December 16, 2013 3:28 pm

Online initiative shines light on Edmonton’s darkest day

Edmonton City Hall

Emily Mertz, Global News

Edmonton – On Saturday, Edmonton will experience its darkest day with nearly 17 hours of night, and a local group is going to track the thoughts and feelings of Edmontonians and their activities during the day through social media.

Edmonton Pipelines Project is asking Edmontonians to use the hashtag #YEGlongnight to submit tweets, stories, pictures, videos and posts that help shed light on what it means to live a significant portion of the day in darkness.

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“Just capturing what it is like to be in these long nights. How are people staying warm or how they are experiencing the city during these times of darkness,” explains Kisha Supernant, Edmonton Pipelines Project member. “So really just encouraging a real diversity of perspectives on what people are doing on that day and on that night.”

The 24-hour crowd-sourcing event will begin at sunset on Friday and continue until sunset on Saturday.

Results from the event will then be analyzed.

“We’re trying to understand Edmonton and talk about Edmonton and some of these more unconventional ways, and this is something that is not shared with a lot of other cities,” says Supernant.

Edmonton Pipelines Project is a University of Alberta multi-platform initiative that maps Edmonton in unconventional ways, using open city data, digital maps, social media and other interactive tools to visualize the city.

The group was formed because of a belief that Edmonton is an under-studied city.

“That was really the motivation: is how can we start to talk about Edmonton as an urban space, as a city through these different ways of understanding the kind of place that is Edmonton because it is quite under-studied compared to other cities,” says Supernant.

The group held its inaugural event – #YEGlongday – June 21 of this year to commemorate the longest daylight of the year. #YEGlongday reached nearly 9,000 Facebook users and was displayed over 1.2 million times in Twitter timelines.

Analysis of the #YEGlongday event resulted in an extensive timeline, a word cloud, and other statistics, trends and information.

Edmonton Pipelines Project plans to continue to gather data from the #YEGlongday and #YEGlongnight events in the coming years to discover what type of information they are able to obtain.

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