Living in a city where everyone’s second favorite hobby is smoking (the first being eating), I struggle with finding spots that are completely smoke-free or at least have non-smoking spaces. Our options being limited doesn’t help either, since non-smoking places are restricted. My struggle toned down after I discovered Arthur Dolmajian’s Smoke Free Map. Initially, Smoke Free Map was only a fraction of a bigger project Dolmajian was working on, but he launched it sooner because more and more people started showing interest in smoke-free places.
There are 5 pin colors in Smoke Free Map:
-Green for places that are completely smoke-free, or as the website says: Breathe freely!
-Orange for partially smoke-free places (Really, I’m trying to quit!).
-Red for a smoker’s paradise (Bye bye lungs!).
-Gray for places that have no information whether it’s smoke-free or not (You and your luck!).
-Blue and pink is for submitted notes.
Out of all the colors there, green is the one that has the least pins (only 24). With more than 490 gray pins, people can add information if they know a certain place is smoke-free or not. You can also filter the map by selecting what kind of places you’re looking for by adding or taking out layers. The interactive map is easy to use and it’s crowd-sourced, which means users can contribute to it by either having an OpenStreetMap account or by adding "notes" from within the website and letting other mappers (who have OpenStreetMap accounts) make the changes.
To all people who enjoy breathable air and need to find some-free heaven quickly, I highly recommend Smoke Free Map.
Another useful website by Arthur Dolmajian people can find handy is Quality of Life Calculator. This allows you to calculate and assess a certain area based entirely on location data of services and amenities available there. Road connectivity, time or other socio-economic information are not included. Why is this useful for us? If you want to buy a house in an area where you’d like to have more supermarkets, schools, clinics or anything else, Quality of Life Calculator comes to your help.
We, average citizens, who do not possess data, use the Standard Mode. First, you pick a city to analyze.
Then, you choose a diameter, which then divides the city of choice into a hexagonal grid of set diameter.
The next step is deciding what services and amenities you want to use for the analysis. There are three categories: amenity, shop, and leisure, with over 70 choices. You can have maximum 5 picks, but, the less you choose, the more accurate the results are. After choosing the services and/or amenities for the analysis, you proceed to the equation. You’re also given the option to calculate a quality of life score by single count (checking if a service is available or not), or multiple count (a way that takes into account every occurrence of a service). Here, you decide which of your choices are more important by assigning a weight to each one. For example, if you’ve picked school and restaurant, and you think both are equally important, the equation is automatically divided equally.
But, if you think that finding schools in your area of choice is more important, you divide the equation accordingly, as long as the total adds up to 1.
Once you’re done with the numbers, the tool downloads the information from OpenStreetMap and voila, the results of the analysis are ready. The information is visible both on the hexagonal grid, and a report is also prepared.
The results can be exported in JSON format and you can download the data in GeoJSON format.
As for the Pro Mode, you upload your own data, boundary file and service files in GeoJSON format. This version is more fitting for city planners.
As useful as Quality of Life Calculator is, the data imported from OpenStreetMap is slightly flawed. Since not every feature has been mapped yet, the same feature can be tagged as a polygon (building, park, etc.) and as a point as well (normally inside the polygon). This makes the tool count it twice.