Urban Foraging Map

Urban Foraging Map

It was figs that got me into urban foraging.

I was an adult before I ever tasted a fresh fig. I didn’t think I liked them before then because the only figs that I had ever tried were in the gross brown centres of Fig Newton cookies. My first actual fresh fig was given to me in Argentina, and it quickly became my favourite fruit.

I assumed that figs were from Argentina, never having come across them fresh anywhere else before then, so I was doubly wowed when I happened across figs growing in the neighbourhood park near my house in Vancouver. My roommate and I hauled our kitchen chairs to the park and harvested a giant bowl of fruit that lasted us a good few days of munching.

Finding figs in the park kicked off my interest in ‘urban edibles’. It also kicked off my roommate’s interest and success at dumpster diving. In the evening she would wait behind the bread place on Granville Island for that day’s bread to be thrown out. From time to time, she would return home with garbage bags full of a variety of gourmet breads to share which we would then slice and freeze.

I’ve recently discovered fallingfruit.org, a crowd source interactive map for urban foragers. It shows the location fruit trees, nut trees, and many other freely pick-able edibles. Its creators have made use of open data, so the map for the City of Vancouver is pretty rich. I’ve now got my eye on a walnut and hazelnut tree for this fall!

I could spend hours exploring the city through this map!

FallenFruit.org also interestingly has a dumpster diving map which would please my old roommate!

Where do Chicagoans Take Bike Share Bikes?

Chicago’s bike share program, Divvy Bikes, recently released their cycling data as part of a contest to compellingly visualize all of the bike trips taken by their users in 2013. Although Gabriel Gaster and Aaron Wolf’s entry didnt win, their web app is pretty cool and fun to play with.

They created an interactive map of Voronoi polygons, each representing a bike share station. When one of these bike station’s polygons is hovered over or clicked on, the map visualizes where bikes from the station were taken in 2013.

The map is made with D3.js, Leaflet, and beautiful Stamen tiles. You can access it here.

Divvy Bike Share Map
(Yet another reminder that I need to get my hands dirty with D3.js!)

Mapping potential oil spills in the Salish Sea

If there were an oil spill in the Salish Sea*, where would the oil go?

That is the question the Raincoast Conservation Foundation and the Georgia Strait Alliance were seeking to answer as part of their Salish Sea Spill Map project. Over the past six months, the project has orchestrated the release of more than 1000 buoyant pieces of wood. The ‘drift cards’ were dropped into the ocean at locations that are at higher risk for oil tanker spills, including near the Second Narrows bridge, Point Grey, and the mouth of the Fraser River. The project works by crowdsourcing. The ‘drift cards’ are bright yellow and have text on them that directs whoever finds a card to a website where they can enter the card ID, location, time, and date where they found the card. You can view the interactive map of results at salishseaspillmap.org.

*The ‘Salish Sea’ is the new name for an area that includes the Juan de Fuca and Georgia straits as well as Puget Sound.

oil spill map

How to get to Strathcona Safely by bike?

I live in the Dickens neighbourhood and recently had a contract that involved me working in an office on East Hastings street.

For three months I took Main Street North to Union by bike, despite it not really feeling safe at all. (But Main Street has ‘sharrows’, so that makes it safer, right?)

Rumour has it the the city of Vancouver is exploring the possibility of building a pedestrian and cycling bridge to overpass the train tracks that run along the False Creek flats. Sounds like a great idea to me!

I set up a Survey Monkey survey to find out how my cycling neighbours are currently getting to Strathcona, and to see if I could find a better way to get to work sans idealistic beautiful future bike bridge. I also included questions about how often respondents took their described route in an attempt to estimate how much traffic each route was getting.

Of the 39 respondents to my survey, 36 (92%) replied that they ride their bike to Strathcona at least once per month. Funnily enough though, when I mapped out all of the supplied starting and destination intersections from the survey responses, it became clear respondents either don’t know where ‘Strathcona’ is situated or more likely that I worded my survey in a confusing way. 15 of 39 respondents (38%) actually started or ended the bicycle trips that they supplied to the survey in Strathcona. These 15 trips shown in the map below. Line thickness is proportional to trip count. Click on a line for details.