Secret City Project Update

This week Fort Awesome Inc., divided the project elements, with each member focusing on a specific task for the upcoming beta launch. In addition, based on the board’s comments, we decided to implement two APIs initially: the Flickr API and the Instagram API (if time allows, we also hope to get a social media API – probably Foursquare- into the beta. We will also work towards a method to allow uploads from the audience who want to add user-generated data. The beta will also have placeholders for the other APIs that the site will eventually call on.

Group Member Updates

  • Justin has been going through the LAPL photo database, selecting images from various decades in and around MacArthur Park. He has been uploading the images to Flickr and tagging them by topic, decade and location. We hope to have a sizable collection to display for the beta launch.
  • Roy has been reading the documentation on the APIs we are using, determining the various calls and functions each API uses and selecting which of those features we will need for the site.
  • Daniel has started to code the skeleton of the site itself.
  • Alex has researched available demographic and socioeconomic data. He soon realized that the Census only has Excel separated data for 1990 and 2000. Although he located hundreds of pages (and GBs) of scanned censuses going back to America’s early days, most of these focused on the county or city level and were not excel-ready. Fortunately, our board member Yoh Kowano shared information on the demographic-rich Hypercities website. Once we receive the API information, we can hopefully call upon much of their data for our pre-1990 socioeconomic layers.In the meantime, Alex worked with 1990 and 2000 data, preparing the Excel files for GIS use. He organized total population, race, median household income and employment status by census tract. In addition, he aggragated various employment status columns to calculate percent of the work force employed and unemployed. Then he joined the datasets with census tract shape files in GIS and has begun to prepare the layers for kml export.

Next Steps

This week Fort Awesome Inc. will combine like Voltron, sticking together our individual week tasks into a cohesive whole. As this process will probably run into many roadblocks, we anticipate some site functionality and deliverable revisions. However, we are confidant we have the groundwork to put it all together and display a lovely working blueprint of Secret City!


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