Tagpresentation

Get out of Googleville: my presentation on web mapping

On February 5, 2013, I gave a very short presentation to the Chicago GIS Network Meetup group about alternatives to Google when it comes to mapping on the web. I created the presentation and outline a couple hours before giving it and came up with this slideshow with three frames.

Google Maps and its data is a one-way street (or many one-way streets). Google will take data but won’t give it back.

Google Maps has all of these features, but they’re easier to manipulate when you use an alternative. Alternatives like: MapBox, TileMill, OpenLayers, OpenStreetMap (made easy with JOSM), GeoCommons – I’m sure there are plenty more.

OpenStreetMap is the Wikipedia of online mapping and geographic data. Considering switching to OSM.

Be specific. Be, be specific.

Update September 5, 2011: I gave a short speech to Moving Design participants about language and word choice, a kind of follow up to this article, as a “policy insight of the day.”

When speaking or presenting, be as specific as possible. The following are examples specific to the course of transportation discussions.

“Car traffic banned from this road.” Are you also banning trucks and SUVs?

“Vehicles will be rerouted.” Does this include those riding bicycles? Here’s an example of a current detour that only mentions cars, buses, and trucks. Which route should someone riding a bicycle take? Sometimes state and local laws will classify a bicycle as a vehicle, but then exclude it in specific passages – it’s weird. Better just call out specific vehicles, be they of the motorized or human-powered variety.

“Cars are aggressive to bikes.” Cars and bikes don’t operate themselves.

“We plan to narrow the road to calm traffic.” Are you going to narrow the road, or narrow certain lanes and reassign portions of the road to different uses, like a protected bike lane, or wider sidewalk? Then give the measurement of lanes, the sidewalk, and the curb face-to-curb face width. Consider that “street” is not a synonym for “road.” Road often represents what’s between the curbs, and the pavement, while street includes the road as well as the sidewalk. Street is a bit more abstract as well, sometimes meaning the activity that occurs on or around roads (like “street life”).

“Ignorant drivers…” Or do they lack specific education and relevant information?

This bikeway in Bremen, Germany, uses both color and pavement design to delineate space for people bicycling (like me) and people walking.

More on Cities and Bicycles Forum with David Byrne

I want to add more about the Cities and Bicycles Forum from Friday, June 18, 2010, with David Byrne and three Chicago-based speakers.

Randy sent me his presentation’s script and PowerPoint files (download the 4 MB PDF version). So you can either watch the video of him announcing 10 (really 9) ideas for Chicago and bikes, or you can read it.

David Byrne, Luann Hamilton, Jacky Grimshaw, and Randy Neufeld during the question and answer period.

Additionally, I want to link to Brian’s take on the event. Brian Morrissey is not a “bike insider” (I’m probably such a person), although he reverse commutes to the suburbs on his bike, races for xXx Racing-Athletico, and writes about it. Afterwards, check out John Greenfield’s article on New City for a summary of all four presentations.

Demonstrating off-street (on-sidewalk) bike parking in Chicago.

Randy Neufeld’s 10 ideas for bicycling in Chicago

UPDATE: Download the presentation as a PowerPoint or PDF.

This past weekend, David Byrne visited Chicago to speak alongside Luann Hamilton, Jacky Grimshaw, and Randy Neufeld. Randy Neufeld served as the Executive Director of the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, now the Active Transportation Alliance. He is now a board member of Active Trans and the director of the SRAM Cycling Fund.

At the “Cities, Bicycles and the Future of Getting Around: A Special Urban Sustainability Forum with David Byrne,” Randy gives Chicago 10 ideas to make bicycling great. What follows is my paraphrasing of the presentation.

“We need to make the streets more inviting to a broader spectrum.” 8 and 80. The criteria for urban cycling infrastructure should be whether it is suitable for 8 year olds and 80 year olds.

10 Ideas for Bicycling in Chicago from Steven Vance on Vimeo.

  1. Open Streets – “What if Bike The Drive were every weekend?”
  2. Slow Down – 30KPH (under 18 MPH) zone.
  3. Cycle Tracks – The basic bike lane has been widened, parked cars moved to the left, and a buffer has been painted.
  4. Bike Boulevards – Lightly traveleed streets without bike lanes to make it easier to take the side streets across town.
  5. Bike Parking – Chicago is the best with on-street bike racks. Need covered off-street bike parking. Bike parking starts at home. “There’s free public auto parking on the street in front of my house, why not free public bike parking on the street in front of my house?”
  6. New Public Space – Follow New York City’s example. Build a Parklet like in San Francisco.
  7. Wayfinding – Not impressed with Google Maps’ bicycling directions. Active Transportation Alliance Chicagoland Bike Map.
  8. Better Bikes – “In Chicago, one could live without a suspension fork, and fewer than 21 gears. For $370, you’re going to wish they included lights, fenders, a kickstand, and a rack to carry your beach bag. In civilized places, bikes come fully equipped.
  9. Public Bikes – “Maybe you don’t need your own bike.”
  10. Get Going! – Take action, get involved. Take something you’ve seen today and make it happen. Put fenders and a basket on your own bike, and go shopping! [I'm not sure if number 10 is an idea but really the conclusion to encourage people to further inspect ideas 1 through 9.]

Randy used, with my permission, several photos from my Flickr photostream. You can see those again now – perhaps you’ll want to use them in your presentation about bicycling and Chicago!

I’ve graduated

Say hello to Chicago’s newest planner. ME!

Instead of walking at my school’s graduation ceremony on May 7, 2010, I was busy at work making sure bike parking in Chicago is equitably distributed, visiting the Pacific Northwest, and generally having fun.

Me having fun riding a Volae recumbent bicycle at the Rapid Transit Cycleshop grand opening in University Village at UIC’s South Campus.

Did I say something about bike parking equity? Oh, yeah, I’ve only blogged about it here a couple of times before and it comprised my entire master’s project (which thankfully was approved and deemed “satisfactory” by my wonderful adviser, Vonu). You can read the entire project on my website. I wrote my project in a wiki called DokuWiki – it’s a text-based, lightweight application that encourages writing and doesn’t stand in the way of a creative masterpiece (like Microsoft Word does).

It’s a huge project (there are over 35 webpages that come out to 139 printed pages). I realize that most people won’t read it, but in the course of preparing for a short presentation I recently gave to some staff members at Active Transportation Alliance, I created a short summary to aid me.

Read my project, Bike Parking Equity, or the summary.

A photo of my cheaply printed project. I printed to PDF each and every webpage in the project and then combined them all, using the Mac’s built-in functionality and Preview application.

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