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Cultivating Open Geo-Data
    in the Real-World:
   A Guided Tour of Three Portland-based Projects

                   Matt Blair
               OSCON, Portland, OR
                    July 29, 2011
Who’s working with
  Open Data?
What’s the Scope?

• National
• State/Province/Canton/Prefecture
• City
• Neighborhood
What’s been
challenging?
What’s been easy?
Outline

• Common project goals
• The three projects, and their challenges
• Solutions
• Summary/Q&A
Project Goals
Free iOS Apps
For Education and Easy Participation
Open Datasets
Open Datasets

• real-time geo-queryable
• living/dynamic/well-maintained
• available to other projects/platforms
• relevant beyond lifecycle of initial apps
Broader Goals
To Promote:

• Learning and exploring
• Appreciation of place (Portland)
• Participation in community projects
• Walking and health
The Projects
Poetry Posts
What’s a Poetry Box?
“A poetry post...is a wooden pole, usually,
mounted on private property, so that it
faces pedestrians. On top of the pole is a
box, with a glass or clear face and a lid.
Inside the box is a sheet of paper containing
a poem...”


                            – Laura O. Foster
http://poetrybox.info
Challenges
Where are they?
Where are they?
   No comprehensive list.
Wait – what are they called?
A Poetry Box
Poetry Posts
A Poetry Pole
A Poetry “Tree”
?!?
Divergent Requests
PDX Trees
(a side project)
Civic Apps
Lots of great ideas – most without data
Civic Apps Data
Civic Apps Data
What are Heritage Trees?
"...a list of trees that – because of their age,
size, type, historical association or
horticultural value – are of special
importance to the City. Upon recommendation of
the Urban Forestry Commission, the City Council may
designate a tree as a Heritage Tree provided the tree's
health, aerial space, and open ground area for the root
system have been certified as sufficient."
283 Heritage Trees
Challenges
Thin Metadata
A Verbose Specimen
{
    "address": "2403 WI/ SW JEFFERSON ST",
    "circumfere": "12.300000000000001",
    "common_nam": "Deodar cedar",
    "diameter": "47",
    "geometry": {
        "coordinates": [
            -122.70463884770101,
            45.521710633334202
        ],
        "type": "Point"
    },
    "gid": "103",
    "height": "73",
    "notes": "between SW Marconi Ave and SW Tichner Dr",
    "objectid": "103",
    "owner": "Right Of Way",
    "scientific": "Cedrus deodara",
    "spread": "73",
    "stateid": "1N1E32    100",
    "status": "Heritage",
    "treeid": "113",
    "year": "1996"
}
Visual Appeal?
PDFs and Photos?
PDFs and Photos
   (© All Rights Reserved)
“...like PDX Trees, but
    with Public Art...
Public Art PDX
Rewind to May 2010...
Before PDX Trees...
Before Poetry Posts...
Green Line (2009)
Green Line Art on the Web
Green Line Art Podcast
Permission for re-use?
Fast Forward to
November 2010
No longer an outsider?
Challenges
Multiple Organizations
Multiple Data Formats
Will they share data?
Do they have data?!
Inaccurate Geo-coding
Intellectual Property
Refactored List of
          Challenges
•   Building Data           •   Creating Visual Appeal

•   Lack of Consensus       •   Data Accuracy

•   Multiple Sources        •   IP Uncertainty

•   Multiple Data Formats   •   Teams and Roles
Solutions
Building Datasets
Data
    Ideas




The Open Data Universe
Data
Ideas



                Work here.


   Option #1
Option #2:
Assemble your own data
If it’s already digitized:

• Screen-scrape
• Repurpose feeds or reporting systems
• Google Refine
• Convince governments/stakeholders to
  release it
If it’s not digitized?
Web Forms?
Most data arrives like this:
Tough to Automate
Poetry Posts
   Dozens and dozens of emails
in and outside of a Google Group
Don’t underestimate
  data collection.
Lack of Consensus
What’s this called?
“You should add social
      features...”
“You should add social
      features...”
 Comments, Photo Uploads, Likes, Friends, Flags
“You know, make it like
     Facebook!”
Scope Creep
Who’s the client?
Who decides? How?
Build the least
functional version
Rapid Feedback Cycles
Just Pick Something.
Just Pick Something.
 (Benevolent Dictator For This Release?)
Multiple Sources
• Who gathered it?
• To what end?
• Are they maintaining it?
• Do they want to share?
PDX Trees
One list, managed by one department
Public Art Data
  in Portland
Data Sources (Nov 2010)

 • PDX API: 279 works of art
 • Civic Apps CSV file: 366 works of art
 • BTS: 300ish works of art (no direct access)
 • RACC.org: 1800+ works or art
PDXAPI


               RACC.org


                  Civic Apps

                           BTS?




How do they fit together?
RACC.org

           Civic Apps

              PDXAPI




Nested subsets?
But they didn’t match...
RACC.org




       Permanent
       Collection
Text   = Available Data
Text     = Available Data


       As of November 2010:
        ~ 370 works of art
RACC.org
RACC.org

 (City of Portland)

(Multnomah County)
Done?
Not quite...
(Caveat: Not To Scale)
     Accuracy Not Guaranteed
RACC.org




 Public Art
RACC.org      Murals




 Public Art
RACC.org       Murals




              TriMet




 Public Art
RACC.org            Murals




                TriMet



       Convention
        Center?




 Public Art
RACC.org            Murals




                TriMet

              Metro?

       Convention
        Center?




 Public Art
RACC.org            Murals



 Port of

                           TriMet
Portland




                         Metro

                  Convention
                   Center




            Public Art
Fountains
                  RACC.org            Murals



 Port of

                                  TriMet
Portland




                                Metro

                         Convention
                          Center




                   Public Art
Fountains
                  RACC.org            Murals
Parks
& Rec



 Port of

                                  TriMet
Portland




                                Metro

                         Convention
                          Center




                   Public Art
Fountains
                  RACC.org            Murals
Parks
& Rec



 Port of

                                  TriMet
Portland




 Beaverton?

