FNR Consulting: Project Launch!

The Project

FNR Consulting is pleased to announce the launch of its inaugural mapping application. The hunt for housing in Los Angeles is never easy and each neighborhood is unique. Whether nasty or pleasant, surprises are in store for those who haven’t done their homework when moving into a new area. Even those who have lived in this city for a long time may not know much about what lays outside their neighborhood.

FNR Consulting hopes this tool, which brings the power of several popular web applications into one place along with some of our own data, will help eliminate some of those surprises and help match people to the best neighborhoods for them. Failed your driver’s license exam? Information from Walk Score and Metro can help you find neighborhoods that aren’t car-dependent. Are old people always yelling at you from next door to turn down your Lady Gaga? Don’t want kids playing your lawn? FNR’s application includes Census data that can help find you an age-appropriate area. Love Italian food? Regular at the bar? Our Yelp feature will show you restaurants, bars, parks and several other amenities in the area. Lastly, can you afford to live there? Sure, Bel Air is a convenient commute to campus, but unless you’re the Fresh Prince you’ll want to know how much it costs to live there.

Diagrams

The Team

Francis Reilly,
Francis was responsible for the designing the logo and architecture of the website. He coded the function to map Metro bus stops within the walkable buffer and also was primarily responsible for the geocoding functionality and Streetview feature.

Nori Sakurai,
Nori was responsible for creating the several ArcGIS layers, building the functions to add them to the project, and website aesthetics. He also created the Walk Score and Zillow functionality.

Román Lopez,
Román was the main writer for the blog posts, presentation, and Help/FAQ section of the project. He also helped create the Yelp functionality.

All team members contributed to designing and tweaking the user interface and testing and debugging the project.

Evaluation

Anyone who has been following the development of this project may note the intended user of our final product differs rather significantly from the project as it was originally conceived. The initial conception of the project centered on encouraging and facilitating transit use by providing a trip planner which would then generate a pedestrian shed populated with nearby business and other attractions around the user’s destination. However, transit trip planning functionality is not currently offered by either the Metro API or the Google Maps API. Rather than try to reinvent the wheel, we decided to focus on simply letting a user input an address and mapping the pedestrian shed and attractions around it. We had hoped to use Network Analyst to map a true pedestrian shed that took account of actual streets and barriers, but testing with this proved the idea to be impractical in the time we had. Lacking this unique feature, we felt the application was not especially powerful as it stood and shifting the focus to housing allowed us to capitalize on the features of the site that we liked while giving us the flexibility to incorporate the kind of content that would make the site useful to the general user.

Given more time, we would have really liked to have incorporated Network Analyst into mapping the pedestrian area. Although in many locations the difference between the Network Analyst-generated polygon and a simple radius would be trivial, in many parts of the city natural and artificial barriers (e.g. freeways) significantly alter what is actually within practical walking distance. We would also have liked to link all geocoding to an on-click function and improved the styling of the site.

Documentation

User interaction
The site allows users to search neighborhoods by inputting a zip code.

Custom functions
fnr.drawMetroWithinBuffer: retrieves and displays all Metro bus stops within a radius of user-inputted locations
fnr.getYelp: retrieves and displays Yelp results within a certain range
fnr.getWalkscore: retrieves and displays Walk Score results of user-inputted locations.

Custom layers
The site includes custom layers displaying information on age, income, and percentage of transit users by Census tract. It includes Metro Rail and Rapid Bus lines and stations, L.A. County Bikeway Plan, and parks and hospitals in L.A. County. It also includes a zip code layer to help users quickly find the zip code of the area they are looking in.

 

FNR Consulting: Week 8 Final Project Update

FNR Consulting is pleased to offer an update on the status of its Ped Shep Map project. The project is nearing its final release and we would like to take this opportunity to update the readers on progress, challenges, and final goals for the project.

About the Project

The common perception of Los Angeles is that you cannot get around without a car. But although LA is very auto-oriented, many areas are more pedestrian-friendly than people realize. While we certainly do not expect to change this perception overnight, we want to help improve accessibility for those people that want to get out of their cars and experience the city on foot.

