Painting with data is a user-friendly, collaborative, web-based platform for analyzing and visualizing spatial data.

Build your own spatial models.

Voxel map showing cancer (magenta), cancer incidence (turquoise), and home value (red) data from NYC.


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With Painting with Data, users can create an interactive map and explore relationships between georeferenced datasets leading to sound, informed policy or business decisions.

Painting with Data utilizes voxels, which are a two-dimensional representation of a three-dimensional overlay, to compute different variables into a single map.

Through an easy-to-use online interface, users can upload spatial datasets, or use the datasets available in the platform, creating spatial models that allow them to iteratively think about the correlations among datasets, and build spatial models on the fly.

The spatial models can then be easily shared and built in collaboration with numerous users or citizens.

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About Painting with Data

Increasingly, geospatial data are becoming a standard aspect of decision-making in both private and public sectors due to recent strides in spatial data capture. While the data may be plentiful, the technical skills required to understand and analyze it may not always be present. Painting with Data facilitates the analysis and visualization of spatial data by dramatically reducing the steep learning curve required for most geographic information system (GIS) software.

Painting with Data is an online tool for analyzing and visualizing spatial data. The tool combines functional and representational modeling through a real-time and user-friendly interface, with the objective of lowering the barriers of entry to urban modeling and interaction.

Painting with Data provides users with a more intuitive and visually-based method of understanding spatial data in order to tell a compelling story, iteratively exploring spatial correlations, without the upfront cost of spending long time learning software.

Contrary to traditional mapping software that operates as a database paired with a map or a graphical representation, Painting with Data allows users to directly manipulate the map itself instead of through abstract numbers and symbols. This creates a more intuitive way of understanding spatial data and creating spatial models, and redefines the way in which users explore and gain intuitions from spatial data.

Additionally, Painting with Data introduces a visual coding interface through drag-and-drop building blocks which allows for ‘real-time’ geospatial computing, extending its mapping and analytical capacities. Through user-generated building-blocks, the visual coding language allows the extension of the software according to the needs of the user, and generates a broader user-community. Through its open-source, web-based availability the software allows multi-disciplinary collaborations, facilitating the display and shareability of spatial data modeling. Through its features, our software allows non-experts to access spatial models providing contextual knowledge.

With an account, users are able to upload spatial data and create projects that are accessible anytime they log in. You simply need a valid email address and shapefiles to upload. Painting with Data is currently compatible with numeric data and requires polygon shapefiles. Future functionality will include point and line data.

Team and Collaborators

Painting with Data was initiated by Carlos Sandoval Olascoaga as a research project. The continued development of the application has been made possible through a talented group of multidisciplinary researchers at MIT.

Carlos Sandoval Olascoaga

Ting-Kai Chang

Wenzhe Peng

Yaateh Richardson