CartoCamp #1: Real-time Mapping For Data Journalism

Realtimely Workshop

Late last month, we had the pleasure of hosting an event devoted to real-time data mapping, a common request among our community of cartographers and data journalists. For every election map, crisis tracker, or geo-reporting tool, there is a strong need for resources that support consistent data updates and we’re happy to oblige with sync tables as a service in CartoDB.

This event was a kickoff to CartoCamps, a workshop series we’re launching to provide thematic bootcamps that train these common mapping concerns. Read on to learn more and sign-up for future events!

Real-Time Reporting Today

Long-time partners and avid CartoDB community members at 140Journos joined us for this inaugural event in the series, contributing their real-time data collection usecases to fuel what became a 3-hour chat about options for cool maps that empower citizen reporters. For those unfamiliar with their mission, 140Journos comprises a small outfit of developers, reporters, designers and hackers who leverage the power of social media platforms to build a network of producers, authoring what has been coined as “counter-media” by the Colombia Journalism Review. Freedom of the Press and unbiased citizen expression are tough values to defend in much of the world, and 140Journos does what it can to promote platforms for mobile reporting and beautiful interfaces to index citizen opinion throughout Turkey.

Maps Made for “Counter Media”

Some of 140Journos’ mapping projects focus on geographic representation of their submitted media, tagged to locations but anonymized to protect citizens submitting. Others tackle more thematic issues, like party-level politcal dominance for election districts:

Or this project, inspired by the Guardian-US’s Congressional representation map, that illustrates parlimentary representation in Turkey by factors like gender, party affiliation, age, and education level.

The need to provide compelling, interactive maps illustrating existing governmental representation, coupled with real-time, uncensored media commentary in Turkey, made 140Journos the perfect partners for our workshop. What followed was a discussion of what our Import API, Sync Tables, and existing usecases for weather reporting, election monitoring, traffic mapping among others can do to augment citizen-driven data journalism. From this, we were able to compile a pretty awesome workshop script for common real-time mapping solutions.

Likewise, we felt inspired to work on subsequent ideas for realtime mapping, like this proxy built by @stuartlynn to process EONet NASA data as geojson for easy sync table setup in CartoDB. Or this tutorial that Andy Eschbacher developed on real-time earthquake tracking in Nepal.

Attend a CartoCamp

Moving forward, we’ll be hosting a series of CartoCamps to tackle similar topics with exciting project partners.

Take a look at last week’s CartoCamp - Edu, where we provided materials to educators building their syllabi around mapping projects for the upcoming fall Semester. Stay tuned for CartoCamp announcements via our spiffy new meetup geared toward our communities in education, journalism, urban planning, and environmental cartography! Stop by for our next one, this Friday, August 28th in the New York CartoDB office!

Meantime, happy mapping!

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