Beyond Aesthetic Icing: Designing geo tools for humans

getting around

Ekta Daryanani, Meghan Hade 30min

This talk was transcribed.

The OpenStreetMap community covers a wide range of perspectives ranging from: policy-maker to data analyst, developer to student, to many more. When we set out to build Transitland – a centralized place to gather and share transit data from around the world – we wanted to be sure that access to this data touched this breadth of OpenStreetMap. We let user feedback guide us throughout the development process, never losing sight of the vision. Design then was not the finishing touch; it was baked into how we approached each piece (user flows, feature sets, documentation and the visuals) of an open geo data system to work in tandem to meet user needs.

Our talk will discuss this user-centered development process, and how it led to the creation of the Playground, a data exploration tool for transit data that uses a natural language, Mad Libs style to build a query, allowing people from any background to quickly request data, view it on a map, and download it. By starting with people, we can allow people from any background to quickly access the true power of OpenStreetMap.