Where to get stuck in Boston: Needle Heatmap

My buddy, STFU and Build It, built a sexy heatmap showing locations of needle pickups in Boston, but that’s not the whole story:

STFU and Build It’s visualization of needle pickup locations

Boston 311 releases a wealth of information about their service requests, including picking up needles. So he got the data from Boston 311, built the heatmap, and put it on his hosted server.

It got picked up by Fox 25 News, causing his crappy code to crash & burn. He had to move it over to AWS, with additional issues.

I decided not to build my own heatmap and serve it on my own but use the existing heatmapping function that the City of Boston already provides and use Medium to publish it.

It took a whole 10 minutes and zero coding or server configuration.

Here is the link: https://data.cityofboston.gov/w/re9v-x52u/?cur=bMAt2MyhOuI&from=root

My visualization built using Boston’s 311 Visualization tool

It’s zoomable and shows the same data, scales fine, and took practically no work.

So maybe don’t just STFU and build it. Find resources you can leverage first, then build it as easily as possible.

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