It’s a great time to be a planner – professional or amateur. As the once-theoretical notion of sustainability continues to take root in communities across the globe, we’ve begun to see innovative and very useful tools emerge into the mainstream. One of the latest such tools is Mapnificent.
Released just last week, Mapnificent is a free online mapping tool that shows users the area they can reach with public transportation from any point at any given time. It’s available for 19 major cities in the U.S., including Buffalo.
Mapnificent combines Google Maps with publicly available data from local transportation authorities (e.g., NFTA) to give users a dynamic visual representation of travel time by bus and rail. This new planning support tool has the potential to inform everything from real estate decisions to your selection of a lunch spot this afternoon.
Let’s say that you work in downtown Buffalo and are looking for an apartment that is within a 20-minute public transit ride of your workplace. First, place a marker on your workplace, and then set your travel time to 20 minutes. You can now see all of the areas where you can live so that you’ll need 20 minutes or less to get to work.
On the other hand, maybe you’re not planning to move, but you’re interested in knowing how connected your home or office is to other area landmarks via public transportation. With Mapnificent, you can place a marker on a given location and adjust the settings function to display a color-coded map. This feature allows you to see a colorized representation of how fast you can reach other areas from your selected location.
Perhaps this afternoon, you’d like to meet up with a few friends for lunch, but you each work in different areas of the city. Mapnificent allows you to place two or more markers on the map and adjust the settings to display the common areas (using the “intersect” application) where you and your friends can meet each other within a set number of minutes by taking public transportation. Using the Google search feature, you can then search for your food preference (e.g., pizza) to reveal potential lunch spots that fall within your commute time intersection.
For more Mapnificent features, check out their video tutorial.