How Graffiti Mapper Exposed Me to an Unknown World: Part 1

27 July 2012 by Spatial Networks

One day I was sitting at work reviewing all of the pictures of graffiti and noticing where they were taken, all over the world, on our in-house graffiti mapper application I thought how cool is this app that can let people, who we do not even know, all over the world, at any given time, post something that they see anywhere that looks like or is graffiti.


I wanted to figure out a way to reach out to this subculture and spread the word that there is a really cool graffiti mapper application that the company I work for has created. I was looking for a way to spread the word, and let everyone know that you can use an iPhone to take pictures of Graffiti, anywhere in the world, and it will instantly be put on a map for all to see. While I started my research, and this is definitely a whole new area of topic to me, I came across a whole other world on graffiti.

It all started when I searched “graffiti” and found all these amazing pictures all over the Internet.Trying to figure out what people were trying to say in their art, then I noticed that there are plenty of supplies out there to purchase to help them in the creation of their art.

During my search, I came across a website that was titled Art Crimes: Best Graffiti Sites I was shocked to see how many artists were listed and how they displayed so much information about themselves and their art. My thoughts immediately were, I have to get the word out to these contacts for graffiti mapper.

I went ahead and sent some emails out. I sent them to graffiti artists that were listed on the website I mentioned above. I sent out a very short generic email saying that I wanted to let them know there is a free/easy graffiti app on the iTunes store for collecting graffiti around the world, and then see it on a map instantly. I did not expect to get any emails back, but I felt as if I was at least spreading the word by sending them. Surprisingly, I got a reply back from a street artist who mentioned that he would not be interested in producing self-incriminating evidence that will be used against him or their friends in court. Since times have changed, way back when, you were only charged one at a time and you had to be caught in the act. Now, the new strategy is to document, tags, analyzing, and categorize them so that the vandal is caught, and then charged with multiple felonies.

I was glad that he brought that to our attention, and I am sure that this is a valid concern for him or any other street artists out there, but Graffiti Mapper is not to be used as a way to get caught or to be tracked by authorities. This is not the use case for this app at all. The idea of mapping graffiti was first thought of by Anthony Quartararo, CEO for Spatial Networks, Inc., to pursue some research into how, over time, graffiti can be analyzed to help assess the relative health of an urban environment. With enough data, and patterns, that this might give an indication of trending issues, local sentiment or progress (decline?) of a given neighborhood or city.

I will continue to learn more about all the angles of graffiti and look at the coin from both sides from the street artists to the authorities. I will continue to reach out to street artists and see how we can get the word out for collecting graffiti to be seen on the graffiti mapper application. In my next blog I plan on sharing some of the more interesting facts that I have found on graffiti, from the laws against it to the jargon that they use.

Do you have any personal experiences with graffiti or their artist? I would love to hear about it or anything else that is relevant you wish to share.

Spatial Networks

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