Canopy is a project that came out of the DataKind event a few weeks ago. The NYC Parks Department brought full dumps of their databases and a handful of questions. Volunteers brought their modeling, data munging, visualizing, and overall hacking skills.
I was a “data ambassador” for one of the groups, which means I got to look at the data in advance to make sure that we can 1) easily open and start working with the data that was provided and 2) actually accomplish what the Parks Department was asking with the information they provided.
Our project was provide a good understanding of what the tree diversity is like across the city, and how it is changing over time. The results are above. An interactive map where you can find all of the tree types in the city, the diversity of each census block (“diversity” being the number of unique species seen), some information about each tree type, and more. It was in a near-complete state in just one full day of work from Christopher Reed, Andrew Hill, Brian Abelson, Bennett Andrews, and myself. Chris did all of the front end work and has been updating the project relentlessly, making it better pretty much every day. Andrew set up the cartography database (CartoDB) which exposes an amazing API for querying the data. Bennett pulled in all of the tree information from Encyclopedia of Live. And Brian and I took the raw data provided by the parks department and transformed it into a workable shape.
This is something that the parks department probably couldn’t have thrown together on its own (especially this quickly), and now they have a tool that they can use and share. Huge thanks to Jake Porway and DataKind for putting events like these together. For more information on DataKind, check out Jake’s talk from DataGotham.