Intro to Mapping

Last edited: Tuesday July 21st

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This is a reference for mapping the movements of both protestors and cops. The goal of this mapping is to provide a real-time visual representation of movements across the city. This is also a reference for working together with other members of the collective - transcribers and tweeters, specifically - to make sure that clear, helpful information is given to people on the ground in a timely manor.


When you’re live mapping, it’s best to keep a few resources on hand for quick reference.

Additionally, there is a lot of information available in the NYPD Radio Transcription Document that will help guide your mapping.

Working With Transcribers

In an ideal environment, mappers will be working in tandem with transcribers to get information out in both tweet and map form. During busy times (and ideally all times) it will be helpful to have extra sets of ears listening to the scanners, working to decode the language and discussing with transcribers what information is more relevant to get out to people on the groud.

Because of this, mappers will need to know how transciption works and should be very familiar with the Transcription Document.

The Basics

Access to the Maps

The mapping platform is located here and is available for the public to view:

To gain edit to post, you will need to reach out to a member of the mapping team to get a personal key. Once you have the key, you can edit by clicking “If you have a key, click here to start adding”. You’ll be prompted to enter your personal key and then given access to edit.


In addition to the basic map, there are multiple overlays that can be helpful as you track cops and groups:

Traffic Cams

This overlay shows you live camera feeds across the city. Once turned on, you can click on any camera icon on the map to see live footage at that location. This can be helpful to track cops and groups and confirm that information over the radios is accurate


This overlay will show you the live location of any cop helicopter in the city.


This overlay will show you the cities precinct numbers, as well as their borders. This can be helpful to quickly know which radios to listen to. For instance - cops could be tracking a group on a citywide radio, but hand it off to a precinct to track. Knowing what precinct the group is in makes it easier to find them on a different radio band.


Unlike event entries, static entries are ones that stay on the map at all times and are helpful as reference when mapping. Currently, these static entries include:

What to Post

In general, mappers entries will coincide with transcribers posts. For that reason, it’s important to know how transcribing work is done and be in active communication with transcribers, as mentioned in the Working with Transcribers section. There are times that extra data points might be added to the map that aren’t necessary to tweet. If a protest group is travelling slowly, we might add a point on the map that shows where they are, but wait to tweet until a larger movement occurs.

The Parts of Every Map Event Entry

Each map post has multiple components, which are all necessary to relay a complete picture of what’s happening in real time.


This is concise language about what is occuring, following the same framing as the transcriber (and can frequently use the same language as any tweet that goes out). For example: “Group of ~100 protestors moving north on Brooklyn Bridge Blvd from Tillary.”


This is the reader-friendly version of the location of the event. When possible, you should use cross streets, and not just a single street name. For example: “Brooklyn Bridge Blvd at Tillary”. In the event you know an exact address, you can state that (“31 Chambers Street”). If you are tracking people in a park or other location not on a street, simply state that (“Washington Square Park”)

Lat/Long Coordinates

This is the computer-friendly version of the location, and where the map will mark whatever entry you post. This is just done by clicking on the map where you’d like to add the marker. Once you click, the coordinates will show up below the Location text area. There are times when you might not know the exact location. For example, you might find out that a group is heading west on Atlantic Avenue, and crossed Kingston a few minutes ago. That doesn’t give you a good indication of where they are at the moment, so use your best judgement. As you keep tracking groups, you’ll start to know how quickly they move and will be able to place markers even more accurately.


This is the icon that will show up on the map when an event is logged. There are multiple options:

Events vs Static Locations

Most of what you add to the map will be “events”. These are things actively happening in the city. When you put them on the map, they stay there for one hour, and then fade to a lighter color. After 24 hours, they disappear, making way for new data.

Static locations, on the other hand, never disappear. They are also added less frequently. The components of these posts are the same as Event posts, with the only change being the label type. For Statis locations, you can add Jails, Cameras, Phones, Police Buildings, Military Buildings, or Other.


Much like transcription, mapping can feel overwhelming at first. There is so much information coming in and going out so quickly. Don’t hesitate to reach out to other members online. We’ve all started out feeling the same anxiety. Sometimes a street is mentioned that you swear is not in the city, or three groups suddenly shows up in different parts of the city! Or maybe the cops on the radios are confused and saying contradictory information. Have no fear - there are multiple people that can help you out, and asking for help or clarity is the best way to get back on track.