binary- main_FullThe complexity of an environment As diverse and changing as the city is, the sum of physical and digital interactions produces an enormous amount of data. The increasing availability of tools to generate, capture, store, manage and analyze this data opens up a wide spectrum of possibilities around this big data. The openness of public data (area that includes most of the data of a city that we can think of: public transport, traffic flows, water, waste, use of space, commercial activity, etc.) offers the possibility of transforming them into much more useful information than the mere disordered and purely statistical aggregation. As a result of this context, in which the spread of mobile devices also helps to understand the social value of generating new apps that use this data to offer the user a greater ability to understand and experience the city from their own needs, display projects have been spreading in recent years.

This is one of the areas of work for 2012 and it will be a matter of starting to spin some ideas and move a team in which we can develop some projects. For now, here is a selection of some works that seem suggestive to me as well-tuned developments to visualize urban intensity and functioning, either in video format or as interactive web tools. Of course, the file in which I search is limited and I have chosen only some examples that may seem interesting, so other contributions that you know are welcome:

Traffic accidents in the United States

ITO-Road fatalities USA

An impressive work that compiles all the traffic accidents on the different roads in the United States, differentiating by type of accident (pedestrian, driver, year, etc.) and all on a map that accumulates a huge amount of information for the period 2001- 2009. The same team has prepared another one for the United Kingdom. Massive destruction weapons? A silent tragedy? Of course, the accumulation on the map is impressive.

The long journey of garbage

Trash track

I already talked about this MIT project a while ago. What is worth watching is the video because it explains the concept of the project and the result of putting a monitoring element in some waste and seeing how each of them ends up accumulating an enormous and crazy number of kilometers until its final disposal. For a system as hidden as waste (we throw it away and forget about it), there is a much longer life than we imagine and this project helps to visualize it.

A real-time public bicycle rental system

London Bike Share Map

This map geolocates all the bicycle rental points of the public system launched in London. From the same website, in reality, you can access other systems (Zaragoza, Toronto, Lille, etc.) and for all of them you can view information on the distribution of these points, the level of use of bicycles at a given moment, the progression over time of the use of each collection point and the availability or not of bicycles at each point.

The intense activity of the New York subway

Examining MetroCard usage

What to do with the data from each of the user entries in the extensive network of the New York subway? Can putting so much information in a visual format help overcome that data complexity to make it more understandable? This phenomenal work published by the Wall Street Journal is a good example of how to make useful information from apparently irrelevant individual data: ticket types, stations, hours, etc. All this to understand, among other things, the variation in use as a function of the tariff changes introduced in the price system.

Bikes in use

London Hire Bikes animation< /a>

Another bike. And it is that the implementation by Mayor Boris Johnson of a public bicycle system seems to have gone a long way. The video dynamically shows the flows (i.e. movement) of the bicycles used during a full day. I also mentioned this and other projects in London a while ago.

A building-by-building map of the United States

Mapping America: Every City, Every Block

What can be done with the census data? Something as spectacular as this almost infinite map. Getting to the level of detail of each building in any corner of the country, we can see on a map the distribution of the population by racial origin, by income, by type of family, by type of housing or by education and, playing with this data and crossing them with the territory, understand the dynamics of spatial distribution at a national, regional, urban or neighborhood scale.

Temporary distances to move around the city


MySociety years ago developed this project that perfectly illustrates the usefulness of matching urban data with physical location. The Mapumental tool allows you to visualize the transportation time to reach a certain point from anywhere in the city, thus helping to understand the temporary distance of mobility, much more useful and practical than physical distance.

The changing city. Day and night

Day vs. Night population maps

A simple but visually impressive idea. The population of New York during the day and at night, reflecting the density of the different areas.

Singapore in real time

LIVE Singapore!

Another well-known project from the MIT Seansable City Lab. Using different data sets, different maps have been projected that explain the impact of rain on the level of taxi use in the city, the necessary travel times depending on the changing state of traffic , the heat island effect or the continuous flow of people and merchandise in and out of a city that serves as a hub of the global economy. The videoexplains all this.

Understanding air pollution

In the air

Make visible the invisible dirty air we breathe, nothing less. That is what Nerea Calvillo proposed in a renowned project that through a dynamic model< /a> makes it possible to visualize and map Madrid’s air pollution footprint.