September 20, 2012

Seeking Programmer for Data Visualization Project

Seeking Programmer for Data Visualization Project

The FloatingSheep Collective is seeking a contract programmer for an array of interface design, data handling and visualization tasks to work on the DOLLY (Data On Local Life and You) Project.  The goal of the DOLLY research project is to develop better access to an array of user-generated geodata including our growing databases of geocoded tweets. 

We have developed a scalable back-end database (built on top of existing open source software) that stores, indexes and analyzes a continuous stream of geosocial data on the fly. Since December 2011 this system has processed every geocoded tweet worldwide (~5 million per day) to test robustness and ensure an archive of this otherwise transient data.  We now seek to develop a web based interface to our existing database of 900 million geocoded tweets to allow for data exploration and visualization.  We’re looking for someone with programming ability in javascript and (preferably) ruby, experience with handling big datasets (exposed through ElasticSearch, a RESTful search engine that uses JSON as its data model) and using existing data visualization tools such as D3.  Note: this is a contract position for specific deliverables (which we'll develop in concert with the contractor) rather than an ongoing position.  

If you are interested in working on this project please send a resume and a brief introduction to your experience with building similar interfaces to Matthew Zook (   

In addition to being an academic research project we will also use this data to explore some of the quirkier aspects of life.  In the past we’ve used similar user generated data to create a series of popular maps include “The Price of Weed” (featured in WIRED magazine), “The Beer Bellyof America” (covered by in the New York Times and Economist) and the “Beer vs.Church Tweet Map” (featured in a lot of places).  We also like zombies.

September 05, 2012

When Google Maps Fails

With the start of the new semester we've not been posting as much but this shall change.  We've got some fun maps in the works.  Until then, we wanted to share this fun example of a Google Maps fail. Earlier we post an example of how the University of Kentucky was relabeled as Transylvania University.

Now apparently, Bally's Casino and Resort is inconspicuously tucked behind a Wal-Mart on the edge of Lexington, KY.  Who knew what lurked in the back alleys of a strip mall?  Thanks to Patrick Bigger who brought this to our attention.

Now we know why Google posts the disclaimer that "These directions are for planning purposes only"!!

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