"Behind the Scenes" Of EDF's "Dirty Oil in NYC" Mapplication!
Last week, we added a new example to our resource library: the Environmental Defense Fund's interactive mapping application of "dirty" heating oil in New York City on a building-by-building level. Because this is a great example of a nonprofit mapping application, I asked the EDF's Kira Marchenese to tell us a little bit more about the data sources, mapping tools, and processes that took place to create this project.
Our experts who work on health issues in New York City came to us with a
challenge. They were almost done with a report that identified more than
9,000 buildings that burn the dirtiest heating oil, and push them to
switch to cleaner fuel. They wanted a presentation that:
- gave a strong and clear visual impression of the pollution -- to both NYC residents and policy makers
- made the data personal
- conveyed that there is something residents and policy makers can do to fix the problem
Amy Egner, the lead producer on the project, got the data in an Excel
spreadsheet. The data was originally supplied by the NYC Department of
Environmental Protection, and we updated some of it and made the formats
more consistent. Amy worked with a GIS specialist to convert the
addresses to map data points.
Then we worked with a Flash designer, Vu Nguyen, to develop and execute
the map that you see. He used Photoshop for the mockups and used Flash
and Modest Maps to build the application. It was important that Vu
brought both technical and visual design expertise skills to the project
-- there was a lot to make clear in a small space and get to function
well. For example, getting the so many data points to load quickly was a
challenge - Vu worked hard to compress it and speed up the load time.
We'll be featuring some more "behind the scenes" looks at other awesome nonprofit maps over the coming weeks!