The Ped Shed Map will ultimately combine bus and rail information from Metro with business locations and information from the Yelp API. It will also calculate the Walkscore of a destination, giving users the walkability of an area as calculated by the Walkscore API. The launch will allow users to input a destination of their choice, then shows the pedestrian shed and businesses around the destination. As a substitute for full-fledged trip planning functionality, the site will display nearby bus stops to assist the user in continuing their journey using transit. Info windows attached to the stops will direct the user to Metro’s Trip Planner. We hope the project will be useful in assisting walkers, bikers, and transit riders using other trip planners to identify and enjoy the most walkable areas in the city.

Challenges

The Google Maps API allows users to get trip directions, but unlike the full-fledged Google Maps, it restricts trips to a single mode. It also does not include a transit option. Metro’s API does not include trip planning functionality at this time. Consequently, the team will be unable to provide the transit-oriented trip planning we had originally hoped for.

The team has run into some difficulties creating true walk-able ped shed buffers. Creating these buffers using ESRI’s Network Analysis Sample has proved to be unworkable since this method is not compatible with Google Maps API. Using ArcGIS Sample Server to run a query to get service area polygons is a method that is compatible. However, this technique is oriented toward driving, rather than walking. In other words, the shape of the service area is affected by the type (speed) of the roads contained within it, which, even if scaled down for walking speeds still results in an imperfect ped shed.

We hope to be able to learn how to publish network analyst buffers in advance of the release date. If, however, this proves too challenging, we will use standard Google API buffers and incorporate other useful layers from Arc Server.

Current Development Status

The biggest challenge facing the group, as detailed above, is the creation and display of true pedestrian buffers. Most development time in the past week has been devoted to resolving this issues and the solution that we settle upon will ultimately decide whether or not other custom layers will be included in the final release.

Website Image

Wireframe



FNR Midterm Project Update

FNR Consulting is pleased to announced the beta launch of its web-based transit and pedestrian shed mapping website: Metro Ped Shed Map.

About the Project

The common perception of Los Angeles is that you cannot get around without a car. But although LA is very auto-oriented, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA/Metro) also operates the third-largest public transportation system in the US (by ridership), not to mention the other municipal transit operators in the region. Metro operates almost 200 bus routes throughout Los Angeles County, covering 1,433 square miles, and operates two subway lines and three LRT lines on over 79 miles of track. Through funding sources such as Measure R and the 30/10 initiative (now known as America Fast Forward), transit coverage will continue to expand. Despite the popularity of these efforts, however, most Angelenos still drive. While we certainly do not expect this will change overnight, we want to help improve accessibility for transit passengers today.

Physical access alone does not necessarily translate into widespread accessibility. On of the barriers especially to getting choice riders on board with using transit is improving the user experience and providing information that makes transit easy to use. FNR’s website will map the pedestrian shed surrounding destinations off of Metro bus and rail lines, retrieving destinations within walking distance from Yelp.

The Ped Shed Map will ultimately combine bus and rail information from Metro with business locations and information from the Yelp API. It will also calculate the Walkscore of a destination, giving users the walkability of an area as calculated by the Walkscore API. The launch allows users to get driving, walking, or biking directions from a fixed station location (the Wilshire/Western subway station), then shows the pedestrian shed and businesses around the destination. It also provides the Walkscore for the destination.

Audience

Lack of clear and accessible information about transit and trip planning is a barrier to accessibility. FNR’s Metro Ped Shed Map is intended to assist existing transit passengers in trip planning. Providing existing and potential riders with this information can show just how walkable parts of LA are, and can augment riders’ knowledge about what opportunities exist surrounding their transit stops. It is the team’s hope that this website can also make transit travel less intimidating for non-riders, encouraging people to perhaps ditch their cars occasionally to take transit instead.

Challenges

The Google Maps API allows users to get trip directions, but unlike the full-fledged Google Maps, it restricts trips to a single mode. It also does not include a transit option. Consequentially, the team was unable to integrate the intended trip planning functionality at this time.

