ON BROADWAY is an interactive visualization of the Broadway street in New York created by Daniel Goddemeyer, Moritz Stefaner, Dominikus Baur and Lev Manovich. The team got inspiration for this project from an artist’s book "Every Building on the Sunset Strip" by Edward Ruscha 1966). This book unfolds to 25 feet showing photographic views of Sunset Boulevard.

We usually find ourselves looking at a map view of the city and have a feel of what it looks like to be living or traveling to that place. This project is different in a way because it tells you different information about the street in a layered form. In the 21st century, we collect data in various things happening around us for our records. The important thing is how to utilize this data which helps to get a better view and analyze the place. In this visual, there is a layered scaled created from actives from hundreds of thousands of people along the 13 miles of Broadway.

Click on the link to know more about the project:
Visit Project
Visit Application

Figure 1: The Application Screen

The figure shows how the application is set up. It is important to keep the key elements together. Here we see how images are arranged in layers but in between there are a few statistics shown which are more relevant to make a connection between the two layers. The color pallet gives an extra ordinary look to the application as it makes the user wonder about the mystery behind those mixed color pallets. It creates curiosity for an individual to look what is behind those colors. This helps to bind the users with the application creating a visual more interactive with the audience.

Figure 2: Data Layers

If you visit the application page, you will see where the team talks about the data layers that they have separated into and its installation process. Exploring the street, the images are the center of the interface whereas the numbers play a secondary role to grab the details of the images. The vertical layer gives a new perspective to think about a street on the maps. As there are no maps used to visualize, this project is a new visual metaphor to think about.
In total there are 13 layers collected along Broadway street. To interact, users can select a neighborhood that they would like to explore. As we move along the street, there are a number of things a user can explore right from where they are standing. The first thing that strikes out are the image’s layers, which consists of the street view, sky view, and the Instagram pictures. With those images, the average scaling for number of taxi pickups and drop-offs, Twitter posts and average income are shown. Also, the street that course across Broadway to help understand a horizontal view in a very compact vertical view.

Figure 3: Help Menu

Are you interacting for the first time?
The team has developed a "Help" section for new and current users to interact with. This is a very well thought as an anyst team, what the user will be looking for and taking care of broad spectrum of the audience. This helps by if there are any new users and wants to know more about the area, this application is always recommended. This is the first layer of the exploration where top small information bar is the street's coursing Broadway. These Images are collected in a limited access from Google maps.

Figure 4: Google street images

When you put a little man on the street to view the street on a map, how would you look at it? To give the user that access, the team has decided to shrink the images at the start of the application. It will stretch out with details as the user selects a data point or the neighborhood.

Note:In the above image, I have selected Greenwhich Village as the neighborhood where Broadway runs through. Astor Place is the 4-way crossing where AT&T is located.

Figure 5: Daily taxi data

The data statistics in this image is the daily taxi pickups and drop-off over six months in the year 2014. Knowing that there are many other ways to travel around the city, these data statistics are very high. It is interesting to explore, how circles are data points on a vertical layer giving the data statistics to explore the city traveling ways for locals. We have connected those dots over to see where the highest and lowest point during the collection of the data but here we have pictures and numbers to make the exploration. 
Note:In the above image, I have selected Greenwhich Village as the neighborhood where Broadway runs through. Astor Place is the 4-way crossing where AT&T is located.

Figure 6: Google sky view images

Earlier, we took a look at the street view pictures collected from Google Maps. Now in this layer, we will look at the 360-degree view pictures collected from Google Maps. When we open up Google Maps, these pictures are not sorted by the view the user would like to see. In this application, the problem is looked into and it is being separated by the view of the users. The images are collected in the same method as the street facades are collected. All of these collections is pixelated until interacted by the user.
Note: In the above image, I have selected Greenwhich Village as the neighborhood where broadway runs through. Astor Place is the 4-way crossing where AT&T is located.

Figure 7: Social Media data

Here are the two levels of Social Media interaction layers in this application. One shows data in numbers and another one shows pictures posted on social media (Instagram) with the location tagged. In this picture, we see data from Foursquare check-ins, Twitter messages, Instagram photos posted and the median household income. All of this data collected shows a basic lifestyle around those areas. It also shows what local resources available. If we see all this data are again shown by circles. In this layer, the difference is that when one column is selected, the other circle in a horizontal layer are adjusted by the size of the data compared to the current one. This gives a relevant idea, how the high and the low peaks of the statistics. Again, it is different way to show visuals other than the plain regular map filtering data. Here you have to check out different aspects of locals.

Note: In the above image, I have selected Greenwhich Village as the neighborhood where Broadway runs through. Astor Place is the 4-way crossing where AT&T is located.

Figure 8: Instagram Images

This application is a mixture of visual images and statistics which should stand out to the audience. The data that is shown is important and that is the reason it is in the stats. Another way to visual the lifestyle is the visuals posted on social media. There will be numerous post by travelers and locals every day in NYC. What is the specifics lifestyle people tending to show around one street - BROADWAY? This is depicted by these images where the user can have quick look at their office routine, family life or even celebrations going around the area.

Note: In the above image, I have selected Greenwhich Village as the neighborhood where Broadway runs through. Astor Place is the 4-way crossing where AT&T is located.


In this visual there was various data that was collected. There is a 360 degree view of the streets pictures from Google maps, Instagram pictures posted with the location tagged or by description, the Foursquare ratings for places along the street or even the data of taxis with drop of and pickup locations. This helps us to visualize daily activity of people around that area and also tells more about how the living condition is for an individual.

