Listen to Eric introduce the project:
CityTracking, a two-year project, to change the way people view, talk about, utilize digital city services, and improve their urban lives, owes its origin to a generous grant from the Knight News Challenge. (See blog post from June 16, 2010). We’re privileged because when we perform projects of this scale, it has mostly been for specific clients. This time the client is us. And we hope to turn what’s great for Stamen into something even greater for cities.
Certainly there’s quite a bit we don’t know – hence the challenge. But what we do know is that CityTracking is intended to be a public, open source project that takes data about cities and lays it open for examining from many angles so it can be optimized for use by city personnel, journalists, and the public (including businesses). Along the way we’ll release server-side code bases, mapping algorithms, managed datasets, APIs and API specs, and new views on data. And finally we’re doing this work in public, in close dialogue with our audiences, so that we know we’re not going down data rabbit holes and doing work that, in the end, will have little value.
It’s this last bit, the public bit, that helps turn the problem into something that can be tackled and keeps it from becoming overwhelming. The question is not: What do we do during the next two years? But rather: What do we do next? For us, the most important thing is to explore what we do publicly and listen to feedback. We do not want to produce “the map that ate the world” – the end all be all project that is going to satisfy the need of every non-profit that wants to map their spending over time.
The project is: Here’s some work, grab the code, the license is cool, don’t worry about it, use it, go ahead and publish your stuff.