I discovered CartoDB— a free and open source web mapping tool– through a class I’m currently taking titled “Hacking the Humanities.” Upon learning about ol’ Carto and other tools for visualizing/analyzing spatial data I developed a strong (and unfamiliar) desire to make digital maps.
My ambitions were momentarily thwarted when I realized I had no location data to map. But then came a surreal moment of total clarity, and I knew what had to be done.
Since October 16, I have painstakingly logged the GPS coordinates of my every poop using an app called GPS Logger for Android. I transmitted these time-stamped coordinates to Google Drive, and then uploaded them to CartoDB. Now, as fall term at Carleton comes to an end, it is my honor and privilege to present to you the results of my labor: a gorgeous and interactive poop map!
This cumulative torque map animates the appearance of the poops over time, and colors the more high-density poop areas more brightly. Unsurprisingly, the two most high density areas are Farm House (my place of residence) and the Gould Library (my place of monastic asceticism) though some audacious poops can be spotted downtown–near the Blue Mondays Coffee Shop and Tandem Bagels– as well as near CANOE house, the Mini Bald Spot, and the Weitz.
While this lone poop may bring joy and inspiration to many, I have far grander ambitions for future poop mapping projects.
One idea is to create a competitive, social poop mapping app wherein users would create and share poop maps in real time, and receive points for spectacular pooping feats. For example, a user could receive points for:
- logging three consecutive poops more than 5 miles apart
- pooping in a new state or country
- pooping at more than 6,000 feat above sea level, or
- being the first user to log a poop in a given town
To augment the power of this application, we could potentially incorporate a yelp-like public restroom ranking feature, bringing to fruition George Costanza’s dream.
Or perhaps we could incorporate a PoopChat feature, as first proposed by my friend Miranda Wiebe. Would this allow you to chat with a pooping friend? Or a random stranger pooping across the globe?
If one wanted to turn a profit from such an app, perhaps one could sell the poop data to a medical research institution wishing to better understand typical poop habits.
The possibilities are endless! This map marks my humble first steps into the world of poop tech, a field that is poised to become one of the most exciting and lucrative industries in coming years. I would advise my peers to also investigate working in poop tech, or risk being discarded down the pipes of obsolescence, along with a heterogeneous mass of skilled but unemployable effluvium.