Monday, January 31, 2011

Dover, NH Parking Meter Map

This is another one of my fun Google map projects.
I came across the new map of parking meters (or Kiosks really) from the parking bureau website. This is the map that they give to the public for folks to find the parking meters.(caution pdf)

First off, the city website is a mess, but that is beside the point, at least the information is there. (unlike the city of Plattsburgh site...).

Second, the map is actually oriented North (amazing right!) which is good, but there is no legend included that would tell a viewer the difference between black and red markers. (Actually it turns out the red markers are the recently launched, Jan 18th, and the black were ones already operating during the fall, I decided not to differentiate between them, once I know more of the planned expansion locations I will add them differently. Of course you had to click on the faq to find that, and see the original map with legend(pg2), which had a Western orientation...)

Thirdly, there is very little information on the businesses or other orientating information, other than road names, you are unable to move around and get your bearing if you are not a resident, and that is really the key point.

Now these are actually relatively minor issues compared to some maps I have seen (the ward map, a complete mess until you zoom way in; my version of it can be found Here); the kiosks are close enough together and visible enough that finding one on the ground should not pose a problem though.
The point of the matter is though, that I created the above map using Google (Google Earth, and then uploaded to maps), it took about an hour to do it, including creating the custom marker icon, and now we have a map that is interactive, somebody can search for businesses, or figure out where they are, they can go into streetview and see what the area looks like (meters won't show up though, too recent) they can create trips and better plan for a visit to the city.

The map as the city created it is designed for residents (and even then it may be confusing). That is not a bad thing, but it could have easily been designed for anybody.

The city really needs to get its act in gear and start making use of Google maps and the huge potential that is being missed. The planning department uses Google maps to create maps of locations on their agenda for the next meeting, a very good and useful idea!
I think the city as a whole though can, and must do better!

Communities need to stop thinking like it's 1980, data is all stand-alone, and if somebody wants something they will call or go down to city hall to get it. There are so many more opportunities for the city to really sell its presence and what’s happening; online. These are fairly simple to implement and would go a long way toward providing accessibility to city resources and services.

Simply providing city resource maps through Google would be an enormous step.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Bicycle training, how the Dutch do it: Video from Mark Wagenbuur

Some winter Dutch Envy for you, an older Video from Mark Wagenbuur over in the Netherlands on bicycle training for school children. He has a great deal of wonderful videos on his profile, I highly recommend you check out more from him. David Hembrow also posts latest videos and commentary on topics using the video's at his blog as well (which is where I got this).

David's write up on it is much better, and I highly recommend you take a read of his post before or after watching it.

This is how the Dutch do training for cyclists, focusing on the test before the start of high school or equivalent. Its pretty amazing to see how they do it, and what is required of the students taking the test.

When our driving tests are to "go out around the block and park" and you get your license, I am not sure we could actually ever do anything as rigorous as this anytime soon. I think we need to get our driving tests down to something a bit more challenging before we ever embark on something like this, however integrating traffic into the curriculum from an early age is certainly a very good idea

enjoy! (OMG where are the helmets, they could die, or fall over, or hurt themselves!!! ok I am done now ;) )