New app maps NYC homeless like they’re potholes to be avoided
Want to know where the homeless people are in New York City? There’s an app for that!
The app allows New Yorkers with GPS-enabled smartphones to take photos of homeless New Yorkers. These photos are automatically pinned to a Google Map of New York City so that other users of the app can click on and view them.
In addition to the name of the user who took the photo and date that the photo was taken, users can append descriptive hashtags, such as: #AggresiveBegging, #Threat, #Man, #Woman, #NeedsMedicalAid, #Sleeping, #Smoking, #Crack, #Encampment, and so on.
The app is quite sparse, with only five options: Users can take a photo, view the map, view the photos they have taken, or view the most recent photos taken by all app users. The fifth option, “Settings”, simply consists of the default user name the app will attach to a user’s photos, which the user can change.
The app is clearly in the same—but much meaner—spirit of one that might crowd-source reports of potholes or works crews or other such obstructions that can unexpectedly interfere with one’s plans in a big city.
Big city, big homeless problem — a little heartless though
NYC Map the Homeless was created last August by David Fox, a 25-year-old data engineer from Murray Hill, New York, according to the New York Post, because he grew fed up with “transients aggressively begging and urinating in the street — while his local politicians turn a blind eye”.
According to the Village Voice, the app grew out of a Facebook group called “Third and 33rd (and Beyond),” where Fox and the other 600 members have been actively posting photos of homelessness people from around their neighborhood.
The Voice cites figures from the Coalition for the Homeless, showing that New York City is currently home to more than 58,760 homeless people.
That’s about one homeless person for every 143.05 New Yorkers—more than one a block in dense Manhattan—and certainly the highest rate since the Great Depression!
Fox is described as hoping that as more people use the app it will reveal “hot spots” and alert people to “high concentrations of hobos in particular neighborhoods or streets”.
The more I think about this Map the Homeless app, the more I think that Alice and her friends in Resident Evil could use one just like it, but for zombies.
Oh…snap! Click the images to enlarge them.