project write up: coffeeshops for the people20 Jul 2016
my good friend, erin garnaas-holmes, and me.
coffeeshops for the people was a resource that would help us figure out which coffeeshop was best to go to work in on any given day based on the needs of that day.
we worked on this project from 2014-2015.
in the coffeeshops of boston.
for better or worse, we are the coffeeshop generation. during grad school we worked in coffeeshops all the time. however, how productive we were was dependent on the amenities of the shop:
- wifi (price and speed)
- availability of outlets
on a regular basis, erin or i would genuinely (and eventually jokingly) say to each other, “i really wish i had a map that told me which coffeeshop nearby had good wifi so i could go work there for a few hours.” the coffeeshop wifi map was intended to answer that question.
there are two parts of the how.
first, the data. erin and i initially collected the data manually and put it into a spreadsheet. eventually, we built a google form. he, his girlfriend rebecca, and i all have used the form to collect data.
second, the map. i was really excited about learning mapbox and github so i built a couple of prototype maps
- this first map was a test of one type of data viz. darkness of the circle was to indicate quality of internet, dotted vs solid circle ring was for whether the internet was free or not.
- the second map was just icon based location markers but i figured out how to get the data to populate onto a sidebar. i think i was following this tutorial [link coming someday], but then my master’s thesis happened and i dropped everything i was doing, heh.
what’s left to do?
- build a dynamic form so a contributor knows how much data they need to collect and add. if the chairs have been counted already, they just need to do an internet speed check.
- an alternative to the form… we had the crazy idea of creating a desktop or phone app that would help automate some of the data collection (like running the internet speed check). however, some of the data would likely always need to be gathered manually (like number of seats and access to outlets), but the app could still support that data gathering.
- make a functioning map that (a) visualizes the data well, (b) connects to the crowdsourced spreadsheet, and © has filters and can bring in multiple data points to create a ranking of shops based on specific metrics of interest to a user. (example of varying need: today, i have a big group of people who need to meet in the morning; i need a coffeeshop with lots of seats and cheap coffee. tomorrow, i will be working solo and don’t actually need good internet, but i’d love to be able to drink coffee and sit outside to write).
- add in more useful metrics: coffee prices, overall food prices, availability of outdoor seating, other things?
- sketches ([links coming some day…])
- notes ([photos coming some day…])