Collaborative, Mobile Mapping & Social Hub

Re-skinnable Custom Apps, Time-based Maps, & Data Feeds

Community Design Process

Great tools are driven by community needs. Tidepools emerged alongside the Red Hook WiFi Mesh Network, from brainstorming & collaborative design sessions with folks at the Red Hook Initiative (RHI), in Brooklyn NY. It continues to evolve, as it is modified by other communities to suit their needs.

In-Depth Customization

Visualize your community's vibe. Tidepools is designed modularly, making it easy to customize maps, tools, and themes.

Rich Interaction

Unlike many mapping tools, which require users to fill out a form, or have location services turned on, Tidepools allows users to interact via drag and drop. Users can engage in threaded conversations about multiple types of content and add to the map via SMS text. All content is stored not just by location but also time, allowing landmarks to grow and change with fluctuating activity.


Tidepools is a re-skinnable collaborative mobile mapping platform for gathering and sharing hyperlocal information and culture through expressive, community maps and data feeds, enabling greater connectivity and communication among neighbors and local organizations.

Tidepools bridges the digital and physical space of a neighborhood, storing its data on local servers and broadcasted over WiFi so it can run even without reliance on an Internet connection. It integrates location-specific civic data in situ, including real time transit notifications and community safety issues. Community members can share events, user-created map layers and landmarks, and other local temporal information, creating a historical geospatial community database.

Check out variations of Tidepools IN THE WILD above, to see how Tidepools has been used in Red Hook, Brooklyn, Hurricane Sandy, Gezi Park Protests in Turkey, or for the Allied Media Conference in Detroit.

Tidepools Desktop Code:
  • Javascript / jQuery
  • Leaflet.js
  • PHP
  • MongoDB

Tidepools Mobile code:
  • Angular.js
  • Node.js
  • Mongoose / MongoDB
  • Express
  • Leaflet.js
  • jQuery

Needs-Specific Mobile Apps

Status / SMS

SMS texting to map locations was developed after Hurricane Sandy hit Red Hook, as a way for folks to text their needs & repairs to a Red Hook Initiative responder map. Users monitoring the map can reply directly back to the texter, in threaded conversations, through the web interface.

Reports are added to the map using natural language locations and nicknames (i.e. "Need Water Pump @ Van Brundt and Pioneer Brooklyn").

Where's the B61 Bus?

The B61 bus, one of the few public transit options in Red Hook, is never on time. This app uses the MTA's Real Bus Time API to provide information on nearby and arriving busses in the Red Hook area. It also adds bus locations to a real-time map of Red Hook.

Posting flyers is not allowed in the Red Hook Houses, so the app link was spread via magnets attached to bus stop signs and handed out to residents to put on their fridges.

Stop & Frisk

Due to the high number of NYPD Stop, Question, & Frisk incidents in the Red Hook neighborhood, members of the Community Change Workers (CCWs) at RHI have been collecting their own data on these incidents. While they've been surveying residents on their experiences with the NYPD on paper, the CCWs wanted to adapt the survey digitally.

Along with a web form, users can plot their time-based Stop & Frisk survey reports onto a local map. Soon, others will be able to comment on a reported incident, write witness accounts, and add images/videos documenting the encounter. All of the data is stored locally and owned by the community.

Coming Soon

APIs! Sensors! Grow your own Data Ecosystem

A Visual Interface for the "Internet of Things (and Humans)"
We're making it easier to pull in your favorite web and social media content:

  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Tumblr
  • Vine
  • Soundcloud

And a plug & play interface for open-source Sensors + Nodes, such as:

Extensive Mobile Web App, rehauled Desktop App

A newly built and designed Mobile Web App for interacting with the Tidepools data ecosystem will be introduced at Allied Media Conference 2013. Desktop app redesign coming soon.

Integration with Local Weather, Timezones, Seasons

Collecting data through local environmental sensors and remote APIs, Tidepools become responsive to current, local weather and times of day, allowing community members to experience information in both locational and temporal contexts.