Mountain Doodles

spare time data, analysis, visualization

Mobi Running Stats

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I keep getting questions about Mobi stats these days. Rather than ansering them one by one I decided to just offer a live view into data generated by our shadow API. I made two simple views, the most recent month of daily bike checkout counts and the most recent week of hourly bike checkout counts. The data issues mentioned in our previous post still apply. For data geeks, here is a link to a very useful paper that compared estimates like I make to real usage data.

Mobi – a First Look

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Vancouver finally has a bikeshare system. And everyone is hoping it will succeed, despite the obstacles BC’s mandatory helmet law poses for the system. So we are eager to find out how things are going with Mobi.

To set the background, consider that Seattle’s Pronto is getting less than 1 ride per bike per day after half a year in operation. In comparison, bike shares that are considered ‘successful’ in North America get 3 to 5 rides per bike per day. Taipei’s system, which I am particularly fond of, gets over 11 rides per bike per day.

So how about Mobi? It barely started, and it’s not really fair to run the numbers right now. But we just couldn’t hold our curiosity back.

What’s Up With RT?

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RT is Vancouver’s zoning for duplexes. Over time, various areas have been zoned to allow duplexes. Examples are Kits Point, much of Point Grey Road reaching up to Broadway, much of Granview-Woodlands, parts of Mount Pleasant and many other areas.

Recently I have had some interesting conversations on Twitter regarding RM-6 and over BBQ dinner about RT-7. Then the Granview-Woodland plan passed by council, and it contains a curious provision of reducing the outright FSR for the RT-zoned properties from 0.6 to 0.5.

All of which got me thinking. What is RT supposed to accomplish, how does the diverse RT-zoning rules influence development and how is RT overall performing?

Bike Share Map

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It is no secret that we at MountainMath like bikes. And maps. And open data and sharing. We guess you know where this is going.

Vancouver has finally gotten a bike share system, and we are loving it. So we took the occasion to take our old bike infrastructure maps, polished them up a bit using Mapzen’s bike map style and adapted it for our purposes.

The result is our Vancouver Bike Share Map. (Fair warning. While this map works great on your iOS and Android phone, it may not work on old desktop computers.)

Add it to your phone home screen, and it will be right at your fingertips when you need it!

Mixing Data

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Census data is very rich and with CensusMapper we now have about 1 billion data points right at our fingertips. And we have managed to open up some of our interfaces for everyone to explore data and make their own maps and freely share them.

Things really get interesting when one mixes custom data with census data. While, at this point, these are not part of the freely available CensusMapper functionality we still wanted to share what can be done.

At CensusMapper we have developed three basic ways to rapidly mix custom data with census data. So this is really three blog posts in one.

SDH Zoning and Land Use

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Recently the question around the amount of space taken up (exclusively) by single detached houses has show up on my Twitter feed citing that SFH take up 70%, 66%, and 57%, 56% (timestamp 3:50). I personally have thrown in 34% as a contender. And, just for the fun of it, by the end of this post I will have thrown 33% and 28% and my favorite, 81%, into the mix.

What’s going on, how can there be such a large range of estimates for what seems to be a simple question? The answer lies in the details of what exactly the question is asking, all of the above numbers are correct answers to one particular version of very similar questions.


The takeaway I think is most useful for general purposes:

35% of all households live on single family and duplex properties
making up 81% of Vancouver's residential land, while the     
remaining 65% of households live on 19% of the residential land. 


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Ever since I played with the LIDAR-generated building height data I thought that I should use that to map gross floor area (GFA) and floor space ratio (FSR). Gross floor area is the total floor area inside the building envelope. So for a three storey building, it is the area of the footprint times three. Floor space ratio is the GFA divided by the area of the parcel it sits on. There are several reasons why this may be interesting.

GFA is the currency of the developer. Especially once we enter the world of apartment or commercial buildings, gross floor area is directly proportional to the amount of money a developer can charge for a property, either when stratified and sold or when rented out.

FSR on the other hand is a measure of density, and it is the currency of the zoning code. Height and site coverage are also regulated in the zoning code and there is an obvious relationship to FSR. But because GFA is so important to the developer, FSR usually receives more attention in public discussions.

Read on or head straight for the interactive map to browse Vancouver by FSR. Read the disclaimer at the bottom before using any data for purposes other than general reference.

Census Mapping for Everyone

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At CensusMapper, we have come a long way from first dabbling in census data to building out a platform to map data Canada wide, adding the ability to easily drill down into individual census regions, improving mapping efficiency, adding the ability to automatically populate custom geographic data with census variables and adding older census data.

We believe all of these are comparatively small steps compared to the opening up of map making capabilities for everyone that we are rolling out today. Free to use, free of charge. Statistic Canada opened up census data for anyone to use, but the sheer volume of available data and complexities of mapping geographic data has kept this inaccessible to many.

By opening up basic map making capabilities to everyone we are putting the liberating that data from depth of spreadsheets and database servers and opening it up to everyone. One map at a time. Read on for tips and tricks or head right on over to Censusmapper to make your first CensusMapper map!

Census Week

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At CensusMapper we are super excited about Census Week 2016. Data is increasingly getting incorporated into local and regional decision making. At CensusMapper we have been working to facilitate this by making this wealth of information more accessible to everyone. To celebrate Census Week 2016 we have updated CensusMapper with 2006 census data for easy comparisons with the 2011 data. And we have given CensusMapper a face lift by adding a histogram widget that interacts with the mapping data. Watch for more exciting updates this week or read on for a sneak peak!