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How We Made Our Maps

  • Nov 1, 2011 · 6:30 PM

When a story is best told through a visual representation of geography, maps are often the best way of telling that story. So what are some ways to make the maps?

Thanks to The Huffington Post, join Hacks/Hackers NYC at AOL Headquarters on Nov. 1, when Jeff Larson of ProPublica, John Keefe of WNYC and Albert Sun of The Wall Street Journal talk through their mapmaking processes, which range from the simple yet sophisticated to the coder-reliant and custom-built.

You'll hear from:

John Keefe: As hurricane Irene approached, WNYC's Evacuation Zone map quickly became the station's most-trafficked -- and most viral -- news interactive ever, helping New Yorkers quickly determine whether they were in a flood zone. Keefe will show how easy it was to make.

Albert Sun: WSJ Census Map Maker is an experimental project hoping to make census data more useful by letting people draw out arbitrary areas composed of census blocks and getting demographic information about that area. It's been seized upon by communities engaged in local redistricting in Washington D.C. Sun will show a couple different use cases for the tool, some future directions for it and how it was created using GeoDjango and the Google Maps API.

Jeff Larson: ProPublica recently released two interactive maps as part of a story on corporate influence in the redistricting process. Each map is dynamically generated from over two gigabytes of data through a new mapping library ProPublica wrote in-house called simple-tiles. Larson will go over the technology behind the library, the front end tricks used in the maps, and a general theory of when mapping is appropriate.


To join this behind-the-scenes look at mapmaking for news, RSVP today ($10, payable in advance) to attend the Hacks/Hackers NYC meetup — this will help cover food and drinks. If the $10 fee is beyond your budget, please email nyc[at]hackshackers[dot]com and we'll work things out with you.

6:30 p.m. - 7 p.m.: Doors and dinner

7 p.m.: Presentation and Q&A

~8:15 p.m. -  9 p.m.: Networking and socializing

We need your help! To volunteer to help check people in (it's a great way to meet everyone), photograph or blog the presentation, email us at nyc[at]hackshackers[dot]com.

Have an idea for future Hacks/Hackers topics, speakers and events that meet the at the intersection journalism, technology and innovation? Let us know at

We hope to see you Nov. 1!

--Chrys, Jenny & Al
  Co-organizers, Hacks/Hackers NYC

Join or login to comment.

  • Julian D.

    Really interesting meetup and nicely structured, i.e. simple tools first, then more complicated mapping technologies second.

    November 19, 2011

  • Jonathan H.

    I liked how the presentation was set up to demo mapping techniques ranging from simple stuff that non-programmers can use, to more complex methods for the the coding set.

    November 2, 2011

  • Karen C.

    Range of what was covered and the pace of the information exchange was lean and mean -- not a minute wasted.

    November 2, 2011

  • Shaya

    Loved the multilayered approach to mapmaking -- less technical, more technical, etc.

    November 2, 2011

  • Enrique P.

    This meeting was particularly good. It was an excellent showcase of the different outcomes that are possible with different levels of complexity. As always, the event organization was great.

    November 2, 2011

  • Javier de la T.

    Great event for those who could understand it.

    November 2, 2011

  • Larry J.

    I have a ticket that i cant use..if you need one e-mail me [masked]

    November 1, 2011

  • John S

    I am interested in a ticket too?

    November 1, 2011

  • Cinthia R.

    I need a ticket, anyone has any available?

    November 1, 2011

  • Idan

    I'm looking to buy an extra ticket as well if anyone has an extra one available

    October 31, 2011

  • davidg

    I do. Am at [masked]

    October 31, 2011

  • Chelsea S.

    If anyone has an extra ticket or can't make it unexpectedly, will gladly buy it off you -- I know it's too late for the refund.

    October 31, 2011

Your organizer's refund policy for How We Made Our Maps

Refunds are not offered for this Meetup.

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