Where Williamsburg’s partiers, tourists and Orthodox Jews come and go — in one map

A new map from CARTO is funny and light-hearted, but it also raises other issues.

Using Location Data to Identify Communities in Williamsburg, NY.

Image by CARTO.

In trying to better understand the world around us, mapping startup CARTO just released a pretty nifty map of where different Williamsburgers travel to using open taxi data.

The map’s author, Wenfei Xu, identified five groups making taxi trips in the neighborhood, which were: intra-borough residents, partiers, working class, Orthodox Jews and foreigners with expensive taste.

“On our map, if you toggle for certain groups and times of the day, you can see the emergent behavior of these groups: For instance, the ‘partiers’ take taxis from Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn to Williamsburg, generally pretty late at night, the Orthodox Jews do not travel very far and mostly congregate in South Williamsburg,” Xu writes.

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The map is impressively detailed, and the associated post even gives a history of Williamsburg.

It does raise some issues, though.

Is it good that a mapper can gather so much data on where people come and go, to the point that they are able to determine who is taking the trips?

It’s an issue that’s come up recently as the taxi commission has requested detailed location data from Uber and Lyft, which has not gone over without disagreement. The fear is that someone would be able to sift through the data to find individual people’s comings and goings.

This story is just beginning, but CARTO’s map is worth a look for a number of reasons.

Companies: Carto
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