Final Project Proposal: Zombies in Bellingham
Perhaps after watching too many episodes of The Walking Dead and seeing Resident Evil 1 and 2 for the first time last weekend I came up with a project that I am really excited to start. Essentially my project is going to identify safe areas and buildings during a zombie invasion. My goal is to use this lighthearted premise to utilize the skills in GIS that I have developed through the course of my work here. I will approach this project with a similar mindset to identifying emergency shelters but with different criteria. Ultimately I would like to create a web map that people can visit and identify safe areas in their neighborhoods to go in case of an emergency of this nature.
There are many questions and issues I will face when I approach this project. First of all there is no database of zombie safe buildings available. This means that I will have to generate the safe spots myself based on whatever criteria I decide is the most important. Developing the criteria is going to take some research. However, this step will be enjoyable because I have the opportunity to watch more zombie movies and read zombie books. While researching I will identify areas that represent the safest kinds of buildings. Areas of safety might include buildings with multiple storeis, ones near a source of food, probably outside high density areas etc. After reviewing the literature I will perform the necessary data manipulation and extraction using all my skills.
In order to make this applicable to the general zombie obsessed audience I will create an interactive web map using the Flex viewer we worked with. Depending on the amount of time the data collection and working takes I hope to experiment with time sliders. Possibly I could create an infected slider showing how the virus traveled. I will have to create a scenario to account for how the zombie apocalypse began and how it is transmitted. This is another objective of my research. I believe people will have fun with my map and enjoy its purpose.
With luck I will be working with county wide data. Currently I have building footprints of Bellingham which is what I did my preliminary 11x17 map with but I want to extend this to the areas outside the city since often times fleeing to farms is the best safety in zombie movies. The remoteness offers much greater protection. I also want to work with census 2010 data to identify areas that are quickest to become hotspots of the diseased. Because I am working with a local study region most of the data is already downloaded on the J Drive. I also want data about vendors so I can identify stores with guns, stores with food etc. that could be critical in survival. I Geocoded addresses of stores in Whatcom County that sell hunting permits as a way to identify stores that probably sell guns. If I could get a hold of a more complete dataset of licensed gun vendors that would be ideal. I will continue to look around online and possibly send an inquiry to the ATF if necessary.
Other than continually contributing ideas to my research and criteria, I do not foresee this being a project that I need much help with. People seem excited about it so I definitely value input. As of right now I have no institutional support from anywhere.
The map I included as part of my formal proposal has a few elements I wish to explore deeper next quarter. Looking at only Bellingham, I used 3 criteria to classify buildings. First I extracted multistory buildings from the building footprint dataset (red). From those buildings I identified ones that were further than 2 miles from a store that sells guns (orange). Then I identified “hotspots” represented by commercial or institutional zoning areas that will have a higher infection population (yellow). The areas that were left I classified as “safe” (green) although there are really no safe places in the zombie apocalypse. My map took an hour and a half so I am optimistic I can work the data effectively next quarter to combine complex criteria and range of safety.