IllegalBillboards.org. “Activists estimate that half the billboards in New York City are illegal. Between fudged permits, lack of enforcement, and millions in profit, outdoor advertising has become a corporate black market that wont flinch at breaking laws to get your attention.&helip; IllegalBillboards.org is a new effort initiated by the Anti-Advertising Agency with IllegalSigns.ca to help organize and support the removal of illegal billboards in New York (we’ll get to the rest of the country soon I hope!). IllegalBillboards.org consists of a forum and blog where you can learn how to investigate an illegal sign and track progress.&helip; Canadian activist group IllegalSigns.ca is responsible for the removal over 100 illegal billboards in the City of Toronto.”
One frequent request from users of my little Flash map is a way to map traffic to their website. So here it is. The map above displays a week of traffic to the map home page.
I adapted the geocounter PHP script to query the hostip.infoAPI and convert IP address to latitude and longitude and store the location in a database.
There are a few tools that map traffic by adding dots to a PNG or markers to an embedded Google map, but I find these cluttered and cumbersome. My map does a few things differently:
With a single click, zoom into a cluster of points to see a finer, more detailed view. No more bouncing to Google or fiddling with a lot of navigation buttons. You can also click-and-drag to zoom into a specific selection, or click on the edge of the frame to move around.
Additional traffic increases the total area of the dots proportional to the number of hits you get, not just doubling diameter with each subsequent hit.
Points fade over time as the traffic record ages.
Traffic from the same location over multiple days is represented by concentric circles, older visits shown in outer rings that fade over time.
You can customize colors of the points, background, countries and borders. For instance, see darker, analog-style version on the map home page.
You can configure the how long you want to store traffic data, and the minimum size of the points.
The geocounter script is GPL’ed and the map is free for personal or non-profit use, but requires a license for commercial use. For more information visit http://backspace.com/mapapp/.
Nonprofit CEO bloggers. “Some nonprofits are turning to blogs to help craft their messages and encourage more active participation with their organizations.” A light introduction to a few possibilities, from The NonProfit Times.
The Bush-McCain Challenge. Tightly edited, brightly designed five question quiz asks you to tell the difference between George W. Bush and John McCain. (McCain’s selected quotes position him to the right of Bush.) It’s a one-shot site, a sort of modern day editorial cartoon, but I found it a good demonstration of the effects of propaganda (I got all but one of the answers wrong) — and of the persuasion implicit in polls.
Twitter for Freedom. “[James Karl] Buck, a journalism grad student, was arrested in Egypt last week, and his only communication to the outside world was through his cellphone, which he used to post a message on the micro-blogging site [Twitter]. ‘Arrested,’ he typed into his phone, a message that broadcast via the Web to his friends in the United States and bloggers in Egypt.... His friends contacted the U.S. Embassy and his school, the University of California at Berkeley, which sent a lawyer to get him out of jail.”
A good use case to add to the repertoire of texting and activism. It’s like your own personal urgent action network. Thank you, Blaine!
Update: See this Wired item on using Twitter to coordinate events, rumor control and public safety during direct actions against the war in San Francisco.