Posts Tagged ‘portland’

Blog holiday, 3 year anniversary

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

See me in person in Portland when I keynote WhereCampPDX the weekend of September 25; Barcelona for FOSS4Geo; or Borsa, Romania for the Int’l Mountain Cartography conference. I’ve got a few projects I need to wrap up and start this Fall so please expect only intermittent updates rather than daily digests.

Over the last three years (almost to the day), I’ve had more than 600,000 pageviews in this space, from original pieces like Meet Toni Mair — Terrain Artist Extraordinaire to promoting other’s work like Public Art in Google Street View (Good Mag). I’ve tooted my own horn on projects like Create Calendars Automatically in Illustrator: Version 5 (Kelso) and helped folks with Freehand and VBA in ArcMap. I have two more big posts planned the next several weeks, so don’t unsubscribe quite yet ;)

In the meantime, I will continue to tweet @kelsosCorner, the micro-blogging service. A sample of Twitter posts is featured in the upper right sidebar on this page.

Walk There! Guide for Portland Oregon

Monday, November 9th, 2009

walktherecover[Editor’s note: Matthew Hampton of Portland Metro’s GIS team put me on to his beautiful fitness + pretty maps guide walks for Portland, Oregon at NACIS. It’s a collaboration with Kaiser HMO and was awarded best of show at ESRI’s 2009 User Conference. Check out the legend and download route maps. Or buy a copy from Powell’s Books.]

Republished from Powell’s and Oregonian.

Lived here all your life or just visiting, Walk There! is like a magazine subscription of where to go, how to get there and the secrets you need to know when you arrive. Walk There! 50 treks in and around Portland and Vancouver, Metro’s collection of fifty, eye-opening walks exploring the paths and past that make up the neighborhoods of Portland and linked cities is a series of new walking routes blended with familiar favorites, each mapped with an easy-to-follow legend for parks, viewpoints, restrooms, eateries and access to each walk by public transportation. Each of the fifty walks come alive with colorful anecdotes, the perspective of history, a connection of natural areas, and native flora and fauna that makes Walk There! a unique, pocket size guide to arriving and thriving!

About the Author

Laura O. Foster is an author and editor who specializes in writing about one of her great passions: Portland, Oregon. She also writes children’s nonfiction books, including the award-winning Boys Who Rocked the World, and works as a freelance book editor.
Free guide to Portland area’s best walks: Metro’s “Walk There!”

Walking costs nothing. It burns calories. And it gives you a new perspective on the Portland area. So says an evangelizing new guidebook, “Walk There!”

Metro, the regional government, makes its first foray into foot travel with 50 excursions. Each walk comes with a slick description, photos, map and difficulty rating — think Frommer’s, not government bylaws.

Treks are assigned to categories: For a power walk, hit the stairs in Alameda. Take a lunchtime stroll in downtown Gresham, enjoy the natural beauty of Fanno Creek or get your urban fix on North Mississippi Avenue.

Metro credits Kaiser Permanente with the idea and funds for the guidebooks, which are free. Governments, nonprofits and outdoor groups helped craft routes. And editing credits go to Laura O. Foster, author of “Portland Hill Walks” and the upcoming “Portland City Walks.”

The Oregonian talked walking with two forces behind the book: Foster and Metro president David Bragdon. Click below to read the edited interviews.

Read interview at the Oregonian . . .

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LimeWire Creator Brings Open-Source Approach to Urban Planning (Wired Mag)

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

[Editor’s note: Open Planning Project leverages P2P networking to make urban transportation safer, faster and more sustainable.]

Republished from Wired.
By Eliot Van Buskirk
Email

Originally published January 30, 2009

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Entrepreneur Mark Gorton wants to do for people what he already helped do for files: move them from here to there in the most efficient way possible using open-source tools.

Gorton, whose LimeWire file sharing software for the open-source gnutella network was at the forefront of the P2P revolution nearly a decade ago, is taking profits earned as a software mogul and spinning them into projects to make urban transportation safer, faster and more sustainable.

You might call it a “P2P-to-people” initiative — these efforts to make cities more people-friendly are partly funded by people sharing files.

That’s not the only connection between open-source software and Gorton’s vision for livable cities. The top-down culture of public planning stands to benefit by employing methods he’s lifting from the world of open-source software: crowdsourced development, freely-accessible data libraries, and web forums, as well as actual open-source software with which city planners can map transportation designs to people’s needs. Such modeling software and data existed in the past, but it was closed to citizens.

Gorton’s open-source model would have a positive impact on urban planning by opening up the process to a wider audience, says Thomas K. Wright, executive director of the Regional Plan Association, an organization that deals with urban planning issues in the New York metropolitan area.

“99 percent of planning in the United States is volunteer citizens on Tuesday nights in a high school gym,” Wright says. “Creating a software that can reach into that dynamic would be very profound, and open it up, and shine light on the decision-making. Right now, it becomes competing experts trying to out-credential each other in front of these citizen and volunteer boards… [Gorton] could actually change the whole playing field.”

Portland, Oregon has already used his open-source software to plan its bus routes. San Francisco, whose MUNI bus system is a frequent target of criticism, could be next to get the treatment. Gorton says he’s in talks with the city to supply transit routing software for MUNI that will do a much better job of keeping track of where people are going and figuring out how best to get them there. San Francisco “overpaid greatly” for a badly-supported proprietary closed-source system that barely works, according to Gorton, putting the city under the thumb of a private company that provides sub-par support.

