June 27, 2012

IronSheep 2012: Team LAMB R0A5T and the Sheep Evacuation Map

We wanted to pass along a much-belated, final map from the IronSheep event in February from Team LAMB R0A5T, who produced a really cool evacuation map for the roaming herds of sheep in Central Park in the event of the zombie apocalypse (and many other threats to the NYC sheep population).

Team LAMB R0A5T report
by Ryan Burns, Alan McConchie, Adrienne Ottenberg, Jochen Wendel

When we heard there would be extra points for including sheep in our maps, we knew we had to do it. But how? Where were the sheep in our data? After spending far too much time brainstorming possibilities for a map of the whole US, we decide to focus on New York City because there were so many more datasets available.

In our Exploratory Data Analysis phase we searched the Flickr and Twitter data looking for mentions of "sheep". We didn't find any interesting patterns in the data, other than clusters of points around the Sheep Meadow in Central Park, and Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn. We knew that somewhere between these two locations we would find our inspiration.

Thinking about Sheep Meadow in Central Park, we recalled a story in the news recently about legislators from Alaska and Wyoming proposed reintroducing wolves into Central Park. Since wolves are the natural enemy of sheep, perhaps our fluffy, hooved friends (if there actually are any in Sheep Meadow) would need to be relocated if this were to happen. Perhaps Sheepshead Bay could be their new home?

We were also incredibly tempted (who wouldn't be?) by some of the more peculiar datasets available, namely the zombies, rednecks, and alien sightings. We posited, for some reason, these three groups are all threats to our precious sheep. Thus, we had our assignment: determine the best route to evacuate sheep from Sheep Meadow to Sheepshead Bay, avoiding any concentrations of aliens, rednecks, and zombies. The result is the map you now see below.  I much nicer pdf version of the map (complete with interesting background information on sheep) is available here.

And there is this ugly interactive version as we left it after IronSheep.

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