Here Here [herehere.co], developed by Future Social Experiences (FuSE) Labs at Microsoft Research, expresses neighborhood-specific public data by mapping it as text labels and cartoon-like iconography.
The data is based on New York City's 311 non-emergency data stream, consisting of the concerns and issues as reported by New York residents via email, phone calls, or text messages. Each day, HereHere pulls this 311 data for each neighborhood and identifies the most compelling, important 311 request types, after which the system generates appropriate cartoons and text that represent a neighborhood's typical reactions.
The iconographic communication approach is coined as 'characterization', and hypothesized to bring immediacy and a human scale to an otherwise overwhelming amount of abstract information. Next to developing an intriguing publicly available map, FuSE Labs wants to understand how this characterization can be a tool for data engagement, and aims to measure the impact of how people relate to their community when they can interact with data in this way.