Saturday, August 29, 2015

Mapping New York's Homeless

I'm not sure what to make about this crowd-sourced map of New York's homeless citizens. The NYC Map the Homeless app encourages people to take photos of homeless people in New York City and share the results on the NYC Map the Homeless Google Map.

A few weeks ago Google banned a map of refugee centers in Germany because it was seen as encouraging attacks on migrants in the country. I assume that the creators of this homeless spotting app don't want to encourage attacks on homeless people in New York. However I do find it slightly disturbing that they are encouraging people to take photos of the homeless. This seems unnecessarily degrading for those forced to live on the streets and potentially dangerous for those taking the pictures.

NYC Map the Homeless argue that the data gathered will help the 'authorities ... quickly identify locations of concern and act in a timely manner'. I'd like to think that there are better ways to help the homeless of New York than this app.

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