For 26 hours this weekend, a bunch of journalists and coders got together to make lots of great things designed to help the citizens of New York City.My blog post summarizing the event and all of the resulting projects is upon Hacks/Hackers.I helped Jenny 8. Lee, Chrys Wu and Stephanie Pereira organize the event. Then I joined a team working with digital heaps of NYC taxi trip data to make data visualizations and start some other projects. My favorite one is here (with a detail below), which is a representation of taxi usage for 24 hours, set around a clock. Beautiful. It was built by Zoe Fraade-Blanar using Processing and data crunched by the other teammates.
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I came away from the event with many new connections, excitement about learning Processing, some more skills in Sinatra and a note to check out Bees with Machine Guns(!)
Simple: Non-geeks can absorb it within a few secondsAnd I'll add one more:
Unexpected: It fills a gap in our knowledge
Concrete: It takes advantage of our senses and understandings
Credible: It is journalistically sound, from a trusted source, without bias
Emotional: It hits you in the chest, you feel the data
Story: It tells one
Relevant: It is timely, current and usefulGot examples that ring all seven bells? Maybe even four? Share them in the comments here or email me: john (at) designAgitator.com.-----The map detail above is from my favorite example at the moment, which is on Slate. Jump over there, take a look, and then run it through the checklist:
Simple? Once you know that blue is jobs gained and red is jobs lost, you're set. Just press play.Rings my bell.
Unexpected? Seriously so. The speed of change is amazing.
Concrete? The familiar map orients me at a glance; I respond quickly to the circle sizes, colors and densities.
Credible? Bureau of Labor Statistics, Slate.
Emotional? Oh yeah. I saw someone actually shiver while watching it.
NY terror-plot suspects indictedNone of this 140-character stuff. Better to use just five words; seven max. (I used a nonessential adjective clause once. Lost everyone by the second comma.)
Media banned from covering Iran protestsAnd I know where you are, no fancy GPS required.
Building collapse on Reade Street, up aheadEven if it's partly cloudy in the Bronx, I am absolutely certain you're in a downpour.
This rain ends by eveningUser customization? Easy. I can sense you're in line for the Holland Tunnel on your evening commute home. So how about a little news about your governor and his chief rival?
Corzine, Christie speak to biz group toniteIt's tempting to simply repurpose our tweets or web headlines, feeding them automatically to the sign. But it's also clear that wouldn't be as special. Or impactful. Or memorable. So I've been recrafting our material specifically for my particular version of a hyperlocal, mobile user.I've been doing this for a few weeks as a prototype, and soon WNYC's editors, producers and hosts will feed lines to the sign. What I've learned by writing -- and watching -- those little red words will help our staff craft the phrases that catch your eye as you zip by.
1) Queens and Brooklyn schools had much lower attendance rates than Manhattan and Staten Island schools.2) Teens skip school on nice May days.No. 2 is apparent because almost every red square is a high school, which have notoriously low rates this time of year. For a better indication of potentially flu-related absences, I'd chart the difference between these absentee rates and a typical May day at each school ... which is info I don't have. Yet.Initially I published this in Google Maps, which was interactive and allowed you to click on schools for specific info. But Google Maps only plotted about 100 or so schools, and there are more than 1,000 here. Instead, I did it in Google Earth on my own computer and took a snapshot. Here's another.Kinda cool. Was fun to do.Next!----------Anatomy of the process:Daily absentee data from the school system is here.