[liberationtech] Global Occupy Map: Requesting Advice

Chris bfpk44 at gmail.com
Thu Dec 29 19:59:47 PST 2011

Hello Friends,

My name is Chris, and I am a member of Occupy D.C. I am reaching out to
this list at the suggestion of @LiberationTech with a few questions
relating to mapping the Occupy movement.

An Occupy-affiliated group, We All Occupy (
website<https://sites.google.com/site/wealloccupy/home>), has been
painstakingly gathering data/links/advice/ and other resources
on their site. I was able to geocode a listing of over 1300 Occupy
locations globally, including their website URL, Facebook URL, and Twitter
URL.  Admittedly, the database still  has many errors and is far from

I was then able to take this data and map each location with the
appropriate URLs in a tooltip window using TileMill from MapBox: ( Global
Occupy Map<http://a.tiles.mapbox.com/v3/upload.1sn5izz5.html#2.00/41.2/-13.3>)
as well as a map with Socrata: ( OpenData
Map <https://opendata.socrata.com/dataset/pointmap/bfrg-v5m8> ).

I have three mapping-related inquiries:

*1. Do you know of anyone/any organization who might be interested in
hosting the open-source
MapBox<http://developmentseed.org/about/open-source/> software
on their servers for the Global Occupy Map?  *

Development Seed (MapBox/TileMill) has been generous in offering to host
the map for one month.  I imagine there to be many other liberating uses
for this type of mapping technology, and I hope the Occupy map will inspire
others to consider visualization as an advocacy tool.

*2. How should I approach real-time data? *

MapBox and Socrata are not, to my knowledge, very good at handling dynamic
data, which is what the majority of what I imagine Occupy Data to be. (See
Occupy Research here <http://occupyresearch.wikispaces.com/> for examples
of previous visualizations, and I put together this stack of other Occupy
maps for comparison: ( http://delicious.com/stacks/view/HruuI0 ).

What I notice from the other maps is that the Ushahidi/CrowdMap maps are
good for real-time but don't seem able to handle existing large datasets,
and the tooltips/pop-up windows give limited information. The map itself is
not very impressive. Data Visualization/maps should be beautiful, fun,
perhaps even inspiring.

I see some potential in using the Google Visualization API to generate
dynamic maps, especially since data would be hosted in Google Docs already.
However, I only recently (i.e., 2 months ago) started to script/develop.

*3. Does anyone have experience in creating Google GeoMap Visualizations
with a Google Docs spreadsheet as the source? *

I apologize for the length of this email. I like to think it is because of
all the links I included. Information is power!



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