MindRider Bike Map of NYC

The MindRider helmet, originally developed at MIT, tracks brainwaves and provides insight into your mind as you ride a bicycle, working not just as an individual tool, but also at the community level with aims to being a resource for street advocacy.

Toward this end, Arlene Ducao, one of the helmet developers, has created the MindRider Map, which was made by riders who wore the helmet through the bike lanes of Manhattan (see interactive map made with Mapbox below). Wired gives a detailed account of the story and methodologies behind the project here.

This project is at an intersection between neuroscience, mapping and digital crowd-sourced technology, showing the full range of interdisciplinarity available in the approach of mapping.


In addition to Mapbox StudioMapbox also offers TileMill for building interactive maps. They provide a crash course to get you up and running with the documentation used. If you have familiarity with CSS, this will be a natural tool for you, as you look at an editor and at the graphic representation of your map at the same time. This tool was built on a suite of open source libraries including Mapnik, node.js, backbone.js, express and CodeMirror, and you can look at the source code on GitHub.

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OpenStreetMap is an open-source alternative to Google Maps, providing similar information culled from the user base. It has a few layer options and is aesthetically designed. Working with OpenStreetMap to create your own maps requires some more technical abilities than Google Maps does, but you can read up about contributing to the project, and how to work with the available GIS data on OpenStreetMap Wiki. Mapbox provides a short tutorial for using OpenStreetMap, and you can also use PostGIS to work with OpenStreetMap’s available databases.

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Scroll NYC

Scroll NYC is a beautifully designed site that visually explores the changing maps of New York City along a timeline as the viewer scrolls down the page. This is an innovative way to approach history along with the aesthetics of mapmaking in a clean and approachable manner.

This project was created by Mauricio Giraldo Arteaga with maps from the NYPL Map Division and Mapbox.

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Mapbox allows users to pull from a dozen basemap designs ranging from terrain to more creative historical- and comic-themed designs. The Mapbox Studio design tool is open source and you can look at the map and the coding side-by-side so that you can see exactly how each of your coded changes look in real time.

Mapbox is free to use, but if you want a large number of map views, data storage, and custom styles, there are pay-for-use plans available for upgrading.

The Mapbox showcase highlights projects undertaken by organizations ranging from Pinterest to National Geographic to Etsy that rely on the Mapbox framework.

Guides are available to walk users through making a map with Mapbox Editor as well as more detailed guides on how the Mapbox framework operates.