Toronto Theft: A Neighbourhood Investigation

Geovis Project Assignment @RyersonGeo, SA8905, Fall 2019

By: Julia DiMartella-Orsi

Introduction:

ESRI’s creation of the Story Map changed the way we could visualize data. Not only did it allow for a broader audience to interact and create their own maps due to its easy to use design, it also contained many new amazing functions, templates, and themes. Users can personalize their story by adding in their own images, text, videos, and map layers by creating their own free ArcGIS Online account. Popular templates include Map Series, Tour, Journal, and Cascade.

Get started making your own Story Map here: http://storymaps-classicqa.arcgis.com/en/app-list/

Creating Your Story Map:

Once you have selected the template you want to use the choice is up to you. By clicking the “+” symbol you can choose to include text, media sources such as a videos, a new title page, or immersive content such as a web map.

ESRI also designed Story Maps to link to outside content and various social media sites such as Flickr and Unsplash. ‘Link to Content’ is also extremely useful as it allows users to add photos and videos found on the internet directly to their story map by copying and pasting their link.

To add interactive web maps into your story map users can link map layers from their ArcGIS Online account. Layers can be created in ArcGIS Online, but also in ArcMap where layers are exported as a zip file and imported onto your ArcGIS Online base map. Map layers can also be found online using the ‘add layer from the web’ or ‘search for layers’ options.  The layers that appear are based on the type of ArcGIS Online account you have created. Enterprise accounts contain additional layers provided by your organization, however ESRI also has free downloadable layers available for users without an organization.

Users also have the option to make their story maps public by clicking the globe icon, or private for their own personal use by clicking the lock icon. To save your story map select the floppy disk icon. Your saved map will appear under ‘My Content’ in your ArcGIS Online account.

My Story and Creating Web Maps:

Over the last few years, theft in Toronto has been increasing at a rapid rate. According to the Toronto Police Service, Toronto experienced a total of 5430 thefts between 2014-2018. However, these are only those that have been reported and documented by police. In order to analyze the distribution of theft across the city, the Toronto Police created a point dataset that summarized when and where each theft took place. Additional datasets were also created for prominent types of theft such as bicycle and auto theft.

To compare the number and types of theft in each Toronto neighbourhood I decided to create a story map using the Cascade template. This created a scrolling narrative that would allow viewers to observe the data in a clear, unique way. The reason why I chose to use a story map was due to the number of layers I wanted to compare, as well as use the ‘swipe tool’ to easily compare each neighbourhood. Therefore, I created a series of choropleth maps based on the 2014-2018 theft/crime data from the Toronto Police Open Data Portal.

The following steps were used to create each web map used in my Story Map:

Step 1: Download the point data and add the layer into ArcMap.

Step 2: Use the ‘spatial join’ analysis tool and select your neighbourhood boundary file as the target layer and the theft point data as the join feature. Make sure to select ‘join one to one’. This will produce a new layer with a ‘count’ field that counts the number of thefts in each neighbourhood – each neighbourhood is given a count.

Step 3: In order to produce accurate results, you must normalize your data. To do so add a new field into your attribute table (same layer with the count field) titled ‘Area’, and right click to select ‘calculate geometry’. Change the property to ‘area’ and choose the units you wish to use. Click ‘ok’ and the results will populate your new field.

Step 5: Export the layer and save it as a compressed zip folder. Import the data into ArcGIS Online by clicking the “Add” tab.

Step 6: Once you import your layer you are given a variety of styles to choose from. Select the one you like best (ex: choropleth) as well as the field you wish to map – in this case select ‘count’. To normalize ‘count’ select the ‘divided by’ dropdown and choose your ‘Area’ field. Change the colour of your map to your preference by clicking ‘symbols’.

Step 7: Save your layer to and select the tags that relate to your topic. The layer will now appear in ‘My Content’ where it can be added to your Story Map.

Step 8: To compare each layer add both layers you wish to compare to your story map by using the “+” symbol. Once you have done so, choose the transition type (ex: horizontal swipe) you want to use by clicking on the arrow below. The transition will take place as the user scrolls through your story map.

My Story Map titled “Toronto Theft: A Neighbourhood Investigation” can be viewed here:

https://arcg.is/uiemr

Actually Snapchat Follows You…

by Lindsay Ginou
Geovis Class Project @RyersonGeo, SA8905, Fall 2017

Introduction

This Story Map is part of a lesson plan developed for Grade 9 Issues in Canadian Geography in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at Ryerson University.

This screen shot is the introduction of Snap Maps and background on Snap Inc.

