Posts Tagged ‘dc’

‘Citizen cartographers’ map the microcosms of the world (Wash Post)

Monday, February 1st, 2010

[Editor's note: The Washington Post's Mike Musgrove covers the OpenStreetMap.org phenomenon during a recent meet-up of MappingDC in the nation's capital.]

Republished from The Washington Post. Sunday, January 31, 2010
By Mike Musgrove

On a cold Sunday morning in Washington, none of the two-dozen scruffy students and techie folks crowded into one side of a bustling cafe noticed as Steve Coast, a 29-year-old British programmer, moseyed in and joined their ranks. They didn’t realize it, but there was the man with a plan to map the world.

They were there to do their part, but that’s the funny thing about being the leader of a large, online movement: Everybody knows your name, but nobody recognizes you.

The citizen cartographers, known as MappingDC, had gathered to help complete Coast’s interactive map of the globe — or at least Washington’s corner of it.

“Maps are expensive and proprietary,” said Coast, sipping on his coffee and explaining the core tenets of the project, called OpenStreetMap. “They should be free.”

Coast had the idea for OpenStreetMap in 2004, when he was a student living in London. Coast had a GPS and a laptop, you see, and he figured that with a little programming magic he could build a map of his local haunts that contained more useful information than any service he could find online.

What’s more, he said, “I figured that if I did that, and he did that, and you did that, then, together, we could put together a jigsaw map of the world.”

Since that day, a few hundred thousand people around the planet have pitched in online to enter information about everything from the name of their local library to an area’s handicap accessibility.

In Germany, the country with some of the project’s most enthusiastic participants, volunteers have very nearly catalogued their country down to the last lamppost. During a recent trip to Atlanta, Coast found that users had paid particular attention to the area’s storm drains, perhaps because of recent floods. In Denver, where he lives, Coast has noticed that users are obsessed with noting every footpath and bike trail.

As with Wikipedia, the premise here is that the collective contributions of an enthusiastic community can create a better service than something a corporate entity could put out on its own.

Sure, Google, with its massive resources, has the wherewithal to hire workers to record the street-level images used in its map service. But “a couple of guys driving a truck down a street don’t viscerally care” about whether they captured your neighborhood’s streets exactly right, said Coast, who was in town to attend a conference by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Remember encyclopedias? The problem with those dead-tree tomes was always that the information printed within could go obsolete the day they were published. It’s always been the same for paper street maps, too. MappingDC and OpenStreetMap project members argue that their map is better because it can be instantly corrected. Again, like Wikipedia, the belief is that the wisdom of the crowd will prevail or fix errors.

Continue reading at The Washington Post . . .

Ancient map with China at center goes on show in Washington, DC (BBC)

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

[Editor's note: "A rare, 400-year-old map that displays China at the center of the world will be on exhibit at the Library of Congress from Jan. 12 to April 10 2010, before it is digitized and then heads to its intended home at the James Ford Bell Library at the University of Minnesota. If you haven't checked our Ricci in China, it's a fascinating time period in the history of cartography. Thanks Curt and Mary Kate!]

Republished from the BBC.

Visitor instructions from the Library of Congress . . .

A visitor studies Matteo Ricci's 400-year-old world map at the Library of CongressThe huge map is being displayed at the Library of Congress in Washington

A historic map of the world, with China at its centre, has gone on display at the Library of Congress in Washington.

The map was created by Italian missionary Matteo Ricci in 1602. It is one of only two copies in existence in good condition.

Because of its rarity and fragility – the map is printed on rice paper – the map has become known as the “Impossible Black Tulip of Cartography”.

This is the first time it has been on public show in north America.

Ricci created the map at the request of Emperor Wanli who wanted it to help scholars and explorers.

‘Revered by Chinese’

The map was purchased by the James Ford Bell Trust in October for $1m (£0.62m), making it the second-most expensive rare map ever sold.

It denotes different parts of the world with annotations and pictures.

A detail from the China section of Matteo Ricci's world map

The map had China at the centre of the world to underline its importance

In the Americas, for example, several places are named including Chih-Li (Chile), Wa-ti-ma-la (Guatemala) and Ka-na-ta (Canada), and Florida is described as “the Land of the Flowers”.

