NYC Wifi Hotspots

Maps, Visualization


In today’s digital world, individuals are highly dependent on internet access. For safety, navigation, work or enjoyment, web connectivity has become a necessity. New York offers paid and unpaid wifi services in public areas to make the internet available and accessible to all. The following map demonstrates wifi hotspot locations in NYC.


I downloaded 2 datasets from NYC Open Data, one with the geocodes and the other with the necessary data. The datasets were clean and ready to be plugged into Carto.


Carto was used for creating and analyzing the map. It is a cloud computing software that provides a wide range of data science and mapping tools.


A case study on Carto – Driving value for Smart Cities with Location Intelligence solutions inspired me to pick this topic. The project aimed at promoting sustainable development using digital solutions for businesses and smart cities.

“Using CARTO, Telefónica developed Urbo, a Smart Cities dashboard whose role-based access equipped various decision-makers with interactive data visualizationsreal-time maps, and customized reports reduce operational costs across the city. These insights have helped administrators reduce operating costs for city services, cut energy consumption levels, and much more!” (


  • Selecting and understanding the dataset

After downloading the dataset, I used Microsoft Excel to understand the data and make the necessary changes in order to clean the data. I then plugged in the dataset with the geocodes into Carto. Further, I added the second dataset as a layer.

  • Changing the Base Map

I changed the base map from the default white voyager to dark matter for clarity and higher contrast.

  • Styling the Map

I started styling the map and started exploring with different point sizes, stroke sizes, and colors.

  • Adding Widgets

Based on the datasets, I tried to add widgets that would help with the analysis and give an overall impression of wifi hotspot locations in NYC. I included the wifi type ( free, limited free and partner site) and wifi provider to the section.

  • Pop – Up & Legend

Taking inspiration from Urbo, I wanted to add the pop-up to get individual details about a particular network. I included the type, provider and exact location of the wifi. Further, I worked upon the legend and made the map’s key.



Overall, Carto is a very useful tool. The learning curve was a bit steeper compared to the other softwares and tools we learned during the semester. One feature that I thought was very useful was the pop-up. It adds to the overall experience and lets a user focus on individual locations and networks. If I were to add to the project, I would like to work with multiple datasets. For example, the distance between subway stations/bus terminals and wifi networks.