Archive for May 3rd, 2008

03
May
08

More excited than I should be

After 5 years of using my laptop, I finally got a replacement for the little red pointing stick on my IBM laptop.  They come in packs of 6 – two each of three different styles.  The excitement I feel about such a small, cheap item is surprising.

03
May
08

Mapping Pittsburgh Neighborhoods

Hopefully I’ll be graduating sometime in 2008 and depending on whether certain funding comes through, we may be moving back to Pittsburgh in the not-too-distant future. So, we’ve started looking at potential places to live. If the funding comes through, I’ll be working at CMU, so we’d like to live somewhere close. Although both Heather and I lived both on and off campus during our undergrad years at CMU, we (I especially) don’t know the nearby neighborhoods very well. In particular, I don’t have a good sense of where, for example, Squirrel Hill ends and Shadyside begins, or where Friendship is. I had certainly heard the names of neighborhoods like Point Breeze and Regent Square, but I didn’t have a good idea of where they were. So, I set about to educate myself about these things.

What I wanted was a Google Map with colored overlays defining each neighborhood. However, I could not find such a thing. So, I decided I should make one. I get my data from this site, operated by the City of Pittsburgh. If you click on a neighborhood, it’ll bring up a map of that neighborhood. That page also contains a link to a pdf file of the map, which you can zoom in on if necessary. It’s a little tedious, but I’m copying a neighborhood at a time into a Google Map using the “My Maps” interface.

It’s been interesting so far and some things have been a little surprising. For example, did you know that CMU is technically in Squirrel Hill, not Oakland? Despite having spent 4 years at CMU, I did not know that. I would have said that Squirrel Hill starts immediately to the east of CMU. However, as far as the City of Pittsburgh is concerned, that is not the case. Also, there are a bunch of neighborhoods that I had never heard of, like Terrace Village.

My map has existed for less than 24 hours and has already been viewed almost 300 times, so I’m hopeful that people are finding it useful despite its incomplete status. If anyone would like to help me in this endeavor, let me know, and I’ll invite you to collaborate, which will give you the necessary permissions to edit the map. I think you may need to have a Gmail account for it to work, but I’m not sure.




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