weekend I was invited to give a 3 hour open-source Geo demonstration with QGIS, Tile Mill, and MapBox at a Trans-Disciplinary Design class taught by Mathan Rathinam, here at Parsons.  The class is dealing with issues relating to environmental hazards and disaster resilience in NYC, so to make the connection between the class and the Geo tools we used some spatial data from NYC Open Data. We pulled in two datasets; one for hurricane evacuation zones and another for evacuation centers. The zones have a classification from 1 – 6, with 1 being the highest at risk areas prone to flooding and 6 being the least. In the class I demonstrated how to load and style this data in TileMill using a sequential color scheme as demonstrated on Cynthia Brewer’s Color Brewer Cartography guideIn the map above I’ve refined the design a little further, using some advanced labeling with SVG icons from TileMill’s open-source Maki icon repository. I also used the MapBox API to add a “Find My Location” button that will drop an icon based on the user’s IP address.  Additionally, clicking on an icon will reveal it’s full address in the upper right hand corner.  I enjoyed teaching the material to the class and look forward to giving more workshops and demos, hopefully bringing in some guest speakers as well. Thanks again to Mathan and his class for having me, it was a pleasure.

More mapping of NYC’s open-data, this time with CSV data of graffiti reports, rat sighting calls to 311, and wi-fi hotspots. Graffiti sites are shown in yellow, rat sighting locations in red, and wifi hotspots in blue.

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link to map here

The point of mapping this data is that there really isn’t a point, just how arbitrary datasets could be viewed amongst each other. Once again TileMill, QGIS, GDAL, and MapBox were the tools I used to create this map.


Link to interactive map

This Choropleth map shows the number people per acre by census track. Data was used from the 2010 Census and taken from NYC’s open-data website. 

Tools used include QGIS, TileMill, MapBox, and GDAL.

NYC 100 year Floodplain 2020

link to interactive map

An interactive map showing the estimated NYC 100 year Floodplain for 2020 that takes into account the influence of sea-level rise predictions by the New York City Panel on Climate Change.
Data is here and was processed using QGIS, GDAL, & TileMill. Hosted with MapBox.

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link to interactive map

I’ve used a tool called OpenPaths to hack my mobile device’s location data and have been playing around with visualizing it, previously using a javascript library called D3JS. This time however I created a visualization using open source GIS and web-mapping tools including TileMill from MapBox in the form of an open-source web-map. The user can zoom and pan to view the data while hovering the mouse over a point will display the date and time. At a smaller scale (eg. zoomed out) the overlapping data points become opaque showing where I’ve spent the most time. Upon zooming in the points become more dispersed. Despite the data not being entirely accurate, displaying this data raises questions of privacy and in a time of Snowden’s leaks on the NSA’s covert surveillance programs it seems appropriate to bring attention to the ways in which the government has been tracking those with mobile devices.