Data Visualization Project "On Broadway" by GC's Lev Manovich Reimagines New York City by Using Big Data
Participating GC doctoral students represent an interdisciplinary approach from anthropology, art history, economics and computational linguistics
NEW YORK, March 2, 2015 — A new interactive urban data visualization by the international team directed by Lev Manovich, a professor of Computer Science at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, reimagines New York City by focusing on one of its most iconic streets: Broadway. The project is on display at The New York Public Library's exhibition The Public Eye: 175 Years of Sharing Photography, until January 2016, and is also available online (http://on-broadway.nyc).
"On Broadway" visualizes life in the 21st century city through a compilation of images and data collected along the 13 miles of Broadway that span Manhattan: 660,000 Instagram photos shared during six months in 2014, Twitter posts with images, over 8 million Foursquare check-ins since 2009, Google Street View images, 22 million taxi pickups and drop-offs in 2013, and economic indicators from the U.S. Census Bureau (2013). The result is a new type of city view, created from the activities and media shared by hundreds of thousands of people.
"Businesses, government agencies, and non-profits alike collect massive data about cities and the people who inhabit them," said Lev Manovich. "This information is used in many ways invisible to us, while at the same time, many cities make available some of their datasets and sponsor hackathons to encourage creation of useful apps using this data.
"Those of us who study and harness these new technologies want to empower citizens to take back 'big data.' We are taking a unique approach to this goal. Using the 'On Broadway' interactive interface, people can navigate their city using tens of millions of data points and social media images they have shared."
Lev Manovich, who was recently named one of the year's most influential people in 2014 by The Verge, is an artist and scholar whose projects such as The Exceptional & The Everyday: 144 Hours in Kiev, Selfiecity, and Phototrails: Instagram Cities have explored patterns in vast aggregations of images shared on social media.
The project is being carried out by an international team. Its key members are artists, visualization designers, and programmers: Lev Manovich, Daniel Goddemeyer, Moritz Stefaner, and Dominikus Baur. This team previously collaborated on the well-known Selfiecity project that analyzed thousands of Instagram selfies photos from six global cities. Other participants include the Software Studies Initiative researchers Mehrdad Yazdani, Jay Chow, and Nadav Hochman; Brynn Shepherd and Leah Meisterlin; and Graduate Center doctoral students Agustin Indaco (Economics), Michelle Morales (Computational Linguistics), Emanuel Moss (Anthropology), and Alise Tifentale (Art History).
Manovich and his team are analyzing the assembled data and plan to publish their results in several forthcoming reports and scholarly articles.
"Having students from across the GC participate in work exploring humanistic and social datasets, learn data analysis and visualization methods, and experiment with new ways of disseminating research in was exactly what I was hoping for in joining the GC," said Manovich. "It is very satisfying to see this unfolding."
For interviews with Lev Manovich or Graduate Center students, please contact Tanya Domi, firstname.lastname@example.org, 212-817-7283.
About the Graduate Center
The Graduate Center (GC) is the principal doctorate-granting institution of the City University of New York. Offering more than 30 doctoral degrees and fostering globally significant research in a wide variety of centers and institutes, the GC affords rigorous academic training in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences. It is home to a core faculty of approximately 140 teachers and mentors, along with 1700 faculty from across the CUNY colleges and New York City's cultural, academic and scientific institutions. Through its public programs, the Graduate Center enhances the City's intellectual and cultural life.