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Monday, August 30, 2010

Development: Interactive, historical maps for Plainfield area

So, OK, the headline is slightly misleading. These great interactive maps are for the whole of New Jersey, including Plainfield.

They come from a link in yesterday's NYTimes story about New Jersey's 'last million acres', which I finally got time to read last night (see here).

Unless you've been living under a rock for the last thirty years, you know that
SPRAWL has been the dominant New Jersey story for years.

Even mostly-built-up Plainfield has not escaped. Literally hundreds of units of housing -- from condos and townhomes to the luxury offerings of Hovnanian off Woodland Avenue above Muhlenberg Hospital -- have risen over the past couple of decades, proving that change is everywhere, Plainfield included.

Left hand pane shows point selected, right pane shows aerial view
in slideshow of several historical photos.

Not only that, more is on the way, or at least proposed to be on the way.

Whether you are concerned about what the complete 'building out' of New Jersey may mean for our future quality of life, or if you are just curious to get a historical perspective on development in our area, you will want to check out these interactive maps.

The project (see website here) is a project of Rowan University's geospatial labs and Rutgers.

In addition to the interactive maps (here), there is a downloadable report (here, PDF) on the study.

The maps have two panes -- the left-hand map preview, and a right-hand view of the subject area with several historical aerial views.

Simply zoom in on the left hand map to the detail you are interested in and click to center the view. The right hand window will reflect the location you clicked. You can click to re-center as often as you like, and it accepts the tiniest of moves. If you are interested in an area that is 'off screen' simply drag the map when a hand shape appears in any direction you like. (It's a hybrid of Google maps and historical aerial views from Bing.)

There is also a feedback mechanism (see here) for you to offer more information, corrections, or to report problems with the data.

Map geeks, on your mark!


-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Anonymous said...

It would be equally useful to see a map showing the opposite: the growth of blight and the decline of residential values and commercial activity in New Jersey's urban areas. Urban decline, including parts of our dear Plainfield, has generally been in lock step with new residential and commercial developments in underdeveloped areas since the middle of the last century.

It will be interesting to see over the next decade if the significant decrease in house-mobility caused by the real estate slowdown will precipitate increased activism in local government issues. If flight to the newer suburbs and exurbs is a diminishing possibility you might choose to stand and fight.

Blackdog said...

What do you expect from a town that Prudential wanted to make it's world headquarters . . . of course they asked for some concessions, (just as Mack Truck and Macy's and a few others had, but never got), and instead the city put up an $800,000 temporary park there (which by the way kept having decorative shrubbery stolen by theives the police couldn't catch)! Well at least the city did a much better job with the Tepper's property! Maybe Plainfield should secede from Union County and merge with Piscataway in Middlesex county on our border, they know how to stop urban deline, they steal personal property under eminent domain and turn it into a park!