Introducing Silent L.A.
A new open-source template for a black base map about Southern California
Today we announce the release of Silent L.A., a free and open-source base map for Southern California. It is designed to serve as a black backdrop for overlaying bright data visualizations. We put it to use Monday with this interactive map of past mayoral election results in the city of Los Angeles. You can see the base layer by itself in this demonstration map. The source code is hosted on GitHub.
In November, The Times open-sourced Quiet L.A., a separate base layer with more detail than this design.
What’s in it
The map is generated entirely using open data. Roads are provided by OpenStreetMap, a free database that could be fairly called the Wikipedia of maps. The locations and labels for cities and other places are provided by the U.S. Census via a data portal published by Investigative Reporters and Editors. Los Angeles neighborhoods are provided by The Times’ own Mapping LA project, which was built out of a crowdsourcing collaboration with Times readers.
What you can do
If you’d like to participate in improving Silent L.A., here are a few ideas:
- Work on configuring the existing features for a new zoom level.
- Fork the repository and apply our style to your area.
- Improve the display and size of motorway labels at each zoom level.
- Spot something ugly and point it out.
Much respect due
The technical design of Quiet L.A. is heavily borrowed from MapBox’s excellent osm-bright. The cosmetic design was inspired by Radical Cartography and the Chicago Tribune News Applications team.