Home > Uncategorized > Notes from @OpenLexington hack session #opendata #maps

Notes from @OpenLexington hack session #opendata #maps

Today I had the opportunity to join Chase, Todd, David, and Ben from OpenLexington to participate in the International Open Data Hackathon. While Todd and David worked on backend stuff to host OpenLexington's own mapserver, Ben worked on GIS sources, and Chase wrote a JavaScript web frontend, I began looking for ways to transform the downtown Lexington map data that we have aggregated for AwesomeTouch into a more standard data format so anyone can use it on more common platforms. The hope is that once we build the method for parsing the downtown data, we can seek out the full Lexington data set and make it easily available. I've been looking the the following:

KML seems to be the easiest, and most natural option. Our XML data is currently formatted like this:

    <location>
        <name>Ann Tower Gallery</name>
        <id>1</id>
        <coords>
            <x>2067.948</x>
            <y>1453.34</y>
        </coords>
        <category>Attraction</category>
        <address>141 E MAIN ST</address>
    </location>

Converted to KML, it looks like this: 

<Placemark>
<name>Ann Tower Gallery</name>
<Point>
<coordinates>38.04572,-84.4962,0</coordinates>
</Point>
<address>141 E MAIN ST&lt;br/&gt;Lexington, KY 40507</address>
<Snippet maxLines="2"><![CDATA[141 E MAIN ST, Lexington, KY 40507<br/>(859) 425-1188]]></Snippet>
<ExtendedData>
<Data name="category">
<value>Attraction</value>
</Data>
</ExtendedData>
</Placemark>

Another challenge is that the coordinate references must be changed from our proprietary image map back to normal geospatial coordinates. Definitely a more sustainable direction, as AwesomeMap transitions away from managing data, and toward serving as a portal to other people's more complete data. This stays with our original goal in creating the Lexington multitouch map, which was to provide a complete listing of the cool (and, yes, even the uncool) places to hang out in downtown, without requiring business owners to pay to opt in.

Today also provided the chance to check out some useful data sources (in addition to those already on the OpenLex Wiki):

Factual – Check out the table of over 37k US restaurants
PDX API – I'm jealous of their Bike Rack locations map (this is on the BikeKY to-do list)
Fayette County PVA – I looked up my house, discovered the owner is indeed my landlord, then plotted it on the LFUCG web GIS system (UI is way outdated, but data is there) 
Floating Sheep – curated by some local geographers exploring the limits of geotagged user-generated content

Finally, here's a little geo-related experiment I started last night: http://nicksuch.com/nick/fbplaces.php

Keep hacking!
-Nick

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