Story Map is a template for publishing text, interactive maps, and other media as a package. It is provided by ESRI and is only available on ArcGIS Online. You can apply for limited ArcGIS Online account for free, or, if you are apart of a larger organisation that can afford it, a full account at a cost.

This lesson is intended to teach students about how major social media platforms (specifically Snapchat) can geo-code their uploaded photos allowing others to follow the student’s location and learn details about a student’s life that maybe they didn’t indent the viewer to know.

This Story Map

This style of Story Map is called “Short List.” As you can see, it shows places of interest organized into a set of tabs. It would be particularly useful for travel diaries or trip guides. It is very easy to create. Just upload the pictures you want to use and either type in an address that you want them associated with, or click and drag the marker to the appropriate location on the map. A description can be added to every picture. Viewers can either select the picture under the tab they are interested in and its marker will be highlighted, or select the marker and the picture will be highlighted.

What It Looks Like
The first tab is a warm up section providing basic information on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Niantic (Pokemon Go) and it allows the students to make some spacial observations about the locations of these companies headquarters.

This screenshot is of the first tab where students learn about different social media platforms that make use of geo-coding.

The second tab shows a Snapmap-like account for a fake student named, Lily. Using the worksheets provided with the lesson plan, students piece together details about Lily’s life and whereabouts, and reflect on what they are telling people with their own social media accounts.

Locations in Toronto that Lily has Snap-mapped and unintentionally given valuable information about herself.

 

This picture indirectly tells people where Lily lives and where you can find her almost every evening.

Check It Out!

Check out my Story Map here!

Lessons & Questions

However, this blog is missing an important component of this project, the lesson plan. It is really only applicable for teachers, but I will include some of the questions that that students would be required to answer while investigating these maps.

You (and the students) may feel uncomfortable at the idea of asking some of these questions about Lily’s life, but it is be a good opportunity for a teachable moment discussion. Many people hearing about this lesson plan felt it was important, but ‘creepy”. Here we want to encourage students to express their feelings and reflect on the idea that people could be doing the same thing to them through their social media accounts. This type of spatial analysis can be used for unsavory goals and it’s important that this reality be acknowledged.

1. What school does Lily go to?

2. How do you think Lily gets to school each day?

3. What year is she in?

4.What programme is she in?

5. Name two of Lily’s friends. Do they go to same school as her?

6. Where does Lily live?

7. Do you think Lily has a lot of money? Why or why not? Bonus: What bank does      she use?

8. Imagine that after looking at Lily’s Snap Map that you would like to become friends with her. Create a plan for how you would befriend her. Be sure to include where and when you can find her during the week and what you would talk to her about to get her interested in hanging out with you. Be sure to give evidence of why your ideas will work. (8)

9. Do you use Snap Map, or post pictures on any Social Media platform even if it’s not on a map? Discuss what you have learned in this activity about at least 3 drawbacks of posting information about yourself on the internet and how GIS can be used against you. (6)

I hope this post gave you some helpful and interesting ideas. Thanks for reading!

Movies and Television shows filmed in Toronto but based elsewhere…

by Alexander Pardy
Geovis Class Project @RyersonGeo, SA8905, Fall 2017

Data and Data Cleaning:

To obtain my data I used https://moviemaps.org/ and selected Toronto  the website displays a map that shows locations in the Greater Toronto Area  where movies and television shows were filmed. The point locations are overlaid on top of Google Maps imagery.

If you use the inspect element tool in internet explorer, you can find a single line of JavaScript code within the map section of the webpage that contains the latitude and longitude of every single point.

The data is in a similar format to python code. The entire line of JavaScript code was inputted into a Python script.  The python script writes the data into a CSV file that can then easily be opened in Microsoft Excel. Once the file was opened in Excel, Google was used to search for the setting of each and every single movie or television show, using the results of various different websites such as fan websites, IMDB, or Wikipedia. Some locations take place in fictional towns and cities, in this case locations were approximated using best judgement to find a similar location to the setting. All the information was than saved into a CSV file. Python was then used to delete out any duplicates in the CSV file and was used to give a count of each unique location value. This gives the total number of movies and television shows filmed at each different geographical location. The file was than saved out of python back into a CSV file. The latitude and longitude coordinates for each location was than obtained from Google and inputted into the CSV file.  An example is shown below.

Geospatial Work:

The CSV file was inputted into QGIS as a delimited text layer with the coordinate system WGS 84. The points were than symbolized using a graduated class method based on a classified count of the number of movies or television shows filmed in Toronto. A world country administrative shape file was obtained from the Database of Global Administrative Areas (GADM). There was a slight issue with this shapefile,  the shapefile had too much data and every little island on the planet was represented in this shapefile. Since we are working at a global scale the shapefile contained too much detail for the scope of this project.

