Skip to main content

Blogs

Gerrymandering - creating the maps of politics

With the 2010 Census behind us, political districts of all levels across the United States are being redrawn.  Gerrymandering - the process of creating political districts to give extra power or take away power from a certain group of people, usually on the basis of race or class - has been going on in the United States since our earliest history.  The Economist recently published a nice overview article of the history and challenges of drawing fair political maps.  We've also looked before at the Illinois Fair Map Amendment and its impact on political districting here in Illinois.

Mapnificent - How Far Can You Get In An Hour?

Mapnificent is a mapping application that shows how far you can go from a certain point in a certain time using public transit.  For example, you can enter your workplace location and see everywhere in your city that you could live to ensure a maximum 30 minute commute to work.  Or, you could find every park within a 20-minute transit ride from your house.  

Because it depends on public transit data encoded using Google's open data standard for transit info, the Transit Feed Specification, it's only available for certain cities.  It's a follow-up to the Mapumental site, a UK version which has been in closed beta for quite a while.  You can learn more about the technology behind Mapnificent in a blog article by the creator.

 

 

NPO Mapping Case Study: Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living

regional map of illinois centers for independent livingThe Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living is a statewide coalition of the 23 regional centers for independent living (CIL) that serve Illinoisans with disabilities.  CILs promote full and equal access to our communities for those residents and visitors with disabilities.  The mission of INCIL is to help these regional centers share resources and collaborate on statewide issues such as funding and advocacy.

NPO Mapping Case Study: Arthritis Foundation

screenshot of mapping exerciseThe Arthritis Foundation's Heartland Region office serves Americans with arthritis throughout the upper midwest.  Arthritis affects tens of millions of Americans each year - the second most common chronic condition after heart disease.  When your organization's constituent base is that large, it's important to make sure that you're offering services to as many people as possible and to make those services as accessible as possible.  In this article, we'll examine how the Arthritis Foundation is using mapping technologies to meet those requirements!

Accessibility Map Project - Geneva

The Megafone.net project invites "groups of people on the fringe of society to express their experiences and opinions through face-to-face meetings and mobile phones."  They've worked on some very cool projects but I'm most impressed with their urban accessibility maps (thanks to Urban Tick for the link).

The Geneva and Barcelona accessibility maps were created by giving GPS-enabled camera phones to people using wheelchairs.  Over a 6-month period, the mapmakers documented inaccessible barriers around their respective cities - each barrier was photographed and placed automatically on a mashup.  Common barriers include stairways, inaccessible curbs, escalators, broken elevators, etc.

@DigiDem helps NYC students map their community and future!

Mark Belinsky of Digital Democracy wrote an article called Future Now: NYC’s Digital Storybook  - it's about his experience working with students in New York City on a webmapping demonstration project.  The students used a modified version of Ushahidi software to map ideas and resources in their community.  You can check out the resulting web map as well, but Mark's article includes some great background information and analysis.