                                Metro

                         Convention
                          Center




                   Public Art
Fountains
                  RACC.org                    Murals
Parks
& Rec



 Port of

                                          TriMet
Portland




 Beaverton?

                    Hillsboro?          Metro

                                 Convention
                                  Center




                   Public Art
Fountains
                    RACC.org                      Murals
Parks
& Rec



 Port of

                                              TriMet
Portland




 Beaverton?

                        Hillsboro?          Metro

               Clark                 Convention
              County?                 Center




                        Public Art
Fountains
                    RACC.org                      Murals
Parks
& Rec



 Port of

                                              TriMet
Portland


               Performance

 Beaverton?

                        Hillsboro?          Metro

               Clark                 Convention
              County?                 Center




                        Public Art
Fountains
                    RACC.org                      Murals
Parks
& Rec



 Port of

                                              TriMet
Portland


               Performance                                  Temporary
                                                           Installations
 Beaverton?

                        Hillsboro?          Metro

               Clark                 Convention
              County?                 Center




                        Public Art
Fountains                                                            Street
                    RACC.org                      Murals                    Art?
Parks
& Rec



 Port of

                                              TriMet
Portland


               Performance                                  Temporary
                                                           Installations
 Beaverton?

                        Hillsboro?          Metro

               Clark                 Convention
              County?                 Center




                        Public Art
(aka Graffiti)
“Of course not!”
“But what if it’s Banksy?”
Fountains                                                               Street
                    RACC.org                      Murals                       Art?
Parks
& Rec



 Port of

                                              TriMet
Portland


               Performance                                     Temporary
                                                              Installations
 Beaverton?

                        Hillsboro?          Metro

               Clark                 Convention
              County?                 Center
                                                           Community?


                        Public Art
Community Collection
Where’s Paul?
photo by Cacophony (via Wikipedia)
Intersection
   Repair




photo by City Repair (via Flickr)
Julian Voss-
    Andrae’s
   Alpha Helix

(at the Linus Pauling House)
     photo via julianvossandrae.com
Fountains                                                               Street
                    RACC.org                      Murals                       Art?
Parks
& Rec



 Port of

                                              TriMet
Portland


               Performance                                     Temporary
                                                              Installations
 Beaverton?

                        Hillsboro?          Metro

               Clark                 Convention
              County?                 Center
                                                           Community?


                        Public Art
Fountains                                                               Street
                    RACC.org                      Murals                       Art?
Parks
& Rec


                                                                          Available
 Port of
                                                                           Data
                                              TriMet
Portland


               Performance                                     Temporary
                                                              Installations
 Beaverton?

                        Hillsboro?          Metro

               Clark                 Convention
              County?                 Center
                                                           Community?


                        Public Art
A Community-wide
    Database
Build an inter-agency superset of public art
Yes, it’s complicated.
Yes, it’s complicated.
   Yet Portland has some of the best
     public art data in the country.
Data Source Tips

• Start small
• Find allies and implement an example
• Don’t wait for the perfect dataset
• Plan for chaos
• But be ambitious in the long-term!
Multiple Data Formats
Each source has its own:

• metadata
• schema
• volatility
• level of accuracy and currency
• messes to clean up
A dynamic mix of...
• noisy data
• shifting standards
• unexpected restrictions
• adapting to community requests
• addressing data provider concerns
• ambiguities of project 'ownership'
Less about architecture
 than improvisation...
Metadata Flexibility
 Let early adopters set the standards
NoSQL
Document Databases
CouchDB
Eventual Schema
“There is always
schema somewhere.”
“There is always
schema somewhere.”
 If it’s not in your software, you’re forcing
  your audience to build it in their heads.
Delay Schema Decisions
   Push them up to presentation/client layer
But what about MVC?
But what about MVC?
    My model is in my view?!
More nimble than
relational database
  Especially during development
YKmMV
Creating Visual Appeal
Heritage Trees
{
    "address": "2403 WI/ SW JEFFERSON ST",
    "circumfere": "12.300000000000001",
    "common_nam": "Deodar cedar",
    "diameter": "47",
    "geometry": {
        "coordinates": [
            -122.70463884770101,
            45.521710633334202
        ],
        "type": "Point"
    },
    "gid": "103",
    "height": "73",
    "notes": "between SW Marconi Ave and SW Tichner Dr",
    "objectid": "103",
    "owner": "Right Of Way",
    "scientific": "Cedrus deodara",
    "spread": "73",
    "stateid": "1N1E32    100",
    "status": "Heritage",
    "treeid": "113",
    "year": "1996"
}
Public Art
{ "docs": [{
    "addrCity": "",
    "addrState": " ",
    "addrStreet": "",
    "addrZip": "",
    "artists": "Dan Corson",
    "date": "2009",
    "dateModified": "2011-04-18 00:00:00",
    "description": "Mercurial Sky is an ever-changing array of light played on LED
tubes integrated into the Director Park Canopy. The digital video only emits from the
lighted bars, and provides a sense of movement through an abstract tapestry of light
and color. If you stand farther away, or look in nearby reflections, the images are
compressed and give a clearer view of the video. nn"I filmed images and patterns of
natural phenomena like waves, clouds, fire, earthworms, and jellyfish to bring the
movement and randomness of nature into this mostly hardscaped park."",
    "detailPageURL": "http://racc.org/public-art/search/?recid=2909.101",
    "dimensions": "duration: 1:23:10",
    "discipline": "video",
    "fundingSource": "Percent for Art - City of Portland",
    "thumbnailURL": "http://data.racc.org/pa_inventory/1844/1844thumb.jpg",
    "location": "Director Park Canopy",
    "mappableDiscipline": "other",
    "medium": "Digital video on DVD",
    "recordID": "2909",
    "title": "Mercurial Sky",
    "dataSource": "RACC",
    "collection": "None",
    "photoCredit": "RACC",
    "artCopyright": "TBD",
    "locationVerified": "YES",
    "geometry": {
        "coordinates": [
            -122.681124,
            45.518759
        ],
        "type": "Point"
    }
}
Public Art
{ "docs": [{
    "addrCity": "",
    "addrState": " ",
    "addrStreet": "",
    "addrZip": "",
    "artists": "Dan Corson",
    "date": "2009",
    "dateModified": "2011-04-18 00:00:00",
    "description": "Mercurial Sky is an ever-changing array of light played on LED
tubes integrated into the Director Park Canopy. The digital video only emits from the
lighted bars, and provides a sense of movement through an abstract tapestry of light
and color. If you stand farther away, or look in nearby reflections, the images are
compressed and give a clearer view of the video. nn"I filmed images and patterns of
natural phenomena like waves, clouds, fire, earthworms, and jellyfish to bring the
movement and randomness of nature into this mostly hardscaped park."",
    "detailPageURL": "http://racc.org/public-art/search/?recid=2909.101",
    "dimensions": "duration: 1:23:10",
    "discipline": "video",
    "fundingSource": "Percent for Art - City of Portland",
    "thumbnailURL": "http://data.racc.org/pa_inventory/1844/1844thumb.jpg",
    "location": "Director Park Canopy",
    "mappableDiscipline": "other",
    "medium": "Digital video on DVD",
    "recordID": "2909",
    "title": "Mercurial Sky",
    "dataSource": "RACC",
    "collection": "None",
    "photoCredit": "RACC",
    "artCopyright": "TBD",
    "locationVerified": "YES",
    "geometry": {
        "coordinates": [
            -122.681124,
            45.518759
        ],
        "type": "Point"
    }
}
Public Art
{ "docs": [{
    "addrCity": "",
    "addrState": " ",
    "addrStreet": "",
    "addrZip": "",
    "artists": "Dan Corson",
    "date": "2009",
    "dateModified": "2011-04-18 00:00:00",
    "description": "Mercurial Sky is an ever-changing array of light played on LED
tubes integrated into the Director Park Canopy. The digital video only emits from the
lighted bars, and provides a sense of movement through an abstract tapestry of light
and color. If you stand farther away, or look in nearby reflections, the images are
compressed and give a clearer view of the video. nn"I filmed images and patterns of
natural phenomena like waves, clouds, fire, earthworms, and jellyfish to bring the
movement and randomness of nature into this mostly hardscaped park."",
    "detailPageURL": "http://racc.org/public-art/search/?recid=2909.101",
    "dimensions": "duration: 1:23:10",
    "discipline": "video",
    "fundingSource": "Percent for Art - City of Portland",
    "thumbnailURL": "http://data.racc.org/pa_inventory/1844/1844thumb.jpg",
    "location": "Director Park Canopy",
    "mappableDiscipline": "other",
    "medium": "Digital video on DVD",
    "recordID": "2909",
    "title": "Mercurial Sky",
    "dataSource": "RACC",
    "collection": "None",
    "photoCredit": "RACC",
    "artCopyright": "TBD",
    "locationVerified": "YES",
    "geometry": {
        "coordinates": [
            -122.681124,
            45.518759
        ],
        "type": "Point"
    }
}
PDX Trees
{
    "address": "2403 WI/ SW JEFFERSON ST",
    "circumfere": "12.300000000000001",
    "common_nam": "Deodar cedar",
    "diameter": "47",
    "geometry": {




                                              +         ?
        "coordinates": [
            -122.70463884770101,
            45.521710633334202
        ],
        "type": "Point"
    },
    "gid": "103",
    "height": "73",
    "notes": "between Marconi Ave and SW Tichner Dr",
    "objectid": "103",
    "owner": "Right Of Way",
    "scientific": "Cedrus deodara",
    "spread": "73",
    "stateid": "1N1E32    100",
    "status": "Heritage",
    "treeid": "113",
    "year": "1996"
}
PDX Trees
{
    "address": "2403 WI/ SW JEFFERSON ST",
    "circumfere": "12.300000000000001",
    "common_nam": "Deodar cedar",
    "diameter": "47",
    "geometry": {




                                       +
        "coordinates": [
            -122.70463884770101,
            45.521710633334202
        ],
        "type": "Point"
    },
    "gid": "103",
    "height": "73",
    "notes": "between Marconi...",
    "objectid": "103",
    "owner": "Right Of Way",
    "scientific": "Cedrus deodara",
    "spread": "73",
    "stateid": "1N1E32    100",
    "status": "Heritage",
    "treeid": "113",
    "year": "1996"
}
PDX Trees
{
    "address": "2403 WI/ SW JEFFERSON ST",
    "circumfere": "12.300000000000001",
    "common_nam": "Deodar cedar",
    "diameter": "47",
    "geometry": {




                                             +          ??
        "coordinates": [
            -122.70463884770101,
            45.521710633334202
        ],
        "type": "Point"
    },
    "gid": "103",
    "height": "73",
    "notes": "between Marconi Ave and SW Tichner Dr",
    "objectid": "103",
    "owner": "Right Of Way",
    "scientific": "Cedrus deodara",
    "spread": "73",
    "stateid": "1N1E32    100",
    "status": "Heritage",
    "treeid": "113",
    "year": "1996"
}
Poetry Posts


1991 SW Mill St Terrace
Poetry Posts


1991 SW Mill St Terrace
PDX Trees
{
    "address": "2403 WI/ SW JEFFERSON ST",
    "circumfere": "12.300000000000001",
    "common_nam": "Deodar cedar",
    "diameter": "47",
    "geometry": {




                                       +
        "coordinates": [
            -122.70463884770101,
            45.521710633334202
        ],
        "type": "Point"
    },
    "gid": "103",
    "height": "73",
    "notes": "between Marconi...",
    "objectid": "103",
    "owner": "Right Of Way",
    "scientific": "Cedrus deodara",
    "spread": "73",
    "stateid": "1N1E32    100",
    "status": "Heritage",
    "treeid": "113",
    "year": "1996"
}
Sunny October Day?
Sunny October Day?
    No one will believe it.
More Realistic
In Rarer Weather, too...
But there are 283 Trees!
But there are 283 Trees!
         I need help.
Create a
crowd-
sourced,
longitudinal,
season-
sortable
collection of
tree photos...
Will anyone send photos?
by Brad B
by kateinoregon
“Keep
Portland
Green!”