Ford W Bell, a trustee for the James Ford Bell Trust, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review newspaper, that the map was “one of the two best in terms of quality, as far as we know”.

“Ricci was a very smart missionary. He put China right at the centre of this new universe, this new globe, to underscore its importance,” he said.

“Ricci, of course, was the first Westerner to enter Beijing. He was revered by the Chinese, and he was buried there.”

The first secretary for cultural affairs at the Chinese embassy in the US, Ti Ban Zhang, said in a statement that the map represents “the momentous first meeting of East and West”.

Home Prices in Selected Cities, Through October 2009 (NY Times)

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

[Editor's note: Year-over price difference in 30 cities across the United States as an interactive chart.]

Republished from the New York Times.

Interact with the original . . . (Screenshot below)

nyt_home_values_chart

. Source: S&P/Case-Shiller

Book Reading in DC: Toby Lester – The Fourth Part Of The World

Friday, October 30th, 2009

[Editor's note: For the Washington DC folks: "The first map to depict the world essentially as we know it today was the Waldseemuller Map, which dates from 1507. Among its many cartographical breakthroughs, it represented the New World—labeled as America—as a separate continent, and suggested the existence of the Pacific Ocean. Lester’s narrative history chronicles how European mapmakers pieced together this new picture of the world from the earlier expeditions of Vespucci, Marco Polo, and the ancients." Thanks Kate!]

Republished from Politics and Prose.

November 5, 2009 – 7:00pm (1 hour)
Location: Politics and Prose @ 5015 Connecticut Ave. NWWashington, D.C. 20008

The Fourth Part of the World: The Race to the Ends of the Earth, and the Epic Story of the Map That Gave America Its Name

Wasting Away: The Squandering of D.C.’s AIDS Dollars (Wash Post)

Monday, October 19th, 2009

twp_aids_interactive_map

[Editor's note: Great interactive map from Kat Downs and Mary Kate Cannistra at The Washington Post for our 3-part investigative series on the District's widespread waste and mismanagement to overwhelm the city's AIDS services. Map allows several ways for the user to group (all/active) and filter (amount of award, year of award, and funding source) their analysis of groups receiving city money and calls out the 6 groups highlighted in the series. A popup menu allows the user to jump alphabetically to the group name they already know rather than wading through the map.]

Republished from The Washington Post.

Between 2004 and 2008, the D.C. Department of Health awarded approximately $80 million in grants to about 90 specialized AIDS groups, which along with medical clinics make up the front lines in the District’s fight against the disease. But while some provided a critically needed lifeline to the sick, others were wracked by questionable spending, practices and services. During those five years, one in three dollars earmarked for local AIDS groups went to these troubled programs, a total of more than $25 million.

SOURCE: D.C. Department of Health HIV/AIDS Administration, D.C. Department of Health fact sheet, 2009
GRAPHIC: Kat Downs, Meg Smith, Debbie Cenziper, Lauren Keane and Mary Kate Cannistra

(screenshot above) Interact with the original at The Washington Post . . .

Washington’s Systemic Streets (GGDC, Track29)

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

[Editor's note: Since moving to Washington, DC, neigh on 7 years ago, I have been fascinated by the system of street names used in the nation's capital. There's your normal east-west, north-south grid sectioned into cardinal quadrants in the NW, NE, SW, and SE directions, and then all the state streets, often large Avenues, named after the 50 first-order administrative units that form these United States. The above map shows where these are (some are tiny!), and the entire post, from GreaterGreaterWashington and 29Tracks, has more maps and dialog including a tidbit about the 1st thru 3rd rings being based on number of syllables and the 4th ring based on plants. Thanks Laris!]

Republished from GreaterGreaterWashington and Track Twenty-Nine.
Aug 7, 2009. By Matt Johnson.

Visitors and residents of Washington, DC know, to one degree or another, about the city’s street naming conventions. Most tourists know that we have lettered and numbered streets. And to some degree, they know there is a system, but it doesn’t stop them asking us directions. But most out-of-towners and even many residents don’t understand the full ingenuity of the District’s naming system.

