Read about the new Bucktown bike based business Urban Street Window Works on Grid Chicago. They wash windows, remove graffiti, and apply film to protect from acid etching.
TransportationCamp: Real-Time Pedestrian and Bike Location, Session Two
Real-Time Pedestrian and Bike Location How can we get it? What can we do with it? How can it not be creepy?
By Eric Fischer.
My summary of the discussion
There are many existing data sources that are published or have APIs that could stand as reasonable proxies for tracking people who are walking, biking, or just ambling around the city – some of this information is given away (via Foursquare) by those who are traveling, and other information is collected in real time (buses and taxis) and after the trip (travel surveys and Flickr photos). I don’t think the group agreed on any good use for this data (knowing where people are in the city right now), nor did the group come up with ways to ensure this collection is not “creepy.”
Eric’s original question involved the location of people bicycling, but the discussion spent more time talking about pedestrians. However, some techniques in tracking and data gathering could be applied to both modes.
See final paragraph for links on “further reading” that I find relevant to this discussion.
Schedule board at TransportationCamp West on Saturday in San Francisco at Public Works SF, 161 Erie Street.
[Ideas and statements are credited where I could keep track of who said what, and if I could see your name badge.]
Eric, starting us off:
We have a lot of information about where motor vehicles (MV) are in cities.
A lot of experience of city is not about being in a MV, though.
How many bikers going through intersection that are NOT getting hurt.
Finding places where people walk and where people’ don’t.
Where do people go on foot and on bikes?
As far as I know this isn’t available
Foursquare has benefits (awards) so people are willing to give the data, but we don’t want another Please Rob Me.
In SF, there are flash mobs, sudden protests, Critical Mass
-buses – boarding and deboarding – you can get a flow map from this. Someone said that Seattle has this data open.
-CTPP (Census Transportation Planning Package)
-city ped count
-Eric: Where people get on/off taxis.
“CycleTracks” – sampling bias, people with iPhones
-70% of handheld devices are feature phones, not smart phones. So there’s another sampling bias.
How do you sample?
SF Planning Dept. had a little program or project ask people to plot on a map your three most common walking routes.
What is your favorite street, and where do you not like to walk?
Eric: My collection tool is Flickr. Geotags and timestamps.
Magdalena Palugh: Are there incentives for commuting by bike? There are incentives for people who vanpool.
If there is incentive, I would gladly give up my data.
Michael Schwartz (SFCTA, sp?) What is difference <> SFCTA/MTA?
-If part of this is to get at where the trouble spots are, could you have people contribute where the good/bad parts are? “This overpass really sucks.”
Tom: Can you get peds from aerial images?
-Yes, but there’re too many limitations, like shade, and tree cover. Also, aerial images may be taken at wrong time (for a while the image of Market/Castro was during festival).
Brandon Martin-Anderson: What strategies have you tried so far?
-Street View face blur (a lot false positives)
Anything you plot looks kind of the same.
People like to walk where other people are. For safety reasons. -Good point on real-time basis.
Eric: Not a lobbying group for peds.
Eric: Find interesting places to go.
Richard: We need exposure data.
Paris bike sharing report showed that “Cycling is faster on Wednesdays.”
Europeans more open to sharing their private details – possibly because of stricter regulation on what agencies can do with the collected data. (There was a little disagreement on this, I personally heard the opposite).
Andrew: Can we use something like Xbox Kinect to track these people?
National Bike/Ped Documentation Project – same format
Seattle – 4 different groups that do annual bike counts. UW bike planning studio.
Who pays for this?
-Transportation planners pay for this.
-Private development projects (from contractor).
-Universities, NSF, Google
-Community groups –
- How cell phones (really, the companies) spy on your every move, via Gawker via The New York Times. Explains how Deutsche Telekom tracked Malte Spitz, a German politician, 78% of the time for several months and what that location data reveals.
- Tracking your wifi trail at the Copenhagen Airport at The New York Times. Using wifi signals I didn’t know were left on, Copenhagen Airport operators will be able to track where people are moving in the terminals and monitor for possible congestion or backups.
Mike Fleisher – DS Solutions
Andrew – @ondrae – urbanmapping.com
Notes to self
Is Census question about commuting about time or distance of “most traveled” mode?
Splunk – data analysis tool
What is difference <> SFCTA/SFMTA?
What is your goal for your city?
I have two favorite photo categories from Amsterdamize’s photostream*: the first is people riding side saddle as passengers on someone else’s bike and “borrowing” someone else’s energy. It’s borrowing because they’ll eventually return the favor, to the original lender, or to a friend of their own.
The second, and the one that is more important, is photos of older people riding bikes.
These photos, and the older folks’ running errands on their bikes, help make cycling look like the most normal and sensible thing that anyone could be doing right now. And that’s what my goal is for my city.
*Amsterdamize is Marc van Woudenberg, an Amsterdammer (you know, from The Netherlands?).
