Boston’s Inner Irish Green

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Boston. Today is a day held in very high esteem among the Boston Irish (by which I mean… everyone). And what better way to celebrate this day cartographically than to showcase the green in our fair city? Playing off of Andy’s post on building footprints, here is a map that shows only green spaces (most notably, parks).

By the looks of it, Boston seems well justified in calling itself “The Dublin of New England”. No need to dump green dye in the Charles. Have a look…

Look close enough and you might start seeing shamrocks.

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3 Responses to Boston’s Inner Irish Green

  1. Charles Bahne says:

    What’s really fascinating here is to see what is, and is not, considered to be “green space” by Google. Boston City Hall Plaza is green space; cemeteries, golf courses, and athletic fields are not. At Harvard, the Old Yard is green space, nearby New Yard (Tercentenary Theatre) is not, even though it’s just as large and just as grassy. And there’s a traffic island at Brattle & Mount Auburn Streets that they consider green space. (Partly paved but some shrubbery.) I’d say it’s about as accurate as Google Maps tends to be.

    • Tim Wallace says:

      Excellent comment about the accuracy of Google Maps. The amount of trust we tend to have in Google Maps (and our GPS units and place-based applications) is frightening. The honest truth here, however, is that the “green space” I have mapped is classified as “Point of Interest: Park” by Google. So, some of the classification errors you point out may actually be correct (I’ve just inadvertently mislead–what a reckless cartographer I am!). Currently, Google Styled Maps offers 8 “Point of Interest” classes: Attraction, Business, Government, Medical, Park, Place of Worship, School, Sports Complex. This seems an odd set of features to me and–I’m sure–leads to some classification errors. Nevertheless, it is pretty great that Google even allows developers to style their maps. So, as long as we can accept the maps for what they are (flawed, but “free”), there is something to be happy about.

      • Charles Bahne says:

        I should add that part of Fresh Pond Reservation is considered a park by Google, but about half isn’t. Can’t figure out the logic on that one!

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