by Dan Flynn
(and I still add some...)
350+ Photos Sent In
Submitted under
Creative Commons
Photos (and data)
available for re-use
Data Accuracy
What’s Missing
or Incorrect?
What’s Missing
or Incorrect?
    Errors and omissions are
an opportunity for participation.
> 1 mile
Artifact of Geo-Coding
      Address != Location
Capacity
Who has the time to manually verify all these locations?
Crowd-Correction
IP Uncertainty
I thought this was
   “open” data?
Restrictions in
Terms of Use
Linked Media
Public Art
{ "docs": [{
    "addrCity": "",
    "addrState": " ",
    "addrStreet": "",
    "addrZip": "",
    "artists": "Dan Corson",
    "date": "2009",
    "dateModified": "2011-04-18 00:00:00",
    "description": "Mercurial Sky is an ever-changing array of light played on LED
tubes integrated into the Director Park Canopy. The digital video only emits from the
lighted bars, and provides a sense of movement through an abstract tapestry of light
and color. If you stand farther away, or look in nearby reflections, the images are
compressed and give a clearer view of the video. nn"I filmed images and patterns of
natural phenomena like waves, clouds, fire, earthworms, and jellyfish to bring the
movement and randomness of nature into this mostly hardscaped park."",
    "detailPageURL": "http://racc.org/public-art/search/?recid=2909.101",
    "dimensions": "duration: 1:23:10",
    "discipline": "video",
    "fundingSource": "Percent for Art - City of Portland",
    "thumbnailURL": "http://data.racc.org/pa_inventory/1844/1844thumb.jpg",
    "location": "Director Park Canopy",
    "mappableDiscipline": "other",
    "medium": "Digital video on DVD",
    "recordID": "2909",
    "title": "Mercurial Sky",
    "dataSource": "RACC",
    "collection": "None",
    "photoCredit": "RACC",
    "artCopyright": "TBD",
    "locationVerified": "YES",
    "geometry": {
        "coordinates": [
            -122.681124,
            45.518759
        ],
        "type": "Point"
    }
}
Public Art
{ "docs": [{
    "addrCity": "",
    "addrState": " ",
    "addrStreet": "",
    "addrZip": "",
    "artists": "Dan Corson",
    "date": "2009",
    "dateModified": "2011-04-18 00:00:00",
    "description": "Mercurial Sky is an ever-changing array of light played on LED
tubes integrated into the Director Park Canopy. The digital video only emits from the
lighted bars, and provides a sense of movement through an abstract tapestry of light
and color. If you stand farther away, or look in nearby reflections, the images are
compressed and give a clearer view of the video. nn"I filmed images and patterns of
natural phenomena like waves, clouds, fire, earthworms, and jellyfish to bring the
movement and randomness of nature into this mostly hardscaped park."",
    "detailPageURL": "http://racc.org/public-art/search/?recid=2909.101",
    "dimensions": "duration: 1:23:10",
    "discipline": "video",
    "fundingSource": "Percent for Art - City of Portland",
    "thumbnailURL": "http://data.racc.org/pa_inventory/1844/1844thumb.jpg",
    "location": "Director Park Canopy",
    "mappableDiscipline": "other",
    "medium": "Digital video on DVD",
    "recordID": "2909",
    "title": "Mercurial Sky",
    "dataSource": "RACC",
    "collection": "None",
    "photoCredit": "RACC",
    "artCopyright": "TBD",
    "locationVerified": "YES",
    "geometry": {
        "coordinates": [
            -122.681124,
            45.518759
        ],
        "type": "Point"
    }
}
Linked Media
 Who took that photo?
   Who owns it?
  Who can license it?
Teams and Roles
Who do you need?
Standard Roles
•   Project Management         •   Software Engineering

•   Graphic Design             •   Testing

•   Information Architecture   •   Maintenance

•   Metadata Design            •   Coordination

•   Data Entry/Import          •   Marketing

•   UI Design                  •   Communication
Roles That Deserve
 Special Attention
Data Collection
Fountains                                                               Street
                    RACC.org                      Murals                       Art?
Parks
& Rec


                                                                          Available
 Port of
                                                                           Data
                                              TriMet
Portland


               Performance                                     Temporary
                                                              Installations
 Beaverton?

                        Hillsboro?          Metro

               Clark                 Convention
              County?                 Center
                                                           Community?


                        Public Art
Data Scrubbing
 Probably Need Tech Skills
Research & Verification
   Not necessarily a technical person
Curation
What’s in, what’s out and why
Authority
(not required, but it helps)
Advocacy
    Why are we doing this?
Why should you release this data?
PDX Trees
PDX Trees
‘Mostly’ a solo project
There are no
‘solo’ projects.
PDX Trees Collaborators
 • Urban Forestry Commission
 • City Council
 • City of Portland’s Bureau of Technology
   Services
 • Max Ogden’s de-shapefile-ification
 • Everyone who has contributed photos
Public Art PDX 1.0
Essential Collaborators
• Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC)
• The Office of Mayor Sam Adams
• City of Portland’s Bureau of Technology
  Services
• City Attorney (and pro bono attorneys)
• Former Mayor Bud Clark! (see video)
Public Art PDX 1.0
Collaborators Provided:
•   Graphic Design      •   Communication

•   Metadata Design     •   Data Collection

•   Data Entry/Import   •   Data Scrubbing

•   Testing             •   Authority

•   Marketing           •   Advocacy
Beyond 1.x:
  Community Collection
Different Phases, Different Roles, New Participants
Expanding Roles for the
Community Collection
•   Metadata Design            •   Curation

•   Data Entry/Import          •   Photography

•   Research and Verification   •   Communication
Two More Things
Data Has Stories
“While the map makes class and race
differences all the more evident, it's great to
learn about the few murals where I live and
I look forward to using this app on a walking
tour downtown soon.”