Using WGS 84 the coordinate system positions the middle of the map at the prime meridian and the equator. Since a majority of the films and television shows are based in North America,  a custom world projection was created. This was accomplished in QGIS by going into Settings, Custom CRS, and selecting World Robinson projection. The parameters of this projection was then changed to change the longitude instead of being the prime meridian at 0 degrees, it was changed to -75 degrees to better center North America in the middle of the map. An issue came up after completing this is that a shapefile cannot be wrapped around a projection in QGIS.


After researching how to fix this, it was found that it can be accomplished by deleting out the area where the wrap around occurs. This can be accomplished by deleting the endpoints of where the occurrence happens. This is done by creating a text file that says:

This text box defines the corners of a polygon we wish to create in QGIS.  A layer  can now be created from the delimited text file, using custom delimiters set to semi colon and well-known text. It creates a polygon on our map, which is a very small polygon that looks like a line. Then by going into Vector, Geoprocessing Tools, Difference and selecting the input layer as the countries layer and the difference layer as the polygon that was created. Once done it gives a new country layer with a very thin part of the map deleted out (this is where the wrap around occurred). Now the map wraps around fine and is not stretched out. There is still a slight problem in Antarctica so it was selected and taken out of the map.

Styling:

The shapefile background was made grey with white hairlines to separate the countries. The count and size of the locations was kept the same. The locations were made 60% transparent. Since there was not a lot of  different cities the  symbols were classified to be in 62 classes, therefore each time the number increased, the size of the point would increase.  The map is now complete. A second map was added in the print composer section to show a zoomed in section of North America. Labels and lines were then added into the map using Illustrator.

Story Map:

I felt that after the map was made a visualization should also be created to help covey the map that was created by being able to tell a story of the different settings of films and television shows that were filmed in Toronto.  I created a ESRI story map that can be found Here .

The Story Map shows 45 points on a world map, these are all based on the setting of television shows and movies that were filmed in the City of Toronto. The points on the map are colour coded. Red point locations had 4-63 movie and television shows set around the points. Blue point locations had 2-3 movie and television shows set around the points. Green point locations had 1 movie or television show set around the point. When you click on a point it brings you to a closer view of the city the point is located in. It also brings up a description that tells you the name of the place you are viewing and the number of movies and television shows whose settings takes place in that location. You also have the option to play a selected movie or television show trailer from YouTube in the story map to give you an idea of what was filmed in Toronto but is conveyed by the media industry to be somewhere else.

Exploring Street Art in Central Toronto – A Story Map

by Daniel LeBlanc
GeoVisualization Project Assignment @RyersonGeo, SA8905, Fall 2017

For my GeoVis project I wanted to do something that focused on the confluence of art and cartography. After some research, I settled on the use of story maps because they are a great way of bringing many different layers of content together and setting them in a geographical context. They allow for the ability to supplement a map with pictures, music, and video in an engaging way that is on the forefront of how people interact with maps and GIS applications. I also knew that I wanted to do something related to the Toronto street art scene, with graffiti being its most prevalent manifestation, because it has always been something that has interested me. I love turning around a corner in the city and being confronted with a colourful mural, or finding a back alley with some amazing hidden art work.

Though there are many story mapping platforms out there now, ESRI offers a great range of templates easily available on their website (you can create a free account and login). It is an engaging type of project, and can be picked up by just about anyone. ESRI’s templates range in style and format, with the type of content you want to present determining the best choice (or choices) for you. I chose to work with the Map Journal format as the main framing tool, and inserted many smaller Cascade stories to provide a smooth viewing experience for the photographs I took.

The Map Journal template revolves around a scrolling sidebar or ‘side panel’ that controls content on the ‘main stage’. Side panel content usually involves text or pictures that lays out the narrative while the main stage highlights content with maps, pictures, videos, or other story maps. I chose this template because I knew I wanted to include as many different forms of media as possible, and the Map Journal provides an easy and logical way to bring them all together and connect them to specific points on a map. Other formats include the Map Tour, Swipe, Spyglass and Crowdsource. Because ESRI is seeking to promote this type of format for map interaction, there is a wide range of support resources available including tutorials, message boards, blogs, and galleries of examples. The galleries gave me some great ideas of what was possible and what wasn’t and the blogs were very helpful when troubleshooting.

