Tag Archives: Boston

Screenshot of Global Map of Wind project

October 2018 Data Visualization Display @ O’Neill Library

During Open Access October, the O’Neill Library digital display (by the POP collection) will showcase a selection of data visualizations that use open data about weather, climate, the environment, and of course, baseball! Each source is linked to the original site where you can further explore the associated data, visualization, or literature.

Climate Ready Boston Map Explorer is a mapping tool (Esri ArcGIS) that enables visitors to explore areas of the city that are at risk of flooding and extreme heat due to changes in our climate. It also features social vulnerability layers for demographic information including income, race, disability, age, language, and disease. The underlying open data (hosted in Analyze Boston) is from the Climate Ready Boston initiative that aims to “help Boston plan for the future impacts of climate change.”

MIT Treepedia is an interactive visualization that measures the canopy cover (street-level) in cities around the world. It was created by Carlo Ratti, Ian Seiferling, Xiaojiang Li, Newsha Ghaeli, and Wonyoung So at the Senseable City Laboratory, MIT. This project uses open data and is available on GitHub for anyone to use, so go ahead and visualize the tree cover for a city of your choosing!

Life and Death of Data is a very interesting project that makes us consider data as artifact. It also weaves narrative and interviews from Arboretum staff with data visualization. The project was developed by Yanni Alexander Loukissas in collaboration with Krystelle Denis, metaLAB and Arnold Arboretum. The team explored the scientific and cultural history of the Arboretum’s 142 years through its metadata, documenting changes in accession practices, data management approaches, and institutional development.

The Visual Baseball Project is a social network visualization created by Ken Cherven. Boston is a bit baseball crazy, so this visualization had to make its way into our display. It shows the connections between Red Sox players on team rosters from 1901 to 2017. He uses Gephi and sigma.js software to generate and render the graph and provides multi-part tutorials on his blog for anyone interested in creating a similar visualization or recreating one using the underlying data from this project. Go Sox!

An Interactive Visualization of NYC Street Trees is a neat project that uses data from 2005 and 2015 hosted in the NYC Open Data repository to visualize the variety and quantity of trees along streets in New York City’s boroughs. The concept and design is by Cloudred and programming is by Cristian Zapata.

The Global Map of Wind is a visualization of global weather conditions and was developed by Cameron Beccario. The map data is from Natural Earth and the weather data is updated from several sources that produce weather forecast, ocean surface current estimates, ocean surface temperatures and anomaly, ocean waves, and aurora data. The data sources and project code are available in this GitHub repository, cambecc/earth.

Desegregating Boston Schools Poster

Visualizing racial disparity in Boston, c. 1970

During the spring and summer of this year, I collaborated on an exhibit, Desegregating Boston Schools: Crisis and Community Activism, 1963-1977, with Sarah Melton and Dr. Eric Weiskott. The main exhibit is at the John J. Burns Library, and a smaller complementary exhibit is on view in the Reading Room, Level 3, Thomas P. O’Neill, Jr. Library. Curating this exhibit required doing research in special collections at John J. Burns Library, specifically in the Louise Bonar and Carol Wolfe collection, Citywide Coordinating Council Records, and the Robert F. Drinan, SJ Congressional Papers.

One aspect of this exhibit was to create visualizations and infographics using racial demographic data for the City of Boston, racial distribution of students within the Boston Public Schools, and outcomes of the Boston School Committee election of 1973. The data for these visualizations was drawn from the materials in the Bonar/Wolfe collection, Citywide Coordinating Council Records, 1970 Census, and Analyze Boston.

To complement the materials in the exhibit in the John J. Burns Library, which include a map depicting the total black population in the City of Boston (1970) juxtaposed with the wards won by the only black candidate—Patricia Bonner-Lyons, who ran for the Boston School Committee in 1973—I created these three density maps. The maps were created with tract-level 1970 Census data, which depicts the neighborhoods within the City of Boston as established by the Bureau of the Census. The shading (light to dark) of each neighborhood correlates with the number (low to high) of people according to race, as documented in the 1970 Census. From these visualizations it is easy to see that neighborhoods, including South Boston, West Roxbury, Roslindale, and Jamaica Plain were predominantly white, while the neighborhoods of Roxbury and Dorchester were predominantly black.

Density map of population by racial demographics in City of Boston, ca. 1970.

Density map depicting population according to racial demographics (white, black, and hispanic) in the City of Boston, ca. 1970. (Click on the image to open the interactive map in separate tab)

There are many different GIS platforms and tools available, but for this project I used Tableau Public a freely available software that enables you to create interactive data visualizations (not just maps!). The neighborhoods in these maps are created with a shapefile that I generated from the Neighborhood Change Database 1970-2010. Tableau Public provides the option to connect a spatial file, which will then allow you to render a spatial visualization and identify the specific dimensions (for this map: population by race) that will be shown in an info box upon clicking or hovering over the map.

Screen-shot showing the pop-up box.

Dimensions are visible in the pop-up box.

The full workbook for this visualization can be downloaded from the “City of Boston 1970 (test)” page on my Tableau Public profile page.