©Benedikt GROSS, Joseph K. LEE

17th Art Division Excellence Award

The Big Atlas of LA Pools

Data art

Benedikt GROSS [Germany]


The Big Atlas of LA Pools is about the process of mapping and mapmaking in a contemporary age of big data, open data, crowdsourcing, and citizen science. As a “twoperson army”, Benedikt GROSS and Joseph K. LEE located and traced the contours of over 43,000 pools and other manmade water bodies — features which computer vision alone could not adequately demarcate. Throughout their project, the two exploited the idea of “crowdsourcing” to process the aerial ortho-imagery of their study area in Los Angeles County and to validate their dataset using commercial online third-party services, such as “clipping farms” and Amazon Mechanical Turk. Furthermore, the authors incorporated additional layers of contextual information that might suggest surprising, intriguing or sinister spatial relationships within LA’s social and physical landscapes.