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Boston Data Visualization Message Board › help us launch FRYOMETRICS? -- a new data visualization project

help us launch FRYOMETRICS? -- a new data visualization project

A former member
Post #: 2
Would you be willing to help us (Darren Stevenson, Eric Struminger & Fawaad Ahmad) get our latest data visualization project off the ground? The project is named FRYOMETRICS and was originally birthed out of our computer science class on data visualization at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2012. Our project has multiple goals, including, among others, the critique of several related items: McDonald's restaurants, the inter-connected problems of health/obesity/diabetes/nutrition in the U.S., current fascinations with social measurement and "big data", and a larger critique on mass culture in general. Additionally, if the critique / more serious part is not your cup of tea -- it is also intended to be a somewhat of an ironic and perhaps "fun" art / data / research / visualization project as well. So interpret how you wish! Here is the short of it:

We are collecting location-based french fry 'data', specifically, how many fries you receive in a Small French Fries order at a given McDonalds restaurant (U.S. only at this time). If you would be willing to participate and add a new data point to our U.S. map visualization, we are asking that you complete the following, for which we would be incredibly thankful.

1. Visit any McDonald's Restaurant in the U.S. (must have an internet-equipped smartphone with you)
2. Purchase one Small French Fries (~$1)
3. Count the number of fries you received
4. Using a smartphone, while still at or nearby the McDonald's*, enter the number of fries on the following site:­

*Your upload geolocation determines which McDonald's site your data is added to in the online map visualization. View the current (sparsely populated) visualization using a non-mobile browser:­

Two technical notes:

1. Currently regular­ site does not work properly with Firefox. Works in all other major browsers, best in Chrome or Safari.

2. When you visit­ on a non-mobile regular web browser, you see the home of the FRYOMETRICS visualization, which is now up and running with about 10 entries as of today! However, when you visit this same URL with a mobile browser on your smartphone, it detects you are using a mobile browser and redirects you to the data upload page­ which records your geolocation (lat/long) so that your fry count is attributed to the proper McDonald's restaurant on the map. Participation is completely anonymous and only the french fry count, timestamp, and your geolocation are recorded. Also if you just want to see the distribution and amazing density of McDonald's restaurants across the U.S., visit the website (again using a non-mobile browser) and explore the interactive map. We have mapped all 14,057 McDonald's locations in the U.S. which in itself is a site to see. Turns out there is usually one near you, well unless you live in Montana or North Dakota.

Also, if you resonate with any of this or the critiqued issues mentioned above, and/or just enjoy odd collaborative projects, and/or like to help people out, or at very least enjoy consuming McDonald's french fries, of course please pass on this email to others and/or share the project link­

Thank you for considering helping us with our national project, and, if possible, contributing some fry 'data' to the map / visualization.

Darren Stevenson, with Fawaad Ahmad & Eric Struminger
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