“They’re frustrated and thinking about replacing it completely, and see the value of open-source because then they won’t have any of these support problems,” he said. “And they won’t be constantly at the mercy of the private companies that have these little mini-monopolies.”

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The Open Planning Project (TOPP) was Gorton’s first foray into urban planning, in 1999. It initially involved an ambitious plan to use open-source software to model public transportation and traffic systems in large cities.

“I was much more naive at the time,” he said. “I thought, ‘I can make software. I’ll go build an open-source traffic and transportation model, which will show how much better things can be, and then go magically adopt those solutions.”

But humans can be harder to program than machines, and sometimes a human-to-human interface works best. “We’ve actually been incredibly successful transforming policy in New York City without any models at all,” he added, though some residents complained about parking spaces morphing into bike lanes.

The quest to bring open-source software to real-world urban planning continued, following the clearance of a key hurdle: Before you can build a transportation model, you need to know where the roads are.

While public, that data was locked by private software used by public organizations and suffered from an overall lack of standards. Thus was born GeoServer, an open-source, Java-based software server that lets anyone view and edit geo-spatial data. Road information can now be painstakingly imported once from proprietary systems or entered from scratch, double-checked by other users, and rolled out to anyone who needs the data.

“It didn’t really exist before,” said Gorton. “Most of the data was run on software from a company called ESRI. Government agencies have this data, but it’s all running on proprietary systems and you couldn’t get access to it, or it was very hard to get access to it.” GeoServer now runs in thousands of places around the world for all sorts of reasons, according to Gorton, whenever an online app needs to know where roads are.

Continue reading at Wired magazine . . .

Walk Score Launches Maps for Major US Cities (GGDC)

Thursday, July 17th, 2008

Republished from David Alpert’s GreaterGreaterDC.org blog (original post):

Quick links to major metros: (Find by address)

Walk Score ranks 2,508 neighborhoods in the largest 40 U.S. cities to help you find a walkable place to live.

What makes a city walkable? See here for side-by-side comparisons. Methodology.

CityScoreMost Walkable Neighborhoods

1San Francisco86Chinatown, Financial District, Downtown

2New York83Tribeca, Little Italy, Soho

3Boston79Back Bay-Beacon Hill, South End, Fenway-Kenmore

4Chicago76Loop, Near North Side, Lincoln Park

5Philadelphia74City Center East, City Center West, Riverfront

6Seattle72Pioneer Square, Downtown, First Hill

7Washington D.C.70Dupont Circle, Logan Circle, Downtown

8Long Beach69Downtown, Belmont Shore, Belmont Heights

9Los Angeles67Mid City West, Downtown, Hollywood

10Portland66Pearl District, Old Town-Chinatown, Downtown

11Denver66Lodo, Golden Triangle, Capitol Hill

12Baltimore65Federal Hill, Fells Point, Inner Harbor

13Milwaukee62Historic Third Ward, Lower East Side, Northpoint

14Cleveland60Downtown, Ohio City-West Side, Detroit Shoreway

15Louisville58Central Business District, Limerick, Phoenix Hill

16San Diego56Core, Horton Plaza, Cortez Hill

17San Jose55Buena Vista, Burbank, Rose Garden

18Las Vegas55Meadows Village, Downtown, Rancho Charleston

19Fresno54Central, Fresno-High, Hoover

20Sacramento54Richmond Grove, Downtown, Midtown

Begin republish of GGDC blog post:

Walk Score just launched walkability maps and rankings for the 40 largest U.S. cities. Washington, DC ranks 7th (between Seattle and… Long Beach?!?!) Baltimore is #12.

Dupont Circle, our highest scoring neighborhood, is 17th among all neighborhoods, though 12 of the higher ranking ones are all in Manhattan (the others are San Francisco’s Financial District and Chinatown, Portland’s streetcar-developed Pearl District, and Old Westport, Kansas City. Ten DC neighborhoods break a 90 and win the label “walkers’ paradises”: Dupont, Logan, Downtown, U Street, Foggy Bottom, Mt. Vernon Square, Adams Morgan, Kalorama, Friendship Heights, and Georgetown.

The map shows what we intuitively know: the row house part of the city is very walkable. To a lesser extent, so are the main retail concentrations elsewhere, like Wisconsin and Connecticut Avenues, Takoma, and Brookland. We don’t do better in the overall rankings (just above Long Beach and Los Angeles) because of large swaths of unwalkability around the perimeter of the city, especially in Northeast and east of the river.

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The algorithm still is far from perfect, but it does a pretty good job of quantifying what areas are more or less walkable. I’d quibble with the neighborhood breakdowns, especially outside the center; they label Crestwood and 16th Street Heights as “Petworth”, and Petworth (plus Park View and others) are lumped in with CUA-Brookland. Likewise, the area labeled Takoma Park is west of Georgia Avenue, making it more Shepherd Park, with the actual Takoma area in Fort Totten-Upper Northeast. And the entire area east of the river, except Deanwood, is “Anacostia”.

Getting decent neighborhood boundaries is remarkably difficult, as there are no official lists of neighborhoods (except in a few cities, like Chicago). I tried once in a pervious job, when building a service to find restaurants over the phone. We wanted to let users say a neighborhood, but it was nearly impossible to get a decent list of neighborhoods for even major cities nationwide.