     – Marshal Kirkpatrick, Read Write Web
Why?
Incomplete Data
No Recent Public
Building Projects
Less Economic Activity
Voice and
Representation
Share Open Data:
Interpretations Emerge
A Tool for Advocacy?
The Paces of Change
– From How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They're Built by
                     Stewart Brand, p13
        Scan source: CC by-nc-sa via http://www.flickr.com/photos/andrewcoulterenright/15663020/
The Pace of Each Layer




  http://www.ecobuildtrends.com/2011/02/designing-in-layers.html
"A design imperative emerges: An adaptive building has
to allow slippage between the differently-paced systems of
Site, Structure, Skin, Services, Space plan, and Stuff.
Otherwise the slow systems block the flow of the
quick ones, and the quick ones tear up the slow ones
with their constant change. Embedding the systems
together may look efficient at first, but over time it is
the opposite and destructive as well."


– From How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They're Built by
                     Stewart Brand, p20
Websites =
Presentation
Apps = Presentation
“Can I get that icon in
  cornflower blue?”
Presentation Layers are
      Ephemeral
Presentation Layers are
      Ephemeral
     They come and go, like fashion
This year’s attire
What costumes will
your data wear in
 five years’ time?
Who knows.
Data is the Substrate
Data is the
Site and Structure
Design for Different Paces
A particular app
is a short-term goal
Like Furniture
A Shearing Layers
Model of Open Data?
Hmm...
Hmm...
(Need More Input)
De-couple Data and
   Presentation
A Design Philosophy:
Data is the generative
    source of the
 entire ecosystem.
Project Websites

• http://poetrybox.info
• http://pdxtrees.org
• http://publicartpdx.com
Thank You

• http://mattblair.net
• Email: elsewisemedia@gmail.com
• Blog: http://elsewisestrategic.com
• github.com/mattblair

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Cultivating Open Geo-Data in the Real World