Washington is partially a planned city. The area north of the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers and south of Florida Avenue (originally Boundary Street) is known as the L’Enfant City. This area of Washington was the original city of Washington, laid out by Pierre L’Enfant and Andrew Ellicott. It is comprised of a rectilinear grid with a set of transverse diagonal avenues superimposed. Avenues frequently intersect in circles or squares, and the diagonals create many triangular or bow tie-shaped parks.

Washington is the seat of government of a nation. Believing that the structure of the government should inform the structure of the city, L’Enfant centered the nascent city on the Capitol, home of the Legislative (and at the time, the Judicial) branch of the government, the one the framers held in highest esteem. From this great building radiate the axes of Washington. North and South Capitol Streets form the north-south axis; East Capitol Street and the National Mall form the east-west axis. These axes divide the quadrants.

The axes also provide the basis for the naming and numbering systems. Lettered streets increase alphabetically as they increase in distance both north and south of the Mall and East Capitol Street. Numbered streets increase in number as they increase in distance both east and west of North and South Capitol Streets.

Continue reading at Greater Greater Washington . . .

Found Map: Immigrant Roots, Immigrant Rights

Monday, August 10th, 2009

immigrant_roots_immigrant_rights

I saw this advocacy poster in the Adams Morgan area of Washington, DC this weekend. I love the metaphore and graphic technique, the United States a tree, the world it’s roots grouped by continent (another view). Not sure what organization put the poster together, perhaps the Arlington, Va. based NCIC?

Travel to Bermuda Ad (Wash Post)

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

travelbermuda

[Editor's note: This fanciful bit of advertising art pleases my (left or right?) eye. The Bermuda ad campaign is customized for several metropolitan areas.]

Republished from The Washington Post (an ad in the print edition on 2 August 2009).

Map: Where has Obama been in Washington? Where do you want him to go? (Wash Post)

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

[Editor's note: This interactive Google mashup builds off some code I programmed last year. I still like how the map snaps back to the original position after the info window closes. Kudos to Gene Thorp!]

Republished from The Washington Post.
Related articles:

According to whom you ask, President Obama has either embraced the D.C. area more than any other recent president or is falling well short of the full Washingtonian-status they had hoped the city-loving First Family might embrace. This map highlights most of the president’s stops in and around Washington to date, as well as some suggestions for the Obamas’ future dining from Post restaurant critic Tom Sietsema. Click on an icon to learn more about the president’s visit or Sietsema’s recommendation. And please use the comments box to suggest eateries, date-night venues, cultural events and other local outings for the president. We’ll add the most promising recommendations to the map on Monday.

Screenshot below. Interact with the original at The Washington Post . . .

obamaeats

Mental Map: View from Washington by Matt Wuerker (Politico)

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

politico_wuerker_view_fr_dc

[Editor's note: This cover illustration from Matt Wuerker for Politico is a take on Steinberg's classic illustrations for the New Yorker that show the mental map for politicians living in the U.S. capital, Washington, D.C. The lead article looks at the top 50 politicos to watch. Thanks Laris!]

Republished from Politico.

Given the name of this publication, we sometimes get asked a good question: What exactly is a politico? There are a lot of definitions that fit, but here’s one that seems to work well: A politico is a participant in and/or an especially avid devotee of the theater of politics.

There is no grander stage than the capital for this particular drama. And what is the main thing you do at the theater? You watch it, of course. And then you laugh or cry or yawn or boo. At the end, you applaud — whether out of admiration for the performance or gratitude that it is over.

This issue (the third special glossy that POLITICO has published this year) is devoted to 50 Politicos to Watch. In some cases, the people are on the watch list because they are on the rise — the kind of list people in Washington relish being on. But be careful what you wish for. Some politicos are interesting to watch because they are in the middle of one sticky mess or another.

But in every case, the names we compiled here — and, let’s be honest, the list is somewhat random — were identified by our reporters and editors as being characters in motion, in the middle of interesting plots.

Continue reading at Politico . . .