Notes from the EcoHack Underground

On November 9th & 10th, I participated in EcoHack NYC. This event helped push Cyclee forward and forge a stronger connection to #bikenyc. The group of people focused on bikes worked on a range of projects, some specific to Cyclee, others not.

Data – I worked with Kim and Rod, two of the people behind bike trains (cycle social, cycle safe). We brainstormed all the different types of data that can be associated with cycling. We tried to dissect these things to discover their common attributes. This schema can guide data storage and sharing. It includes quantifiable and qualitative things: cyclists, bikes, racks, share stations, bike shops, group, potholes, accidents, road quality, lane type, ride purpose, and much more. These data types are often associated with either a place, a path, a person, and or a time.

Hardware – I worked with Zach to set up a raspberry pi ($35 pocket-sized linux computer) with a GPS device. Truthfully, Zachk did all the work. I provided the hardware and a little inspiration.

Mapping & Software – Most importantly, I worked with a handful of people to develop the software needed for the Cyclee platform. Andrew, Caroline, and a few others helped me develop a query to cut through the noise of tweets and data to highlight information relevant to a cyclists regular commute. It’s an important piece to facilitating ad hoc groups around a real-world experience. The query begins with a set of data points (potholes, bike shops, etc) and bike routes. A user searches a start and stop location. The query first finds all rides that pass near both of these points. It then finds all the data points that fall near this collection of routes. In the end a ride can dive into a city’s worth of data and quickly find the information truly relevant to their experience. More information and a demonstration here:

photos by kimdeek7.

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