In today's era, the communication between people is done through social media. There are many resources available to collect the data and through that we can communicate with the world to show where the city stands in terms of many social and economic resources. Here is a picture of the important points where the data is collected from the streets of Broadway. There are many locals and tourists whose post are collected through the location tagged in and use this data to represent the 21 st century.

Interesting Points

When the data is plotted along the axis, there is an emerging flow of findings that are addressed. In this project, there were findings about how living in a different neighborhood means to an individual, where what type of resources are available to them and what to expect if moving into that area. All of these findings are represented in few images shown below.

Figure 9: It is different

The first finding, after analyzing the data, collected was to know what is meant to be living in NYC, especially living across the street of Broadway. Findings have shown, even though this is the same street, that there are some major changes as the neighborhood changes. It is called one street, but in reality there are two. To answer the question how the data collected as numerical values were plotted in a bar chart. As we can see, the division on Broadway is divided into two parts: The left side is "Broadway 1" and the right side "Broadway 2 " respectively. The left side covers from the Financial District to 110 th Street whereas the right side covers the 110 th Street to the northern tip of Manhattan.

There were some major spikes in activities and at a much rapid pace compared to the right side of Broadway. We see more social activities, higher income, more taxi rides and a wealthier lifestyle compared to the other side. These types of analyze have helped us to understand the social divide and inequality performed by everyone.

Figure 10: Findings for tourists

New York City is famous for work purposes and touches a traveler’s heart. Broadway passes through many major landmarks and popular tourist places like Soho. It is assumed that the higher number of Instagram posts are from travelers around the city. There are many active areas where there were more posts in 2014 during that six month period of data collection but the top four areas have some significant peaks. The top actives areas are: Time Square between 46 th and 47 th street, Time Square and 43rd street, City Hall Park, Madison Square Park. Together, all the places have more than pictures posted in the area of Broadway 2.

Note: Pictures shared on Twitter are around the similar area of Time Square and City Hall Park.

Figure 11: Single street in NYC

The street - Broadway runs similar to the spine in a human body. Here, Broadway runs through the middle of Manhattan Island curving along its way. This figure is the wider perspective of the data collected. In this analysis, the activity has been captured and this area is defined as selecting 30 meter intervals going through the center of Broadway by making 100 meter slices from the center. This created a result of a spine like shape of 13.5 miles long and 100 meters wide. There were some areas where data was unavailable so we had to make some larger slices of intervals. Looking at the data, it starts off very high spikes and a brighter color. Then, while going further, the spikes start to fade off with it's color. This is a similar image shining through the previous analysis, giving a better picture of the lifestyle along the street of Broadway in New York.


Current Visual

This project currently works as intended by the developers. Their first and foremost priority was to create a visual that will work offline and with a full HD touch screen installation. There are no restrictions set on the screen size and its usage. Also, this project loads it's data at a very fast pace, even though there is a lot of different types of data loaded all at once.

Looking at the project in depth, the data installation is done in many different ways. The ideas were to focus more on the rich images facades that were created and have numbers play a secondary role without using any maps.It is new in a way for thinking about the city: a vertical stack of image and data layers. The details of how the data was collected even for both primary and secondary information plotted in this application are shown in figure 12 shown below.

Figure 12: How were the resources collected

Personally, I have tested this visualization several times in different ways to ensure it works for all type of users. I have tested on my computer, with and without internet and timing it's loading speed but it has been consistent with its installation. Originally, this visual is made for touch screen but it works with a mouse but not very user-friendly. The instruction for using it with the touch screen are provided in the Help button on the right corner of the application.

Overall, this visualization works pretty smoothly as mentioned by their developers on the project website. It does its job for showing New York city's in a different way which is the unique part of it.

Future Extension

If this project, gets extended with different cities or maybe whole New York, there are a lot of improvements that can be made. Things that I think will make better visualization for the user is that they want to have a small map on side, or way to select two areas to compare its statistics or lastly something interaction with the user when the area is selected.

Things that I wished they added in this visualization could be a small map of NY city going along with which area the user chooses, so if they are new to the area they have a perspective on the area they are looking into. This is actually very useful for having a second perspective to the data is not misinterpreted by just looking at the vertical stack.

Another thing they could make it better if there was a way to compare two areas along the BROADWAY. The reason, we shouldn't focus on other options such other street's data within NY or even out of state is because the project loses it's point of representation of a city rather it get's more political perspective if compare out of state. Comparing two areas by selecting two areas at ones rather than going through each and knowing it only individually. This change can give a better perspective on why the street is divided by its social status.

Targetd Users

In my perspective, the user that might have been targeted for this kind of application could be traveler or people already living there and want to know more about the area.

Why traveler?

According to Curbed, NY there were around 61.8 million in 2017 recorded. This city is very popular and the best way of knowing more about the city could be this application. The images and the statistics values give a different view to the user about the city. They just only tell you where is the busiest area but it also tells you which area is the best place to eat or even tells you the daily activity of an individual from those Instagram pictures. This application answers questions to travelers in a simplified manner rather than having much work done by the user.

Personal Views

The project On Broadway was one of my top choices for presenting viewers choice presentation as we have seen many different visualizations in the class for past 14 weeks, we have never encountered where information was separated into vertical layers to represent a street. Common encounter to represent a street or a city would be on a map with different data plotted with lines and use of reactive choices from the user. I wanted to present the same idea but with a different way to represent it and I came across this project.