January 11, 2012

Announcing "Iron Sheep": Map and Hack Day, February 26th @ AAG

Announcing "Iron Sheep"

Pack up your laptop, grab your data and head to New York for the first annual "lightning mapping of user generated information" event. Dubbed Iron Sheep (at least until someone objects) the event seeks to mimic the format of the “Iron Chef” television series. This workshop challenges participants (grouped into teams with members from diverse backgrounds and skill sets) to produce meaningful analysis and fun, evocative mash-ups from the same sets of user-generated, geo-coded data within a four hour time frame. The goal is to provide a semi-structured environment where participants can socialize and work in a fun yet socially meaningful project. Participants will be drawn from academic, industry and artistic communities from around the world.

Teams will be assigned a targeted question (e.g., What is the most “out of shape” location in the U.S.? or How can we visualize the Occupy Wall Street movement? or Where is the most likely place for the zombie apocalypse to start? or Where is the origin and destination of Super PAC money?) and use crowdsourced data to create a new geo-visualization. Teams can also choose their own questions. The exact questions and datasets depends on the participants who join (see below).

When: Sunday February 26th 2012, 5 pm to 9 pm; Happy Hour(s) to follow
(During the Association of American Geographers Meeting in NYC)

A panel discussion of the event will take place at the AAG conference at 8 am on Tuesday (Feb 28th) in Conference Room E, Lower Level, Sheraton Hotel

Where: New York City, exact location to be announced (depending upon number of attendees)

Confirmed Attendees
* Will attend the panel on Tuesday but not the "lighting mapping" event on Sunday

How to attend
This event is open (register here) although the price of entry is that each participants contributes a dataset that is not commonly available (ideally crowdsourced) or one that has been enhanced in a meaningful and useful way. Data that is relatively comprehensive for the U.S. or world would work best, although something focused specifically on New York City would be appropriate as well. The goal is to have enough commonality between datasets that it is possible to do mashups. There will also likely be a "secret sauce" dataset (again borrowing from the Iron Chef idea) that all mappers would be challenged to include.

The organizers will likely be contributing the following data sets:
  • The retail cost of marijuana at the city, county and state level (based on PriceofWeed.com reports);
  • Busted meth labs;
  • Some slice of geo-coded tweets;
Serious or offbeat datasets are both extremely welcome as we are hoping for the serendipity that comes from the new mashing of data – such as the Beer Belly of America. For example, we'd love to end up with a combination of data sets that includes things like:
  • Super-PAC contributions;
  • Flickr photos tagged with the word "cat";
  • Precinct level voting records;
  • VW bug ownerships;
  • Sales of Twinkies and/or iPhones;
  • Foursquare check ins at bars versus grocery stores;
  • Spending on political ads.
  • Grindr.com and/or BarebackRT.com check-ins;
  • OK Cupid dating information


  1. Sounds fantastic! I'll bring the Pop vs Soda dataset to share.

  2. I can't attend, but I would like to donate a dataset of mobile home parks across the US. How can I get that to y'all?

  3. Thanks...you can mail it to zook@uky.edu


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