Open Boro Map

The Open Boro Map is a concept for a Wikidata/OpenStreetMap-based cultural map serving the Five Boroughs of New York City.

Online MapEdit

Five Boroughs of New York City.

Neither OpenStreetMap nor Wikidata alone are sufficient to truly represent the city, as the first has a primary focus on physical road infrastructure, while the second has a stronger cultural representation but rather weaker geographic coverage.

We need the right balance to connect individual streets and buildings with Wikipedia and related pages. Tools such as Wiki-Atlas, partly developed at NYU, can help to bridge this gap. Platforms like the Open Etymology Map can provide a more comprehensive home for projects like the Queens Name Explorer.

Much hyperlocal content is not suitable for Wikipedia, but we can find homes such as Wikispore for pages on less prominent streets, parks, community gardens and other aspects of the landscape in the manner of a city wiki. Oral knowledge such as that in the Queens Memory Project can also be spatialized in this way.

Mapping PavilionEdit

The type of physical interface that may be used.

The "Mapping Pavilion" would serve as a physical manifestation and welcome center for the project, in the form of a touchscreen interactive kiosk and other elements. Pavilions could be hosted at the city's public libraries, with one per borough serving as a hub for that area's neighborhoods.

The kiosk would show an engaging browseable version of the borough-wide map suited to a hands-on large format display. Thematic and historical layers could be selected by the user, and they could read Wikipedia and related pages about streets, neighborhoods, green areas and notable buildings. In between uses, the kiosk would go into screensaver mode, showcasing various aspects of the map and related wiki content. QR codes displayed at the kiosk could facilitate users contributing using their mobile device.

Alongside the kiosk would perhaps be non-digital elements such as a wall map (with different themes exhibited in rotation), and giveaway boxes for various printed maps, including some drawn from user-generated content. There could also be papers with outline blank maps, and drafting tools for educational and craft purposes.

Libraries hosting a mapping pavilion would also be natural hubs for training workshops, edit-a-thons and map-a-thons, such as potentially at the Brooklyn Public Library Info Commons.

QR codes could also be used at various locations around the borough, in the manner of QRmedia, including at landmarks and with permission possibly even cemetery monuments.