Flickr is not a stock photo website
Contrary to popular belief, Flickr is not a stock photo* website with a cornucopia of beautiful and relevant photographs of people, objects, and infrastructure you need for your professional or academic project.
I have heard several stories, and witnessed on multiple occasions, workers and students appropriating photos they find on Flickr .
Flickr seems to have, on average, more interesting, and higher quality photos than other photo sharing websites, including Picasa, Photobucket, MySpace, and Facebook. But Flickr enables its users to display the rights visitors have to use their photos (if any). These are rights granted to content creators by the federal government the moment such content is created. These rights can then be sub-granted to others through licensing. Flickr users can identify their photos to visitors as having one of the Creative Commons licenses, or reserving all rights (this means visitors shouldn’t even download the photo to their computer).
A couple of months ago I started watermarking my photos on Flickr because I didn’t want someone to use my photo without following the rules of the Creative Commons license. (All of my photos have the Creative Commons-Attribution-Share Alike-Non-commercial license ascribed – this license allows anyone to use your work as long as they don’t make money by using it, they attribute you, the creator, and they share their work in the same fashion.) The photo above shows two uses of my photos where neither myself or my employer (who commissioned the photos) are credited.
This scheme also makes it easy for photographers on Flickr to share their work widely. In April, a professional association emailed me to ask if they could use a photo I posted on my Flickr photostream in an upcoming publication. The photo was clearly listed as having the Creative Commons license I described above. They didn’t need my explicit permission to use the photo. I understand, though, that the license permissions displayed on Flickr may not satisfy corporate or organization policy, and a written agreement is needed. That’s fine – when you require such an agreement, don’t then make it difficult for the original content creator (myself) to agree to it. The organization wanted me to print a document, sign it, and fax it to them. Or I could open the PDF agreement in Adobe Illustrator and attach my digital signature and email it to them.
Visitors to Flickr who are looking for high-quality, desirable photos to use in their own works should respect the licenses listed on every photo’s page. When a Flickr users reserves all rights to the photo, visitors can consider contacting the user for special permission to use the photo. Using someone else’s work without their permission or against their preferences is also rude and unprofessional.
*Stock photos are those taken expressly to be used in other people’s works and the photographers have agreed to either a payment given at once, or by royalties. iStockPhoto and Getty Images are major stock photo warehouses.
How GIS helps earthquake relief efforts for Haiti
While Geographic Information systems software can definitely produce pretty maps, its power lies in analyzing data and plotting or comparing sensory or observed data to spatial data (like roads or terrain). The earthquake in Haiti rocked the capital city, Port-au-Prince with a shock of magnitude 7.0 on Tuesday, January 12, 2010.
A photo from a United States military flyover shows damage in the Port of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Photo taken byÂ Petty Officer 2nd Class Sondra-Kay Kneen and uploaded byÂ Chuck Simmins.
There are several applications for GIS to help with earthquake response, and two blog posts that appeared this morning shed light on how.
The first article came from ESRI, the California-based makers of ArcGIS, the most used GIS application. The article linked to a user-built map on their ArcGIS Online service showing on Bing maps where the earthquake and its aftershocks struck (the map sits behind a registration wall). ESRI even has a disaster response team that helps organizations get their response projects off the ground quickly.
Infrastructurist posted the second article, showing some before and after satellite imagery of Haiti, provided by Google and GeoEye.
So what can GIS do? From ESRI’s list, “GIS for Disaster Response“:
- Rapid identification of potential shelter/housing locations (schools, libraries, churches, public buildings) appropriate for supporting affected populations.
- Determine how many tents will be needed based on the location of populations affected by the disaster.
- Analyze areas where large numbers of refugees can establish camps out of harm’s way that are accessible for supply delivery and have access to water and other resources necessary to support large numbers of people.
- Many more examples.
Want more information? Here’s where to get it:
- Haitian rapper, Wyclef Jean, is soliciting donations via text message toÂ YÃ©le. So far, the program has raised at least $1 million. Before you donate to YÃ©le, though, read The Smoking Gun’s article about the organization’s “funny money.”
- Boston.com, home of the Boston Globe, has posted a second series of photos. Some are graphic and hidden until you activate them.
- The White House has advice on how Americans can help.
- Various people and relief agencies (like Red Cross, Salvation Army and United Nations) have posted at least 300 photos to Flickr. I noticed a couple were taken with mobile phones, so I’m glad regular people are also uploading what they see.
- If you’re looking for real news about the earthquake, avoid FOX News because it is dedicating too much space on the internet and time on television to covering non-news quips from Pat Robertson and others of his low-class ilk.
- The New York Times published an article on Wednesday about how poor building practices played into the destruction.
- The United States Geological Survey, the government agency that tracks seismic activity worldwide, has a variety of maps and technical information about the Haiti earthquake.