  • 1. Cultivating Open Geo-Data in the Real-World: A Guided Tour of Three Portland-based Projects Matt Blair OSCON, Portland, OR July 29, 2011
  • 2. Who’s working with Open Data?
  • 3. What’s the Scope? • National • State/Province/Canton/Prefecture • City • Neighborhood
  • 6. Outline • Common project goals • The three projects, and their challenges • Solutions • Summary/Q&A
  • 8. Free iOS Apps For Education and Easy Participation
  • 10. Open Datasets • real-time geo-queryable • living/dynamic/well-maintained • available to other projects/platforms • relevant beyond lifecycle of initial apps
  • 11. Broader Goals To Promote: • Learning and exploring • Appreciation of place (Portland) • Participation in community projects • Walking and health
  • 13.
  • 14.
  • 15.
  • 17.
  • 19. “A poetry post...is a wooden pole, usually, mounted on private property, so that it faces pedestrians. On top of the pole is a box, with a glass or clear face and a lid. Inside the box is a sheet of paper containing a poem...” – Laura O. Foster
  • 20.
  • 24. Where are they? No comprehensive list.
  • 25. Wait – what are they called?
  • 30. ?!?
  • 34. Civic Apps Lots of great ideas – most without data
  • 37.
  • 38.
  • 39. What are Heritage Trees? "...a list of trees that – because of their age, size, type, historical association or horticultural value – are of special importance to the City. Upon recommendation of the Urban Forestry Commission, the City Council may designate a tree as a Heritage Tree provided the tree's health, aerial space, and open ground area for the root system have been certified as sufficient."
  • 43. A Verbose Specimen { "address": "2403 WI/ SW JEFFERSON ST", "circumfere": "12.300000000000001", "common_nam": "Deodar cedar", "diameter": "47", "geometry": { "coordinates": [ -122.70463884770101, 45.521710633334202 ], "type": "Point" }, "gid": "103", "height": "73", "notes": "between SW Marconi Ave and SW Tichner Dr", "objectid": "103", "owner": "Right Of Way", "scientific": "Cedrus deodara", "spread": "73", "stateid": "1N1E32 100", "status": "Heritage", "treeid": "113", "year": "1996" }
  • 44.
  • 47. PDFs and Photos (© All Rights Reserved)
  • 48. “...like PDX Trees, but with Public Art...
  • 50. Rewind to May 2010...
  • 54. Green Line Art on the Web
  • 55. Green Line Art Podcast
  • 58. No longer an outsider?
  • 59.
  • 60.
  • 61.
  • 66. Do they have data?!
  • 69. Refactored List of Challenges • Building Data • Creating Visual Appeal • Lack of Consensus • Data Accuracy • Multiple Sources • IP Uncertainty • Multiple Data Formats • Teams and Roles
  • 72. Data Ideas The Open Data Universe
  • 73. Data Ideas Work here. Option #1
  • 75. If it’s already digitized: • Screen-scrape • Repurpose feeds or reporting systems • Google Refine • Convince governments/stakeholders to release it
  • 76. If it’s not digitized?
  • 78. Most data arrives like this:
  • 80. Poetry Posts Dozens and dozens of emails in and outside of a Google Group
  • 81. Don’t underestimate data collection.
  • 84. “You should add social features...”
  • 85. “You should add social features...” Comments, Photo Uploads, Likes, Friends, Flags
  • 86. “You know, make it like Facebook!”
  • 93. Just Pick Something. (Benevolent Dictator For This Release?)
  • 95. • Who gathered it? • To what end? • Are they maintaining it? • Do they want to share?
  • 96. PDX Trees One list, managed by one department
  • 97. Public Art Data in Portland
  • 98. Data Sources (Nov 2010) • PDX API: 279 works of art • Civic Apps CSV file: 366 works of art • BTS: 300ish works of art (no direct access) • RACC.org: 1800+ works or art
  • 99. PDXAPI RACC.org Civic Apps BTS? How do they fit together?
  • 100. RACC.org Civic Apps PDXAPI Nested subsets?
  • 101. But they didn’t match...
  • 102. RACC.org Permanent Collection
  • 103. Text = Available Data
  • 104. Text = Available Data As of November 2010: ~ 370 works of art
  • 106. RACC.org (City of Portland) (Multnomah County)
  • 107. Done?
  • 109. (Caveat: Not To Scale) Accuracy Not Guaranteed
  • 111. RACC.org Murals Public Art
  • 112. RACC.org Murals TriMet Public Art
  • 113. RACC.org Murals TriMet Convention Center? Public Art
  • 114. RACC.org Murals TriMet Metro? Convention Center? Public Art
  • 115. RACC.org Murals Port of TriMet Portland Metro Convention Center Public Art
  • 116. Fountains RACC.org Murals Port of TriMet Portland Metro Convention Center Public Art
  • 117. Fountains RACC.org Murals Parks & Rec Port of TriMet Portland Metro Convention Center Public Art
  • 118. Fountains RACC.org Murals Parks & Rec Port of TriMet Portland Beaverton? Metro Convention Center Public Art
  • 119. Fountains RACC.org Murals Parks & Rec Port of TriMet Portland Beaverton? Hillsboro? Metro Convention Center Public Art
  • 120. Fountains RACC.org Murals Parks & Rec Port of TriMet Portland Beaverton? Hillsboro? Metro Clark Convention County? Center Public Art
  • 121. Fountains RACC.org Murals Parks & Rec Port of TriMet Portland Performance Beaverton? Hillsboro? Metro Clark Convention County? Center Public Art
  • 122. Fountains RACC.org Murals Parks & Rec Port of TriMet Portland Performance Temporary Installations Beaverton? Hillsboro? Metro Clark Convention County? Center Public Art
  • 123. Fountains Street RACC.org Murals Art? Parks & Rec Port of TriMet Portland Performance Temporary Installations Beaverton? Hillsboro? Metro Clark Convention County? Center Public Art
  • 126. “But what if it’s Banksy?”
  • 127. Fountains Street RACC.org Murals Art? Parks & Rec Port of TriMet Portland Performance Temporary Installations Beaverton? Hillsboro? Metro Clark Convention County? Center Community? Public Art
  • 130. photo by Cacophony (via Wikipedia)
  • 131. Intersection Repair photo by City Repair (via Flickr)
  • 132. Julian Voss- Andrae’s Alpha Helix (at the Linus Pauling House) photo via julianvossandrae.com
  • 133. Fountains Street RACC.org Murals Art? Parks & Rec Port of TriMet Portland Performance Temporary Installations Beaverton? Hillsboro? Metro Clark Convention County? Center Community? Public Art
  • 134. Fountains Street RACC.org Murals Art? Parks & Rec Available Port of Data TriMet Portland Performance Temporary Installations Beaverton? Hillsboro? Metro Clark Convention County? Center Community? Public Art
  • 135. A Community-wide Database Build an inter-agency superset of public art
  • 137. Yes, it’s complicated. Yet Portland has some of the best public art data in the country.
  • 138. Data Source Tips • Start small • Find allies and implement an example • Don’t wait for the perfect dataset • Plan for chaos • But be ambitious in the long-term!
  • 140. Each source has its own: • metadata • schema • volatility • level of accuracy and currency • messes to clean up
  • 141. A dynamic mix of... • noisy data • shifting standards • unexpected restrictions • adapting to community requests • addressing data provider concerns • ambiguities of project 'ownership'
