New York City’s Department of Transportation added a new layer to its maps at the end of May. This layer posts the details of parking signs for the city on a web-based map. It’s a huge step forward from having to actually read the signs from your car, or have a friend read them for you from a far away neighborhood. But is it what drivers want?
The new map layer literally puts the text of the parking signs on the map that also includes details on paving projects and street assessment ratings. To see the parking signs be sure to “turn on” the Parking Regulations layer and to zoom in very tight. One sign reads:
NO PARKING (SANITATION BROOM SYMBOL) 9:30-11AM THURS <---->
NIGHT REGULATION (MOON & STARS SYMBOLS) NO PARKING (SANITATION BROOM SYMBOL) 3AM-6AM MON & THURS <-->
I enjoy that the text includes a description of symbols used, as well as the literal text. And, I do love that the data is now available and mapped.
But, is the interface provided, basically an “identify” (click on the symbol to see the text) how someone looking for parking would want to interrogate the data? I imagine a search being a bit more like the information needed to rent a car:
Where do you want to pick up the car? (In what area do you want to park?)
When? (When do you want to start parking in that area?)
- When will you drop it off? (When do you plan to leave?)
If I were driving in New York (I would not, let’s be clear) I’d like to know not what the sign says, but where I can park during the hours and on the days I need to park. So I’d like to query the data this way:
Where can I park near 1215 Main St. between 7 pm next Thursday and 7 am next Friday?
That may be in the works by the city or other developers. For now, the city states it will update the data monthly. Still, the data gathering and its display on the map is the first step no matter if a machine or a person had to recode it for a searchable online map or app.