Mapping Local Businesses in Brooklyn

Coming down from a summer filled with local events and good eats, as well as being a proud Brooklynite, I couldn’t help but focus my mapping project on nearby food spots in my borough. Particularly, my map is a visual marking of Black-owned bars and restaurants in my borough. I came across Genese Jamilah’s article list, “Black Owned Restaurants and Bars in New York City and Brooklyn.” There, I extracted Brooklyn based businesses and pinned them on ArcGIS Story Maps. With zero familiarity with ArcGIS, I opted to explore a site cost-friendly and user-friendly. After figuring out gestures–such as dragging mistakes to the trash bin, marking an area with a diamond cursor to create a text box, I gradually grew comfortable with using ArcGIS for a linear map.

While pinning a business, I had access to provide a description of the place, along with a hyperlink to their websites or contact information, and even provide a picture. It can be seen that I attempted to provide an image of the restaurant Amarachi. However, ArcGIS does not provide a function in which users can drag the image to scale. It can be seen that the restaurant sign is partially cut off.

Image cutoff seen above.

Besides the procedural, this assignment led more personal inquiry on the topic. As I was mapping these businesses, I quickly realized the error in that I was mapping from a singular source. Jamilah’s article has many bars and restaurants users may find elsewhere, and more. These businesses all have websites, or Facebook, or Yelp. However, any Flatbush native can assert Jamaican-Guyanese restaurant, McBeans, or Peppa’s Jerk Chicken should be added to the map as well. Another error worth pointing out is that a few internet searches may not provide a comprehensive list, as there is a probability some establishments do not have an online existence.

Another personal inquiry while mapping was the non-existence of black-owned bars and restaurants to the left of Flatbush Avenue. Granted, although it was asserted before the businesses were listed from a single article, along with the knowledge that there may be a probable chance businesses are not present online, I could not help but obsess over the missing marking of black Brooklyn to the left.

Overall, ArcGIS Story Maps is a source I could rely on again for linear maps, and possibly integrate in a K-12 classroom on local history and businesses.