The first stage of the project was to research the street art scene in Toronto and decide which pieces would be included in the project. Blogs focused on the topic, as well as newspaper reports and tour information were used to get an idea of what some of the most well known pieces or areas are in Toronto. A total of 12 art pieces or areas were selected, most of which were chosen through this review process and a few were from my personal knowledge. The addresses of the buildings they were painted on, or the closest reasonable address to where they were located were determined. This was tricky in some cases as some of the areas were over 100 meters long, or inaccessible by foot in the case of one area located along some train tracks. Google Maps was used for some initial spot checking and determining some of the addresses to confirm.

Once the addresses were decided, ArcGIS Desktop was used to extract them from the Address Points (Municipal) shapefile retrieved from the Toronto Open Data Catalogue. One of the main ideas was to style the maps with colours corresponding to each art piece. Each address, called an ‘Art Point’, was buffered three times (250, 500, 750 meters) using the Buffer tool. The Select by Location – Intersect tool was then used to select features from the Toronto CentreLine shapefile. This shapefile, also retrieved from the Toronto Open Data Catalogue, contains all the linear features in Toronto including roads, pathways, rivers etc. It was used because it created a complex visual effect and gave the illusion of each Art Point radiating outwards. Each selected Centreline layer was then saved and exported, providing three ‘halos’ of differing distances around each artwork. Figure 1 shows ArcGIS desktop and a few of the many layers of buffers and halos being created.

Figure 1 – ArcGIS desktop, creation of buffers and corresponding halos.

12 Art Points X 3 halos = 36 buffer-selection-exports, all of which were then compressed into zip files separately so they could be uploaded to the ArcOnline mapping tool. ArcOnline was used because of it’s webmapping capabilities and easy integration with the story map templates. A number of tools is also available through ArcOnline, including the ability to add layers from their Living Atlas. This will be discussed more later. A dark grey canvas basemap was selected in order to better show off the halos once added, configured, and coloured. Figure 2 shows the construction of the overview map with all 12 Art Points and their 750 meter associated halos.

Figure 2 – ArcOnline being used to construct an overview map with Art Points and halos.

In the meantime, I spent two long mornings driving around Toronto (or taking the TTC) in the sun and the rain, taking my own photos and videos of each area or artwork. Introduction and background sections in the side panel were created, along with 12 different sections for each Art Point. All the photos were then uploaded and an example of each Art Point was inserted into the side panel while the rest of the photos were arranged in a Cascade story map. The Cascade story map template is not used to it’s full extent here, but provided a convenient way of integrating the photos that was in line with the scrolling functionality of the rest of the project.  The twelve different halo sets were then coloured based on the example artwork and each point on the map was linked with the side panel so the map would jump to the appropriate section as the user scrolled down. The videos I took of selected Art Points were also uploaded to YouTube and joined with music from their free Audio Library. Figure 3 shows the Graffiti Alley Art Point and associated halos (once finished).

Figure 3 – Graffiti Alley, side panel content and main stage map.

Content including background on each Art Point and the artist (if applicable) was then added to each section of the side panel. If an artist was identified, their name was also hyperlinked to their own website, flikr, or instagram account if possible. As the user scrolls down through the side panel section then, each Art Point is shown including the background content, a link to the Cascade to view more photos, a link to the YouTube video (if applicable), and the main stage would jump to the associated location with the styled map halos. Figure 4 shows the Underpass Park section, with the Cascade story map inserted on the main stage showing a series of more detailed pictures about the place. Figure 5 shows the Reclamation Wall section, with the link to the created YouTube video open.

Figure 4 – Underpass Park, side panel content and Cascade photographs opened.

Figure 5 – Reclamation Wall, side panel content and link to YouTube video opened on main stage.

Each halo was also designed to correspond to a walking distance as laid out in the introduction side panel sections, meaning that by looking at the map, any halo corresponded to a 10 minutes or less walking distance to an Art Point. For improved navigation and map usability, public transportation layers were added in from ESRI’s Living Atlas (which is connected to ArcOnline), allowing users to click on all the TTC bus, streetcar, and subway routes shown faintly on the map to help them navigate to each Art Point.

In the end, two different maps (one overview and one specific Art Point), 36 halos, 4 YouTube videos, and over 150 photos were taken to tell a story about the street art in Toronto.

Have you a look yourself though, don’t they say a picture (or map) is worth 1000 words?

https://ryerson.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapJournal/index.html?appid=ee452e25fc5e4604a22c92bd291b8b93

References:

Open Data Toronto. (2017). Address Points and Toronto Centreline shapefiles. Retrieved from: https://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=1a66e03bb8d1e310VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD

What Kind of Story Do You Want to Tell? (2017). ESRI Story Maps. Retrieved from:  https://storymaps.arcgis.com/en/app-list/