Mapping the City

Within the mapping the city project we are discovering new ways of collecting and analysing data from within the city. We have developed several methods to collect this data via social media analyses, or participatory data practices.


Measuring Amsterdam events 

How can citizens create relevant data and become empowered? The citizen data lab is focussing with the project of Measuring Amsterdam events on: how we can collect relevant data with users and apps within a data experiment. The participants collaborated in a data experiment and performed measurements and observations. The data that is produced are being visualized by a real-time visualization. The measurements can be submitted with an web-app which can be used with anyone with a smartphone or tablet. The data is stored on our database and is been submitted in a structured open data format. By doing this, we can easily visualize this data. We tested this method during two events. During the first event on, students, professionals and citizens performed measurements and observations on the Knowledge Mile. The data was directly visualized in so that a city dashboard was created. During this event 1050 measurements were performed during a single afternoon.  During the second event we looked at the heath within the neighborhood. In collaboration with the domain of Sports and Nutrition of the University of Applied Science of Amsterdam we defined several variables that can indicate the health state of an neighborhood. These variables were measured during the health festival in the Slotermeer neighborhood of Amsterdam we have used the method to collect 217 measurements.

On another occasion we used our method during the workshop at the Design & The City conference. The workshop took place at the temporarily built and self-sufficient society FabCity campus, which is located at the head of Amsterdam’s Java Island.  The idea behind the workshop called Creating Grassroots Initiative Blueprints by Mapping the City was to create blueprints that should help instigate change in a neighborhood through responding to the right needs in grassroots initiatives. This would be done by using a smartphone app which participants of the workshop could use to map their neighborhood. With the collected data blueprints could be made. Participants consisted of an interesting international mix of storytellers, officials from the government, a local initiator and designers. At the start of the workshop they where given a keynote about participatory mapping and were given some local knowledge of the neighborhood by one of its residents. Thereafter the participants head out in groups into the neighbourhood of Java Island, each equipped with a smartphone and the Measuring Amsterdam app. With the app they collected data by interviewing residents, taking pictures and writing notes about their surroundings. Upon returning to the FabCity campus they where met by a lunch. After the lunch the workshop was continued with a co-creation sessions. Each group of participants analyzed the collected data to decide which idea was the most interesting or relevant to improve the neighbourhood. Together with other open data and social media they used this to fill a canvas and create a story.

The paper Measuring Amsterdam: A participatory mapping tool for citizen empowerment can be downloaded via this link