Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Neo-Geo Notebook

MapWarper, originally uploaded by regional.modernism.
Andrew Turner came to New Orleans last week to meet up with NetSquared New Orleans and faculty at the Tulane School of Architecture. Both meetings were quite informative and very valuable. These are a few of my notes.

1. MapWarper. This tool is in development and indeed comes with the following warning: Proto-Alpha - expect it to break and stuff to get deleted!

MapWarper is a tool for creating a custom basemap. My source map was from a Tulane student project in 1950, documented on 35mm slide and scanned into the New Orleans Virtual Archive. Basically the user indicates matching points between two maps. And a new map layer is born. I picked a tricky source, so my map is a bit more warped than it should be. I asked Andrew about the next step after MapWarper and I think that's where it flies a bit over my head. Nevertheless a cool tool to play with a have a better understanding of how one could create a custom basemap for a presentation. I would love to have a virtual library of historic basemaps stored in layers, so one could view data on different maps. Just layering two maps together can provide some interesting information about the changes in urban fabric over time.
2. EyeFi Explore. This is a souped up memory card. It can automatically upload photos to your computer or online photo storage service, like flickr or picasa. It also geocodes the photos (and records this info in photo EXIF profile) IF there is a wireless hotspot. I used this card last week in a trial session. It worked fairly well, but was unfortunately not accurate enough. And was of course ineffective in sites without wireless hotspots, like the Lower Ninth Ward. Interesting tool, but not as good as a gps.
3. Flickr Commons. Another great resource. Some top institutions (Library of Congress, Smithsonian) are uploading archival images with no known copyright restrictions to the Flickr Commons for all to use. The Commons encourages the public to assist with the description and tagging of the photos.
4. SlideShare. This service allows one to upload a powerpoint or keynote presentation. Very nice. Review Andrew's presentation at Tulane here: Rebuilding a City through Community Participation, Neogeography and GIS
Many thanks, Andrew!

Monday, November 10, 2008

NeoGeography in New Orleans

Andrew Turner (High Earth Orbit) is a neogeographer, a thoroughly modern mapmaker. His products include Mapufacture, recently acquired by Fortius One, and PocketMaps, paper maps of dynamic data. He is the Chief Technological Officer for the GeoCommons which integrates public data into publicly accessible and modifiable map formats. Maps for the rest of us.

I had the pleasure of working with Andrew on the NetSquared mashup challenge in May. Together with Alan Gutierrez, we presented on the active and ongoing process of Citizen Monitoring of the Recovery. See Squanderedheritage. We discussed ways that extraordinary citizens had responded to this profound need for information as their neighborhoods were actively altered in the aftermath of the storm. Documenting the city and its myriad conditions. Then uploading those images to flickr and picasa. Accessing public information and creating google maps of demolitions. Trying to link the photos and the maps to tell our stories.

My Regional Modernism class was inspired by this activity to create our own maps of modernist sites. This facilitated the documentation of these buildings which are vanishing from the urban fabric at rapid pace. The work continues. Thanks to a NetSquared grant, we are able to bring Andrew Turner to New Orleans for these special events. He is eager to meet up and help us determine the right tools for our mapping needs. Two events are scheduled this week. Free and open to the public.

Net2NO meetup #3:
NeoGeography and the Geospatial Web experience
Tuesday 11.11.08
6 pm

in the back room@ the Bridge Lounge
1201 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA
please rsvp here


Practical NeoGeography: Integrating GIS in the classroom and the field
Wednesday 11.12.08

Tulane School of Architecture Richardson Memorial 204
The St. Charles Avenue streetcar stops in front of Tulane. The Richardson Memorial Building is the second rusticated stone building back from the front circle.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Regional Modernism Endorses Planning

Vote yes on the amendment to the city charter to give the master plan the force of law.

We also heart Barack Obama.