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Thread: Real planning uses of google maps and other online tools?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Real planning uses of google maps and other online tools?

    Hey all - I'm a Master in City Planning student, working with a professor who is interested in the potential uses of various internet tools for urban planning and design. One thing in particular we're looking at is the use of Google or other web-based mapping tools (ie, not Google Earth) that allow users to tag the maps with their own data (ie, descriptions of locations, photographs, etc...)

    I have found a number of helpful threads that have already discussed this topic, including this one. There are obviously great sites out there that mashup Google Maps to locate things like restaurants, parks, etc., but many of these are static and do not allow users to submit their own information.

    However, with sites like ZeeMaps, OpenStreetMap, and even Google's own map editing capabilities it's now pretty easy for any lay person (ie, non-GIS expert) to compile and dislpay geospatial data. I've run across sites that allow people to submit the locations of potholes that need to be filled, or identify properties that are infested with bedbugs.

    SO -- it seems to me that these tools would be useful in larger scale urban planning and design initiatives, like presenting images of unsafe areas in a public park to focus on during a redesign, or something to that effect.

    Have any Cyburbians employed tools like this in your work? If not where you work, do you know of any places that have? Even if there are no uses at this scale, I am still interested in finding examples of tagged maps that have some relation to planning, if even to identify potholes and bedbugs.

    Text descriptions of examples are good, links to maps are even better (even if the process is done or there has been no data added for a while).

    Thanks!
    "I was trying to daydream but my mind kept wandering."
    -Steven Wright

  2. #2
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Boston's Bike Czar used Google Maps to create an interactive map that users can modify and update. Its a bit tricky to get into the interface, but the instructions are found here: http://andrewbikes.blogspot.com/2007...on-wheels.html

    This is a great use of this technology, IMO.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    That thread is an oldie but goodie! Since then, I regularly use online mapping tools on many of our projects. I am in the private sector and my competitors are always on this site, so I'm just going to leave it at that. But let me encourage you to keep on pressing forward. The technology evolves, and it continues to become easier to use online mapping tools for urban planning and design projects.

  4. #4
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    here's a local example from wikimapia thats pretty decent. http://wikimapia.org/#lat=52.1299975...16&l=0&m=a&v=2

    I'm interested in this from another point of view. I'd like to see full scale editable maps for pointing out areas of concern down to the property line level. Of course only cities have that information and so far I've had no luck getting any of it made public. We'll see where it goes though.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian JimPlans's avatar
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    I had nothing to do with the making of this map, but I think its a nice example of what can be done with Google:

    http://sustain.mdp.state.md.us/census/censusinfo.aspx

    Note that if you go to the "Post 2000 Residential Development" tab, you can zoom down to the parcel level and see individual housing units that have been constructed since 2000, along with publicly-available tax data on each unit. Pretty detailed.

  6. #6
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    SeeClickFix uses Googlemaps as a base. SCF is a nonprofit tool that builds community by creating a "microblog" for each issue reported. Basically like a virtual Jane Jacobs. Use has been exploding.

    SCF is used by planners to help document community issues. For example, planners have downloaded all postings about crosswalk problems, created a catalogue, and applied solutions to all of them.

    Check out the blog at http://blog.seeclickfix.com/ to see some of the coverage by newspapers in big cities, Streetsblog features, etc.

    http://thecityfix.com/see-click-fix-repeat/ is a pretty good overview of it.
    Last edited by Gedunker; 31 Mar 2009 at 10:51 AM. Reason: seq. replies

  7. #7
    Hi,

    You might be interested in this site in the UK (made by www.mysociety.org):
    www.fixmystreet.com

    Anyone can place tags on a map to indicate where problems are (broken railings etc), and they will send a note to the local authority on your behalf to let them know about the problem.

    Also, you might be interested in this experiment we've been working on:
    www.holisticcity.co.uk/urbanspaces

    You can search for public spaces by size or shape. It's still a prototype, and the database is quite small (we haven't got many from the US yet) - but we hope to expand this in time, and allow visitors to the site to add examples.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian JimPlans's avatar
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    Found another one:

    This Place Matters from the National Trust for Historic Places. You can log in, give an address and description of a place that matters and why, upload a picture, and it appears on the map immediately. Simple and effective.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    Anyone find any real world planning applications of the new Tours feature? Attached is a mock-up called "Sports Arenas in Michigan," and it visits Ford Field, Comerica Park, Lansing Lugnuts, Palace of Auburn Hills, and the Big House.
    Attached Files Attached Files

  10. #10
    Cyburbian b3nr's avatar
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    This is a good example.

    Goto www.bristolstreets.co.uk

    Click on the bike icon and behold the power of the web!

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    This here is an interesting Google Maps disaster planning tool for the latest Swine Flu pandemic.

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