  • 142. Less about architecture than improvisation...
  • 143. Metadata Flexibility Let early adopters set the standards
  • 144. NoSQL
  • 148. “There is always schema somewhere.”
  • 149. “There is always schema somewhere.” If it’s not in your software, you’re forcing your audience to build it in their heads.
  • 150. Delay Schema Decisions Push them up to presentation/client layer
  • 151. But what about MVC?
  • 152. But what about MVC? My model is in my view?!
  • 153. More nimble than relational database Especially during development
  • 154. YKmMV
  • 156. Heritage Trees { "address": "2403 WI/ SW JEFFERSON ST", "circumfere": "12.300000000000001", "common_nam": "Deodar cedar", "diameter": "47", "geometry": { "coordinates": [ -122.70463884770101, 45.521710633334202 ], "type": "Point" }, "gid": "103", "height": "73", "notes": "between SW Marconi Ave and SW Tichner Dr", "objectid": "103", "owner": "Right Of Way", "scientific": "Cedrus deodara", "spread": "73", "stateid": "1N1E32 100", "status": "Heritage", "treeid": "113", "year": "1996" }
  • 157. Public Art { "docs": [{ "addrCity": "", "addrState": " ", "addrStreet": "", "addrZip": "", "artists": "Dan Corson", "date": "2009", "dateModified": "2011-04-18 00:00:00", "description": "Mercurial Sky is an ever-changing array of light played on LED tubes integrated into the Director Park Canopy. The digital video only emits from the lighted bars, and provides a sense of movement through an abstract tapestry of light and color. If you stand farther away, or look in nearby reflections, the images are compressed and give a clearer view of the video. nn"I filmed images and patterns of natural phenomena like waves, clouds, fire, earthworms, and jellyfish to bring the movement and randomness of nature into this mostly hardscaped park."", "detailPageURL": "http://racc.org/public-art/search/?recid=2909.101", "dimensions": "duration: 1:23:10", "discipline": "video", "fundingSource": "Percent for Art - City of Portland", "thumbnailURL": "http://data.racc.org/pa_inventory/1844/1844thumb.jpg", "location": "Director Park Canopy", "mappableDiscipline": "other", "medium": "Digital video on DVD", "recordID": "2909", "title": "Mercurial Sky", "dataSource": "RACC", "collection": "None", "photoCredit": "RACC", "artCopyright": "TBD", "locationVerified": "YES", "geometry": { "coordinates": [ -122.681124, 45.518759 ], "type": "Point" } }
  • 158. Public Art { "docs": [{ "addrCity": "", "addrState": " ", "addrStreet": "", "addrZip": "", "artists": "Dan Corson", "date": "2009", "dateModified": "2011-04-18 00:00:00", "description": "Mercurial Sky is an ever-changing array of light played on LED tubes integrated into the Director Park Canopy. The digital video only emits from the lighted bars, and provides a sense of movement through an abstract tapestry of light and color. If you stand farther away, or look in nearby reflections, the images are compressed and give a clearer view of the video. nn"I filmed images and patterns of natural phenomena like waves, clouds, fire, earthworms, and jellyfish to bring the movement and randomness of nature into this mostly hardscaped park."", "detailPageURL": "http://racc.org/public-art/search/?recid=2909.101", "dimensions": "duration: 1:23:10", "discipline": "video", "fundingSource": "Percent for Art - City of Portland", "thumbnailURL": "http://data.racc.org/pa_inventory/1844/1844thumb.jpg", "location": "Director Park Canopy", "mappableDiscipline": "other", "medium": "Digital video on DVD", "recordID": "2909", "title": "Mercurial Sky", "dataSource": "RACC", "collection": "None", "photoCredit": "RACC", "artCopyright": "TBD", "locationVerified": "YES", "geometry": { "coordinates": [ -122.681124, 45.518759 ], "type": "Point" } }
  • 159. Public Art { "docs": [{ "addrCity": "", "addrState": " ", "addrStreet": "", "addrZip": "", "artists": "Dan Corson", "date": "2009", "dateModified": "2011-04-18 00:00:00", "description": "Mercurial Sky is an ever-changing array of light played on LED tubes integrated into the Director Park Canopy. The digital video only emits from the lighted bars, and provides a sense of movement through an abstract tapestry of light and color. If you stand farther away, or look in nearby reflections, the images are compressed and give a clearer view of the video. nn"I filmed images and patterns of natural phenomena like waves, clouds, fire, earthworms, and jellyfish to bring the movement and randomness of nature into this mostly hardscaped park."", "detailPageURL": "http://racc.org/public-art/search/?recid=2909.101", "dimensions": "duration: 1:23:10", "discipline": "video", "fundingSource": "Percent for Art - City of Portland", "thumbnailURL": "http://data.racc.org/pa_inventory/1844/1844thumb.jpg", "location": "Director Park Canopy", "mappableDiscipline": "other", "medium": "Digital video on DVD", "recordID": "2909", "title": "Mercurial Sky", "dataSource": "RACC", "collection": "None", "photoCredit": "RACC", "artCopyright": "TBD", "locationVerified": "YES", "geometry": { "coordinates": [ -122.681124, 45.518759 ], "type": "Point" } }
  • 160. PDX Trees { "address": "2403 WI/ SW JEFFERSON ST", "circumfere": "12.300000000000001", "common_nam": "Deodar cedar", "diameter": "47", "geometry": { + ? "coordinates": [ -122.70463884770101, 45.521710633334202 ], "type": "Point" }, "gid": "103", "height": "73", "notes": "between Marconi Ave and SW Tichner Dr", "objectid": "103", "owner": "Right Of Way", "scientific": "Cedrus deodara", "spread": "73", "stateid": "1N1E32 100", "status": "Heritage", "treeid": "113", "year": "1996" }
  • 161. PDX Trees { "address": "2403 WI/ SW JEFFERSON ST", "circumfere": "12.300000000000001", "common_nam": "Deodar cedar", "diameter": "47", "geometry": { + "coordinates": [ -122.70463884770101, 45.521710633334202 ], "type": "Point" }, "gid": "103", "height": "73", "notes": "between Marconi...", "objectid": "103", "owner": "Right Of Way", "scientific": "Cedrus deodara", "spread": "73", "stateid": "1N1E32 100", "status": "Heritage", "treeid": "113", "year": "1996" }
  • 162. PDX Trees { "address": "2403 WI/ SW JEFFERSON ST", "circumfere": "12.300000000000001", "common_nam": "Deodar cedar", "diameter": "47", "geometry": { + ?? "coordinates": [ -122.70463884770101, 45.521710633334202 ], "type": "Point" }, "gid": "103", "height": "73", "notes": "between Marconi Ave and SW Tichner Dr", "objectid": "103", "owner": "Right Of Way", "scientific": "Cedrus deodara", "spread": "73", "stateid": "1N1E32 100", "status": "Heritage", "treeid": "113", "year": "1996" }
  • 163. Poetry Posts 1991 SW Mill St Terrace
  • 164. Poetry Posts 1991 SW Mill St Terrace
  • 165. PDX Trees { "address": "2403 WI/ SW JEFFERSON ST", "circumfere": "12.300000000000001", "common_nam": "Deodar cedar", "diameter": "47", "geometry": { + "coordinates": [ -122.70463884770101, 45.521710633334202 ], "type": "Point" }, "gid": "103", "height": "73", "notes": "between Marconi...", "objectid": "103", "owner": "Right Of Way", "scientific": "Cedrus deodara", "spread": "73", "stateid": "1N1E32 100", "status": "Heritage", "treeid": "113", "year": "1996" }