Future Features

The future incarnation of the Ped Shed Map will include expanded trip planning functionality. The scope of these improvements will be further discussed

Team Contributions

Francis Reilly,
Francis was responsible for designing the wesbsite and incorporating the visual buffers and Street View around our fixed starting point.

Norihiko Sakurai,
Nori was responsible for incorporating walkability information using the Walk Score API.

Roman Lopez,
Roman was responsible for incorporating business locations and information using the Yelp API.

FNR Consulting: Group Proposal Update

This week, FNR Consulting has implemented basic research toward launching the Beta site scheduled for next week. Based on the advice from Yoh and Maddie and group discussion, FNR has decided to introduce new API, Yelp API to its website. New wireframe is as follows. The basic idea of FNR’s website remains same. It allows users to map the pedestrian shed surrounding LACMTA bus stops and rail stations in addition to trip planning function. It also provides specific business information within the pedestrian shed.

Updated Project Proposal

Revised Project Description
FNR Consulting is in the process of designing a website that integrates business locations surrounding LACMTA bus and rail stops with Metro’s Trip Planner. By combining data from existing sources—Metro’s Trip Planner API, Google Maps, and Walkscore—our website will aid transit riders in trip planning and help connect users to businesses near transit. It will also hopefully encourage people who don’t currently use transit to try it by making trip planning more accessible.

Functionalities
FNR’s website will allow users to map the pedestrian shed surrounding LACMTA bus stops and rail stations, then search for and map specific types of businesses within the ped shed. It will draw its base layer from the Google Maps API, use the LACMTA’s trip planning and GIS Developer files to map transit routes, and use business location information from Walkscore. As shown in the accompanying storyboard, users will be able to search for transit lines based on origin and destination. Based on the line(s) chosen for a particular trip, our product will generate a pedestrian shed using information from ESRI ArcGIS Network Analyst, then display businesses located in or immediately around that pedestrian shed.

Datasets Used
Metro LA API
Walkscore API
Google Maps API

Milestones
Midterm
*Trip planning functionality
*Show air radius walking distance from stops

Final
*Integrate true walkable area using Network Analyst
*Display business & other attractions via Walkscore

Concerns
*Matching up the true walkable area with the simple radius used by Walkscore

Storyboard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introducing FNR Consulting

FNR Consulting is a new Los Angeles-based firm that is focused on meeting client’s needs by mixing web-based GIS technologies with a proprietary blend of of winning.  Their first project, expected to be released in late spring, will be a demonstration of this philosophy.

The Project
Angelenos are known for their supposed love of the automobile. But before LA epitomized car culture, it was home to an extensive public transit system. This is still true today, with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) operating the third-largest public transportation system in the US (by ridership), not to mention the other municipal transit operators in the region. Recent funding sources, such as Measure R and (potentially) the 30/10 initiative (now Fast Forward America), can further improve transit access throughout the county. Despite the popularity of these efforts, however, most Angelenos still drive. While we certainly do not expect this will change overnight, we want to help improve accessibility for transit passengers today.

Physical access alone does not necessarily translate into widespread accessibility. On of the barriers especially to getting choice riders on board with using transit is improving the user experience and providing information that makes transit easy to use. To this end, our team is working to develop an application that will show users the pedestrian shed surrounding their local transit stops, mapping easily walkable destinations to encourage potential users to try transit and facilitating greater knowledge and accessibility for existing riders. This website will feature an interactive, searchable interface to integrate:

• LACMTA bus and rail maps,
• distance/time-based pedestrian sheds for transit lines, and
• businesses and destinations within the pedestrian shed.

Providing existing and potential riders with this information can show just how walkable parts of LA are, and can augment riders’ knowledge about what opportunities exist surrounding their transit stops.

The Team

Francis Reilly,

Francis likes transit and maps. He wants to encourage people to try the former by using the latter.

Norihiko Sakurai,

Nori loves trains and traveling.  He is fascinated by high speed railways and vibrant communities with slopes.

Roman Lopez,

Roman enjoys reading non-fiction books of any subject and traveling.  He dislikes asymmetric information.