That’s right folks, it happened - an OpenStreetMap vandal made it to prime time:

About three weeks ago, some roblox-loving, likely-gamergater mini-nazi decided to re-label New York City in OSM (along with a bunch of other landmarks). It was almost immediately caught and reverted by community members, but it somehow slipped through the Mapbox review process and made it into production today long enough for some users to notice it (though it’s since been fixed).

As with any scandalous digital f***up, there’s going to be a certain amount of ink spilled over this incident. Mapbox CEO Eric Gunderson called it…


Many an earnest cartographer/journalist/opinion-holder is currently debating — with varying degrees of condescension — the utility of the @nytimes’ latest map piece:

While some arguments are specious (specifically, I’m not sure what species of monster you have to be to fail to enjoy a good birds-eye perspective), and others are just petty, the most valid argument wrangles with the nature of our Republic, and how best to convey that Acres don’t vote.

Obviously, acres don’t vote, people do. And the proportions between the two are hardly linear in our basket-case vastness of a country. …


“Yup, take the Pendoil bridge just past Sad Cahue Village, and you’ll be up ta’ Ponkey before ya know it!”

Y’all, we’ve entered a computing epoch when AI is available to us at nearly the level of commodity entertainment. Take this experiment in generative British placenames by Dan Hon; his workflow is 7 goddamn steps to use technology only the likes of Alan Turing could have dreamed up, until a few years ago.

Dan used a multi-layer recurrent neural net to come up with imaginary locales like “Buchraston-on-Ter-Sey”, so I thought I give it a shot and see what a complex algorithm could do with a state that includes “Ira”, “Lympus”, and “Satan’s Kingdom” IRL. …


To take my mind off certain things, I’ve been experimenting with a novel style of cartography: cubism.

I arrived here on a wave of hype via an app called Prisma — a nifty take on the “filter-and-share” photo paradigm; it applies a touch of machine learning to redraw your image in an array of artistic styles. You’ve definitely seen the results in the wild, sometimes stunning, sometimes godawful, usually determined by the quality of the source image.

After fiddling with the app for a few weeks and finding its limitations, on a whim I tried piping a satellite image…


HRC campaign events and volunteer opportunities around Oakland, CA

Everything happens somewhere. In the home stretch of this epic presidential campaign season, location awareness can impact the razor-thin vote margins we expect to see in battleground states.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign has an excellent, centralized database of rallies, phone banks and canvassing efforts, all of which need volunteers. In order to lower the bar to participation as much as possible, the digital volunteers of DevProgress constructed an application on top of the campaign events database -it shows events near you.

We built it with two user groups in mind:

1. Hillary supporters with the urge to contribute

These folks are galvanized by the historic stakes of the election…


Bernie Sanders’ hometown of Burlington, VT is tiny: just 200k people in the metro area. Barcelona, on the other hand, clocks in at 4.7 million. These are wildly-different scales (different everything, really), but when one of my legislators brought up Barcelona’s planned superblocks, I couldn’t help but imagine the radical livability experiment playing out in Burlington.

Superblocks, in a nutshell, are a rearrangement of transportation in a gridded urban area. …


Lake Baringo, Kenya — Image by Digital Globe, 2014

On a plain in western Kenya, mesquite trees flourish where a river spills out of the mountains. Introduced from North America, mesquite has been used worldwide for rapid re-afforestation. It sinks deep roots, quickly. It fixes nitrogen and sequesters carbon.

It’s visible from space.

In the global fight against deforestation, Earth-observing satellites have spent decades whirling around the planet, confirming successful conservation projects and sounding seemingly-endless new alarms on wildcat miners and on seasonal slash and burn. And the eyes in the sky are about to gain undreamed-of acuity; hundreds of instruments — streaming trillions of pixels dozens of times…


Howdy folks.

Sanderista here.

I have some thoughts.

@HillaryClinton is a remarkable American.

She has experience at all levels of government establishing broadly-liberal policies, and had to fight for every inch.

I like that. I will vote for her in the general if she wins the primary.

I prefer @BernieSanders, because — as I’ve had the privilege of being represented by him since I was a kid — I’ve seen his prescience, his relentlessness and his progress. He has fought for me. …


I have trouble getting together with friends these days. I’m not alone in this — distance is a surprising obstacle to maintaining relationships in the landscape of modern America. Can a hack-of-an-app help?

Over Thanksgiving I was traveling with my family and found out that a friend — one I don’t often see — would be nearby. As often happens in these situations, I mentally considered “what semi-decent bar is about halfway between us?” …


In which I find a parallel universe in my own backyard

Upon the occasion of Halloween, and the need to optimize, I took a look at NextDoor for the first time. They apparently had some sort of dope candy-targeting map for every neighborhood, and since that’s my catnip I had to check it out. Step 1: sign up, because the candymap is actually just a big inbound marketing trap:

Where I live, according to NextDoor

Eastwood. Awesome. Never heard of it.

You see this is Burlington, Vermont — where a NextDoor precursor/competitor called Front Porch Forum has been merrily providing me with neighborhood gossip and news for a damn long time. …

Bill Morris

maps, crops, landscapes and geographic consciousness. wrangles data for faraday inc.

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