Open Data/Open Minds is a prototyping initiative that explores the possibilities of connected learning, fabrication, open data and civic engagement. Working with craftsperson and CS instructor Natalie Freed, we’ve prototyped a series of a connected notebook projects using wifi and wireless dev boards from Particle.io.

The Tide Notebook, our first demonstration, ecords the height of the tide in real-time, pulling information from the internet into the notebook. A set of parallel circuits register the height of the tide whenever the circuit system — and the notebook — is  on a network. Read about it in a pair of of blog posts from NEXMAP’s first project manager and learning designer Jennifer Dick. Here she describes the making of the Tide Notebook and here she documents her own hacking with a rechargeable battery from a mobile phone.

Handmade book by Natalie Freed. Topic: San Francisco Bay, including maps, reflection, design ideas, technical instructions on the use of the Spark Core from Particle.io; the height of the tide is pulled from NOAA.gov and a monitoring station just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.


Early Bird or a Night Owl? When are you most creative? A poll developed for our work with the Fluency Project at Carnegie Mellon’s CREATE LAB and shared at Bay Area Maker Faire 2017.

Early Bird or a Night Owl? When are you most creative? A poll developed for our work with the Fluency Project at Carnegie Mellon’s CREATE LAB and shared at Bay Area Maker Faire 2017.

Data Gathering with Connected Paper

Proof-of-concept

Our work on data literacy led us to this proof of concept for paper as an input interface to support the development of problem statements, research protocols, and the integration of craft with edtech, and applications to support visualization work and physical computing.

Building on the skills and understanding in the Hack Your Notebook series, here a circuit system on a paper template is used to gather binary, observational data. Results are collected in a Google Sheet.  In addition to the Particle Electron for wireless connectivity, we use Chibitronics Chibi chip and its flex PCB to carry signal and maintain contact between the paper and the electronic components.


City Dashboard

Crafting Local Data Stories

The prototype work below pulls  public feeds into a pop-up format. This version for Austin, TX displays temperature, time of day, traffic levels downtown, and AQI. Curiously, information on pollen levels — heavily documented and a major concern for Austin residents — was not available for integration through an open API. Why would that be? These are the kinds of questions we want to address and explore with Open Data/Open Minds.

Left: Pop-up mechanics, LED setup for temperature values, and  wireless connections via Particle Electron. Center: Draft illustration of culminating project (with LEDs, pop-up and servo) for the city of Portland, OR in Hack Your Notebook #4 Automate Your Ideas, Working with Servos. Right: Pre-assembly for Austin, TX data dashboard with Congress St. bridge in the foreground.

Left: Pop-up mechanics, LED setup for temperature values, and  wireless connections via Particle Electron. Center: Draft illustration of culminating project (with LEDs, pop-up and servo) for the city of Portland, OR in Hack Your Notebook #4 Automate Your Ideas, Working with Servos. Right: Pre-assembly for Austin, TX data dashboard with Congress St. bridge in the foreground.


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Moz Open Leaders Program

NEXMAP at Mozfest, London, October 27-29

This fall David Cole and Elisabeth Sylvan were accepted for Mozilla’s Open Leaders Program, “a cohort of project leads fueling the Internet Health Movement.” Participants receive mentorship and training through the Mozilla Network in a 12-week online program on working open. Open Data/Open Minds is our lead project — we’re thrilled to be part of the program. Follow us on twitter @sfnexmap for updates from Lis from the festival. She’ll be on site at Ravensbourne in London sharing the work in talks, gallery sessions and demonstrations. Learn more about the the project on our github page.