Washington, DC
Subscribe to GeoRSS Subscribe to KML

NetSquared Conference 2008

Published in Conference, mapufacture, Mashup  |  3 Comments

Francine Stock presentingTwo months ago I talked about working with Alan from Think NOLA to provide tools and technologies for bringing together the quickly growing user-generated datasets, collaborative mapping, and historic information towards advocacy, awareness, and planning in rebuilding the neighborhoods of New Orleans.

What has been most amazing about the project is that there were emergent, self-induced projects that were actively addressing many areas of capturing information. They are using Flickr for geotagged photos of historic buildings, spreadsheets of demolition permits exported as KML, and key historic maps that outline the original city planning.

The project was selected as a finalist in the NetSquared challenge, which means they were given the opportunity to come out to San Jose to meet with the other 20 projects and discuss their ideas, goals, progress, and cooperations. While the conference itself will award three top-voted projects with funding, the point of the conference and discussion isn’t solely this monetary support.

In planning for the conference, the entire discussion occurred publicly on Alan’s Blog at Through open discussion, numerous other projects and individuals contacted Alan to share support, data sets, ideas and future collaborations. NetSquared served as a catalyst for focusing a specific set of projects, but the longer effect is that it has brought together people that will carry the project forward and make sure everyone succeeds.

As a prototype, I used Mapufacture to combine together Francine’s Flickr photos, planning documents of school rebuilding, and the 1924 Taylor’s planning map of New Orleans. It is just a simple demonstration of what is possible using a combination of Neogeography, GIS, and community participation. The next step will be to build better tools for basic analysis and discussion. In addition, the data is open and available for other people to download for their own visualizations, analysis and collaborations.

New Orleans School Plans


Similar Posts


  1. James Fee says:

    May 28th, 2008 at 2:22 pm (#)

    What was the argument to using OSM maps for the mapping application. We ran into some serious problems with the accuracy of the data. I’d love to use OSM over GMap so did someone go out and fix the roads?

  2. Andrew says:

    May 28th, 2008 at 2:36 pm (#)

    The OpenStreetMap data from most of the US is from the TIGER/Line data and is potentially bad or old in many areas – New Orleans especially. The reason I chose to use it in this prototype was to show the potential of the community to create and correct their local infrastructure data and make it free and open to use for printing and any use.

    Hopefully we can encourage local citizens to correct the OSM data either through the Web editor (PotLatch) or actually using GPS units and the more powerful desktop tools. It’s important to get locals to do this and not necessarily rely on “it will happen at somepoint”

    So, by putting the current OSM in front of users, so they can be aware of the dataset and also see the errors, they’ll hopefully follow-up by correcting it.

    Or perhaps we need to convince SteveC to host a mapping part in NO. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. James Fee says:

    May 28th, 2008 at 3:11 pm (#)

    Given how bad the Google/Microsoft maps are, NOLA is a great place for OSM to put efforts (beyond just helping a city recover).