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Stamen Design Wins a $400,000 Grant for New User-Generated Data-Viz Project

Fast Company

The San Francisco designers known for their urban mapping and data visualization projects won the top grant from the Knight Foundation for their new concept CityTracking.

The Knight Foundation just doled out $2.74 million in grants for local news-focused technology projects that deliver information to specific geographic areas. Topping those grantees is Eric Rodenbeck, founder and creative director of San Francisco-based Stamen Design who won $400,000 for a concept named CityTracking, which will allow users to take city data like crime and traffic numbers and create engaging visualizations that are easy to understand and easy to share.


Stamen, whose work we cover here frequently, is the firm behind one of the most famous urban data projects, Crimespotting, which began as an Oakland-based application that turned crime reports into information residents could use. Among their recent work is a customized mapping application for the London Olympics (they couldn’t use Google Maps without a sponsorship deal). A project for CNN visualized casualties in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and a real-time Twitter interface for Nike was built for the NBA finals.

According to the Knight Foundation, Stamen’s winning idea will be somewhat like its Twitter-viz app Eddy but with a more dynamic interface that allows for location-based applications like mapping:

To make municipal data easy to understand, CityTracking will allow users to create embeddable data visualizations that are appealing enough to spread virally and that are as easy to share as photos and videos. The dynamic interfaces will be appropriate to each data type, starting with crime and working through 311 calls for service, among others. The creators will use high design standards, making the visuals beautiful as well as useful.