San Francisco Public Art Map

San Francisco Public Art Map

Exploring San Francisco’s Treasures: Mashing Up Public Art, Social Media, and Volunteered Geographic Information to Create a Dynamic Guide.

My thesis work included the creation of a web application which can be viewed at The application was recently featured in “Take a Beautiful Tour of All the Public Art in the Bay Area,” John Metcalfe, Atlantic Cities, November 14, 2013.

The San Francisco Public Art Map mashes up disparate sources of data to create a dynamic, comprehensive, and interactive map of public art and landmark buildings in the City of San Francisco. The San Francisco Arts Commission administers publicly funded art and is responsible for over 800 pieces but maps are incomplete or inaccurate. There are hundreds of other art pieces such as murals, street art, and art funded by private organizations not included in the San Francisco Arts Commission dataset. Existing applications focus on one type of art or a narrow selection of installations. Over 50 web and mobile applications were assessed: no application combines institutional data sets, peer-reviewed volunteered geographic information, and social media to create a comprehensive view of publicly available art.

The San Francisco Public Art Map consists of a web client and ArcGIS Online maps. The web client uses JavaScript, Dojo, social media application programming interfaces, ArcGIS Server, ArcSDE , REST services, and Microsoft SQL Server technologies. Configuration and development to add functionality to Esri’s Public Information Map 2.0 source code transformed a disaster map to an art map. The web application incorporates Stamen Design basemaps to provide a fresh look that complements the art content. ArcGIS Online maps enable users to contribute new art and buildings and view art data on mobile devices through the ArcGIS for Mobile or Collector applications.

There are three levels of curated data: institutional, administrative, and social. Institutional curation consists of datasets provided by institutions that administer or fund public art projects. The administrative level includes reviewed volunteered geographic information. Social curation consists of a dynamic layer of pictures and comments on public art through social media streams such as Flickr, Panoramio, Instagram, and YouTube. The application demonstrates a unique method of combining data sources to provide a public art map for visitors and residents of San Francisco.


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