I’ve done a little bit of thinking about how to proceed, and that’s enough to know that it’s beyond the scope of what I can undertake on my own in the next few months.
I’d love to see this app happen. Anyone else?
The link posted in the comments of that second proposal points to an Excel spreadsheet with nearly 700 points of interest in it. This could be a starting point.
Most records have a street address, but none are geo-coded. Some fields would need to be cleaned up or split before they could be used to selectively query the data. For example, several rows in the year column have multiple values — date built and date remodeled, perhaps? — which would need to be in different columns to enable sorting/filtering based on year. There seem to be some other irregularities which might need to be parsed and researched individually.
An App, As-Is
Once it is cleaned up, the dataset could be hosted on PDXAPI so that it’s re-usable by other projects, too.
The code I’ve written for the PDX Trees app could be adapted to display these historical sites, with some modifications to the data models and detail screens. I have a version that reads directly from PDXAPI and another that reads from Core Data on the iPhone.
The data set has an architectural style listed for most locations, and this could tie in with online reference materials like Wikipedia, where available.
The ideas posted to Civic Apps mentioned integrating stories and imagery for each site. An app rich with historical details, images, and personalities would certainly have a wider appeal than a simple map and text version.
Doing that well would require wrangling and reformatting text and media assets for at least a few hundred sites, and that’s a book-sized project. Unless, of course, someone has already written such a book, and is open to licensing stories and images for re-use in an app.
Are there any stories or story collections available in the public domain, under a Creative Commons license, or some other easily re-usable format?
The same questions for photos: Are there any public domain or CC-licensed photos available?
If not, maybe it would be possible to use government data as an outline or scaffold for crowd-sourced details? That would require broad and sustained community engagement, given the scope of the data.
Over the next few months, I’d be happy to take on some of the data work, re-purpose my existing iPhone code, and start planning for a richer version.
Anyone else want to join in?