Logging Into Detroit (A Teaser)
LOVELAND is very close to releasing version 1.0 of our map of Detroit, dubbed Living in the Map. Larry’s been hacking on it hard like a drunkard with a broadsword and stitching it up sweetly like a hummingbird after heart surgery (sorry, been drinking coffee). If you’d like to take an early look and let us know what you think, email me at email@example.com and I’ll hit you in the next couple days.
Here’s a real quick taste of what we’ve got running. When you pull up the map you see the entire city broken down either by zip code:
…or cluster (the same clusters being used for the Detroit Works Project):
When you click an area you drill down to see every single land parcel that composes it, along with ownership information which appears instantly on mouse-over. Every zip and cluster has its own profile, basic data, and “wall” ala Facebook. If you comment or like or follow a place, you’ll get updates on it, etc:
The parcels are the backbone of the map on which we’re building more features and visualizations. We want to take it slow and test for different use-cases knowing this badboy can expand in many directions and, proficient though we may be at it, we don’t want to make things messy or overextend ourselves.
The way we’re currently strategizing this (we love strategery) is to roll out very basic city-wide features and data by the end of the week, and then focus on one neighborhood, Corktown, as the place to prototype and test things that will roll out widely once people like them and they work well.
This ties in with Imagination Station’s proposal to develop a community engagement program for Corktown that uses the map as an organizing framework. Planned features include things like reporting problems directly to the city with one click (street lights out, dumping, etc), creating fundraisers (ex: we need to raise $500 to make this lot a garden), and additional layers like neighborhood stories, local projects, businesses, volunteer opportunities, etc.
If you want to read the current About page we’re working on, head below the proverbial fold. We could not be more excited about oh the places this map will go, and I’ve left a bunch of things out here, but whatever, as they say in France: Le under-promise and le over-deliver.
Just one last pic of the parcels crashing on the shores of 8 Mile, how pretty they are:
Welcome down below the fold! It’s where all the cool people hang out. Here’s the About page as she exists so far. Remember, we’re still working on everything, so please exchange your rotten tomatoes for constructive criticism at your local grocer. :-)
“Someday soon you will look into a computer screen and see reality. Some part of your world—the town you live in, the company you work for, your school system, the city hospital—will hang there in a sharp color image, abstract but recognizable, moving subtly in a thousand places.” — David Gelernter, Mirror Worlds
Living in the Map is all about putting Detroit online and making it accessible. Starting with the basic building blocks of land parcels and ownership information, residents now have a free and easy resource for understanding and sharing what specifically is around them.
Curious who owns the most land in the city, or in your neighborhood? Ever wondered if that vacant lot down the street is available? Want to put some pressure on the absentee owner of a blighted building? Want the city to hear your voice, report a problem, share good news, or organize with other people to get something done?
These are things that go through many Detroiters’ minds on a daily basis, and Living in the Map aspires to become the essential city service that can visualize and turn them into action.
It is a tool, a platform, and, importantly, an invitation for residents, city planners, and people around the world to better understand, improve, and intelligently invest their precious time, love, and money in a great American city undergoing massive change. Please see the city’s own Detroit Works Project to underline the need for this.
In the weeks and months ahead we’ll be adding new features, layers, and data to the map. Through our partnership with the Imagination Station we’ll be focusing on Corktown to create a model that can be easily replicated in other neighborhoods across the city.
Living in the Map is developed by Loveland Technologies who started rather small (quite literally) by pioneering tools for micro payments, entertainment fundraising, and social mapping with their Detroit micro real estate project. It turns out that online there’s no difference between an inch and a house, or a microhood and a neighborhood, except scale. Who knew?
We hope you enjoy the service and the adventure of co-developing it with us through your feedback and contributions. Undoubtedly the map will evolve in a series of trials and errors. Please note we can not guarantee the accuracy of any information you find here, and things may break from time to time. As in life, so on the internet. That’s just how she is.
Thank you to all of Loveland’s friends and inchvestors for your support and the opportunity to develop these ideas freely. And thank you to Jeff Sturges from Omnicorp Detroit and to Data Driven Detroit for providing data and encouragement.
If you’d like to help develop the map, financially support the map, or have data that should be visualized on the map, we’re a head full of ears and not enough hands or dollars to do it alone: firstname.lastname@example.org.
“By its nature, the Internet undermined anyone whose status depended on a privileged access to information.” — Michael M. Lewis, Next: The Future Just Happened
Thank you and high fives,
Team Loveland & Friends