On Broadway

The interactive visualization blends social media images and open data from the iconic street.

Broadway isn't just the focal point of American theater. The 13-mile street is also one of New York's key arteries, running the length of Manhattan and into the Bronx, slicing across various neighborhoods with different personalities.

That character comes to digital life in a new interactive visualization developed by the team of Lev Manovich, a computer science professor at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Manovich and company assembled their "On Broadway" collage with images and data collected from the iconic street.

The project was inspired by a 1966 book by artist Edward Ruscha called Every Building on the Sunset Strip, which included a 25-foot accordion insert that unfolded to reveal continuous photography of L.A.'s famed 1.5-mile strip.

Every Building on the Sunset Strip, Edward Ruscha, 1966. (On Broadway)

For the On Broadway project, the team started by plotting coordinates around the street where they would be collecting open source data (such as taxi trips and household income) and images via social media (including Twitter, Instagram, and Foursquare):

Data "spines" around Broadway Street. (On Broadway)

They then stacked the data and images in an online interface that lets people navigate the street by unfolding or contracting the stack and clicking on the images and data points:

Layers of data and images, visualized. (On Broadway)

The project is on display as an interactive touchscreen installation at The New York Public Library until January 2016:

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