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Monday, March 2, 2009

NolaCycle Bike Map Project

New Orleans, and its residents, are working to make the city a better place post-Katrina. One of those efforts is the creation of a "high-quality cycling map of New Orleans" that has engaged the community in a way that is truly special.


Lauren Sullivan, a soon to be School of Planning graduate, has been working closely members of the community, fellow bicyclists and Planners from the New Orleans area and started the whole project. Much work has already been completed and before the end of this year free maps will be available in print and online to help cyclists navigate New Orleans.


The final maps will include information about pavement quality, car travel speeds, lane widths, and other special caution areas for cyclists. This comprehensive data collection process was made possible through the help of volunteers that primarily participated in mapping events that made the whole process more of a social gathering. Volunteers also participated in the innovative NolaCycle DIY mapping (think wiki-style involvement in the real world) - see video below for more details.


The grassroots project has already garnered national attention and is currently in the process of applying for grants to help fund the remaining work. At this stage the group could use your help in receiving a $500 micro-credit loan through New Orleans' Crescent City Farmers Market. The Farmers Market has opened the process up to voting, and you can help the NolaCycle cause by voting for the project.


The process is fascinating as it employs an innovative way to gather and engage community support. In the end, the community will have complete ownership, of the project, and will have also poured in tons of hours to help make it reality. This engagement organizes a group of people to create a new community asset for no cost at all to the taxpayers of New Orleans. For more on the project check out this brief video from The Times-Picayune.




UPDATE: NolaCycle was one of three winners of the $500 micro-credit loan

9 comments:

Lauren Rae Sullivan said...

Actually, Randy, most data collection is through mapping events and not the DIY maps. Only a small handful of people have done the DIY map method. The mapping events are a lot more fun because a lot of people come out and its more of a social event.

Randy Simes said...

Thanks for clarifying. I'll reword that so it more accurately describes reality.

Quim said...

Kinda interesting from a social standpoint. As far as printing up such a thing, I would think the constant repaving of roads would require reprints on a fairly frequent schedule.
In Cincinnati, a good map of alternate roads parallel to narrow busy roads would be nice.
A 2d type bike map would be of greater use. One view looking down on the route and another looking at the grades/topography.
That is, one view down a Y axis and a corresponding one along a X/Z axis ?

Anonymous said...

Speaking of bike trails and community effort, several of the Cincinnati's and Northern Kentucky's parks are opening their doors to volunteers to make more mountain bike trails. The end goal being to increase community awareness, safety, and add an increased layer of recreating to the greater Cincinnati Area. Not to mention the youth volunteer activities that have already taken place. The last update I heard was that Cincinnati's own Laura Baverman (Cincinnati Enquirer Reporter Extraordinaire) was spearheading the grant submissions. Move over roadbikers...

Lauren Rae Sullivan said...

Luckily for us, the repaving projects are mostly getting planned out and started before we're planning on doing the printing. This should make it a lot easier for us. At least with the online digital map, it'll be easy to make corrections.

The topo map idea for Cincy is a pretty cool. Have to say I don't miss those hills...

Cedrock said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cedrock said...

Excellent idea...
Why not begin one on google earth? Here's an early attempt at such a project at the Mercantile Library:
http://cincinnatimercantile.wordpress.com/2008/05/13/literary-circumnavigation-by-velocipede/

Our goal is to create google maps so terrifyingly accurate that, with street view, you won't have to get on your bike at all.

alli said...

"I would think the constant repaving of roads would require reprints on a fairly frequent schedule."


Heh. You've never been to New Orleans, have you? Bar none, the worst roads in the country. Even their repair jobs end up degrading the road quality. After Katrina, there were potholes that fit refrigerators inside.

Part of the bike map appeal is that eventually you figure out some crazy roundabout way to stay on the smoothest streets en route to your destination. The map would be a huge help in route planning.

Anonymous said...

E-maps in GPS (similar to those in modern cars) placed on bikes are the answer to the need to constantly reprint maps - also easier to read and easier to set up the requested 2-D mapping system. Real time updates are easy and relatively cheap.

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