  • 167. Sunny October Day? No one will believe it.
  • 169. In Rarer Weather, too...
  • 170.
  • 171. But there are 283 Trees!
  • 172. But there are 283 Trees! I need help.
  • 173.
  • 175. Will anyone send photos?
  • 179. (and I still add some...)
  • 185. What’s Missing or Incorrect? Errors and omissions are an opportunity for participation.
  • 186.
  • 187.
  • 189. Artifact of Geo-Coding Address != Location
  • 190. Capacity Who has the time to manually verify all these locations?
  • 192.
  • 193.
  • 195. I thought this was “open” data?
  • 198. Public Art { "docs": [{ "addrCity": "", "addrState": " ", "addrStreet": "", "addrZip": "", "artists": "Dan Corson", "date": "2009", "dateModified": "2011-04-18 00:00:00", "description": "Mercurial Sky is an ever-changing array of light played on LED tubes integrated into the Director Park Canopy. The digital video only emits from the lighted bars, and provides a sense of movement through an abstract tapestry of light and color. If you stand farther away, or look in nearby reflections, the images are compressed and give a clearer view of the video. nn"I filmed images and patterns of natural phenomena like waves, clouds, fire, earthworms, and jellyfish to bring the movement and randomness of nature into this mostly hardscaped park."", "detailPageURL": "http://racc.org/public-art/search/?recid=2909.101", "dimensions": "duration: 1:23:10", "discipline": "video", "fundingSource": "Percent for Art - City of Portland", "thumbnailURL": "http://data.racc.org/pa_inventory/1844/1844thumb.jpg", "location": "Director Park Canopy", "mappableDiscipline": "other", "medium": "Digital video on DVD", "recordID": "2909", "title": "Mercurial Sky", "dataSource": "RACC", "collection": "None", "photoCredit": "RACC", "artCopyright": "TBD", "locationVerified": "YES", "geometry": { "coordinates": [ -122.681124, 45.518759 ], "type": "Point" } }
  • 199. Public Art { "docs": [{ "addrCity": "", "addrState": " ", "addrStreet": "", "addrZip": "", "artists": "Dan Corson", "date": "2009", "dateModified": "2011-04-18 00:00:00", "description": "Mercurial Sky is an ever-changing array of light played on LED tubes integrated into the Director Park Canopy. The digital video only emits from the lighted bars, and provides a sense of movement through an abstract tapestry of light and color. If you stand farther away, or look in nearby reflections, the images are compressed and give a clearer view of the video. nn"I filmed images and patterns of natural phenomena like waves, clouds, fire, earthworms, and jellyfish to bring the movement and randomness of nature into this mostly hardscaped park."", "detailPageURL": "http://racc.org/public-art/search/?recid=2909.101", "dimensions": "duration: 1:23:10", "discipline": "video", "fundingSource": "Percent for Art - City of Portland", "thumbnailURL": "http://data.racc.org/pa_inventory/1844/1844thumb.jpg", "location": "Director Park Canopy", "mappableDiscipline": "other", "medium": "Digital video on DVD", "recordID": "2909", "title": "Mercurial Sky", "dataSource": "RACC", "collection": "None", "photoCredit": "RACC", "artCopyright": "TBD", "locationVerified": "YES", "geometry": { "coordinates": [ -122.681124, 45.518759 ], "type": "Point" } }
  • 200. Linked Media Who took that photo? Who owns it? Who can license it?
  • 202. Who do you need?
  • 203. Standard Roles • Project Management • Software Engineering • Graphic Design • Testing • Information Architecture • Maintenance • Metadata Design • Coordination • Data Entry/Import • Marketing • UI Design • Communication
  • 204. Roles That Deserve Special Attention
  • 206. Fountains Street RACC.org Murals Art? Parks & Rec Available Port of Data TriMet Portland Performance Temporary Installations Beaverton? Hillsboro? Metro Clark Convention County? Center Community? Public Art
  • 207. Data Scrubbing Probably Need Tech Skills
  • 208. Research & Verification Not necessarily a technical person
  • 211. Advocacy Why are we doing this? Why should you release this data?
  • 213. PDX Trees ‘Mostly’ a solo project
  • 215. PDX Trees Collaborators • Urban Forestry Commission • City Council • City of Portland’s Bureau of Technology Services • Max Ogden’s de-shapefile-ification • Everyone who has contributed photos
  • 216. Public Art PDX 1.0 Essential Collaborators • Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) • The Office of Mayor Sam Adams • City of Portland’s Bureau of Technology Services • City Attorney (and pro bono attorneys) • Former Mayor Bud Clark! (see video)
  • 217. Public Art PDX 1.0 Collaborators Provided: • Graphic Design • Communication • Metadata Design • Data Collection • Data Entry/Import • Data Scrubbing • Testing • Authority • Marketing • Advocacy
  • 218. Beyond 1.x: Community Collection Different Phases, Different Roles, New Participants
  • 219. Expanding Roles for the Community Collection • Metadata Design • Curation • Data Entry/Import • Photography • Research and Verification • Communication
  • 222.
  • 223. “While the map makes class and race differences all the more evident, it's great to learn about the few murals where I live and I look forward to using this app on a walking tour downtown soon.” – Marshal Kirkpatrick, Read Write Web
  • 224.
  • 225.
  • 226. Why?
  • 232. A Tool for Advocacy?
  • 233. The Paces of Change
  • 234. – From How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They're Built by Stewart Brand, p13 Scan source: CC by-nc-sa via http://www.flickr.com/photos/andrewcoulterenright/15663020/
  • 235. The Pace of Each Layer http://www.ecobuildtrends.com/2011/02/designing-in-layers.html
  • 236. "A design imperative emerges: An adaptive building has to allow slippage between the differently-paced systems of Site, Structure, Skin, Services, Space plan, and Stuff. Otherwise the slow systems block the flow of the quick ones, and the quick ones tear up the slow ones with their constant change. Embedding the systems together may look efficient at first, but over time it is the opposite and destructive as well." – From How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They're Built by Stewart Brand, p20
  • 239. “Can I get that icon in cornflower blue?”
  • 241. Presentation Layers are Ephemeral They come and go, like fashion
  • 243. What costumes will your data wear in five years’ time?
  • 245. Data is the Substrate
  • 246. Data is the Site and Structure
  • 248. A particular app is a short-term goal
  • 250. A Shearing Layers Model of Open Data?
  • 251. Hmm...
  • 253. De-couple Data and Presentation
  • 254. A Design Philosophy: Data is the generative source of the entire ecosystem.
  • 255. Project Websites • http://poetrybox.info • http://pdxtrees.org • http://publicartpdx.com
  • 256. Thank You • http://mattblair.net • Email: elsewisemedia@gmail.com • Blog: http://elsewisestrategic.com • github.com/mattblair

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