Dotspotting to make city data more legible

Posted to Apps  |  Tags: , , , ,  |  Nathan Yau

Last year Stamen Design received a grant from the Knight News Challenge to design and implement Citytracking, a project to help people gather data about their cities and gain some kind of understanding about it. Dotspotting, the phase of the project, just launched. It makes it much easier to put dots on a map.

There’s currently a whole chain of elements involved in building digital civic infrastructure for the public, and these are represented by various Stamen projects and those of others. At the moment, the current hodgepodge of bits — including APIs and official sources, scraped websites, sometimes-reusable data formats and datasets, visualizations, embeddable widgets etc. — is fractured, overly technical and obscure, held in the knowledge base of a relatively small number of people, and requires considerable expertise to harness. That is, unless you’re willing to use generic tools like Google Maps. We want to change this. Visualizing city data shouldn’t be this hard, or this generic.

The process is pretty simple. Once you’ve created an account, upload a list of addresses (or latitude and longitude if you like) as CSV, RSS, or an Excel spreadsheet, and Dotspotting will handle the rest (i.e. geocoding and placement). Bam. Map with dots.

Here’s the important part of Dotspotting though. It’s not just about getting an online map that you can interact with. It’s about making location data easier to distribute. After you’ve made your map and filtered to your liking you can export the geocoded data in most major geo formats or download the map itself. Print, edit, and/or share without having to worry about the technical bits.

[Dotspotting]

Favorites

The Most Unisex Names in US History

Moving on from the most trendy names in US history, let’s look at the most unisex ones. Some names have …

19 Maps That Will Blow Your Mind and Change the Way You See the World. Top All-time. You Won’t Believe Your Eyes. Watch.

Many lists of maps promise to change the way you see the world, but this one actually does.

Think Like a Statistician – Without the Math

I call myself a statistician, because, well, I’m a statistics graduate student. However, the most important things I’ve learned are less formal, but have proven extremely useful when working/playing with data.

A Day in the Life of Americans

I wanted to see how daily patterns emerge at the individual level and how a person’s entire day plays out. So I simulated 1,000 of them.