San Diego Datascape


Thanks for playing around with San Diego Datascape! We think it's pretty cool, and we hope you agree.


The 3D map display is pretty compute-intensive, so the faster the machine, the better. But even on a three-year-old laptop, it can run at a decent clip. However, you definitely need two things:

We've tested with many, though not all, browsers. Most of them will display the information, but some are reasonably fast, while others crawl. Even on the same machine, one browser can be five times faster than another. No joke.


On Windows, Firefox does a pretty good job. That's what we used for the video.

Internet Explorer 9 is very fast, but has a drawback: the sliders don't show up as sliders, but as text boxes, because IE doesn't support that HTML5 feature. So you'll have to type the numbers in yourself, which isn't as cool. It still works properly, though.

Chrome was considerably slower.


On the Mac, the only high-performance option we found was Firefox version 3.6. That version was decently speedy on a laptop. Unfortunately, like IE9, it displays text boxes instead of sliders. That's a small price to pay for performance, in our opinion.

Safari and Chrome, by contrast, were not very fast. It seems like they run the Javascript in a sandbox container to avoid having it crash the browser, which impacts performance. And unfortunately, newer versions of Firefox are just as slow. Web research found several references to settings which can disable the plugin container, but nothing seemed to work short of reverting to version 3.6. But really, finding the right neighborhood is so important that it's surely worth reverting to Firefox 3.6, right?


Hopefully you'll find the interface pretty easy to use. Just enter your commute location, check the boxes for the boroughs in which you're interested, and voila! Towering pylons of desirability should start popping up in the Google Earth pane. Click on an area to see more about it. Then, for the full glory, click on the fly by button.

If you need more detailed instructions, here they are!


If you care to know the details of how we score different areas, you can read about our methodology.

Comments and suggestions welcome! Drop us a line at