Monday, February 7, 2011

Planets, Islands, Rural Roads, and the Inner City

A motley collection of updates to help us through the winter!

First, Andrew and Brian Jones have done an amazing thing. After Brian saw my astronomical calendar for New Haven, his brother Andrew decided to write a program that could make similar calendars for any place in the world. It's great! I've helped with some of the code and written a front-end interface to put the script on the web — now you can make your own calendar with just a few clicks. We've included all sorts of options, including the option to just let the script do everything automatically. Enjoy! (And please let me know if you run into any bugs.)

Second, I'm very pleased to host a project from Roberto Casati, Magda Stanová, and Stéphanie Roisin on the typologies of blocks and islands in Venice. It's a simple idea taken far beyond the ordinary. And the colors! Signor Nolli would be proud.

Third, I've created a response of sorts to Ben Fry's map of all the streets in the contiguous United States. By tracking down some good data for both the U.S. and Canada, I've made a map highlighting the real discontinuities of infrastructure policy on either side of the 49th parallel, rather than the data discontinuities that jump out in Ben's project. (This is no critique of his work; until recently, finding good road data was not easy.) The goal here is to see what kinds of questions we can ask once the data problem gets under control. This is especially relevant for understanding boundaries, since the idea of a boundary, the administration of geographic data, and the “ground truth” of geographic transitions are always intertangled.

Fourth, I had a short essay appear recently in the Boston Review, along with some more maps of race and income distributions in U.S. cities. I'm especially interested in challenging the “inner city” as a geographic euphemism, following up on those income donut maps I made a few years ago.

And finally, I added a link to the wonderful work of Armelle Caron. Lovely!