Monday, August 31, 2015

Mapping Uber in New York

FiveThirtyEight has published data on over 4.5 million Uber pickups in New York City from April to September 2014. The data also includes data on 10 other for-hire vehicle companies.

Bill Morris has used the data to create an animated map of Uber pickups for the week beginning April 1st 2014. One week of Uber Pickups in 15 Seconds uses CartoDB's Torque engine to visualize the patterns of pickups by time and day. The timeline shows the day currently being visualized on the map but not the time of day. However you can spot a significant drop in pickups at certain times every day. My guess is that this drop-off in pickups is during the very early hours of each morning.

Bill's map shows the temporal patterns in Uber pick-ups in New York City. Another map, by Mapbox's Eric Fischer, shows the geographical distribution of the pickups for the whole six months worth of data. Uber NYC Pickups, Apr-Sep 2014 provides a dot density view of all Uber pickups across the city.

Both maps are great initial visualizations of the data obtained by FiveThirtyEight. It will be interesting to see what other maps are created with this data. For example, I'd like to see Eric's map with some New York demographic data layers. It would be interesting to see if there is any correlation between the number of pickups and the average income levels in a neighborhood.

Another interesting visualization would be a comparison of the Uber pickups data with the yellow taxi data for the same six months. The NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission has released the data for all completed yellow taxi and green cab trips between January 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015, so it is possible to make a map with both sets of data.

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