Cabspotting: an alternate view of a living city

Cabyellow Cablapse
A group of designers and programmers led by Eric Rodenbeck of the mind-blowing Stamen Design firm created the wonderful Cabspotting.org, an online art experience that traces the movement of San Francisco's GPS-enabled Yellow Cabs as they move through the city. It's part of the Exploratorium's larger Invisible Dynamics initiative to "reveal radically surprising and inspiring views of the systems interconnecting the communities of the Bay." The Exploratoirum is also encouraging the creation of artist's projects, basically novel mash-ups of the same data that drives Cabspotting.org's real-time cab tracking (image at left) and time lapse (still frame at right) visualizations. This is stunning work. From the project description:
We are already familiar with the dominant street-map view of our city. (Invisible Dynamics) will reveal other ways of seeing our environment, such as the view of the sewer infrastructure; the flow of water; the commercial activity of boats, trucks and planes; or the ecological activities of the marshes and wetlands surrounding the bay.

Cabspotting is designed as a living framework to use the activity of commercial cabs as a starting point to explore the economic, social, political and cultural issues that are revealed by the cab traces. Where do cabs go the most? Where do they never turn up? Cab Projects are vehicles for artists, writers, or researchers to explore these issues in the form of a small experiment, investigation or observation. These projects will be included on an ever-growing Cabspotting site to form a continually expanding view of the anthropological record created by this system.
Link