Boston, MA: Data Spring Cleaning – Easy Mapmaking for Boston Food Truck Lunch Schedule

By Kyle Gibson  |  BostInno


It’s springtime again in Boston, and that means the food trucks are back. The new official Food Truck Schedule for April 2015 was released this week, and unfortunately that information lives on a .gov address, which means it will never be convenient and will always have inconsistencies.

I’m always interested in trying out a new food truck, so I went to check out the workday lunch schedule. Annoyingly, only a handful of the listings on the official site had proper Google Maps links. The only way of finding where a new food truck is by decrypting the site’s location descriptions, such as “Rose Kennedy Greenway, Dewey Square, South Station.” That’s not super helpful to someone on an empty stomach and a short lunch break.

So, in the interest of lunch, I have cleaned up the important part of the city’s official schedule and created a custom Google map. Introducing:

Boston Food Truck Lunch Schedule

This map was made using the recently updated Google My Maps and the spreadsheets app on Google Drive. You can upload any spreadsheet (.csv or .xls) to My Maps that has at least one column with coordinates, an address, or the name of a city/state/country, and it will make a map that you can embed on any site. It’s an excellent tool for content marketing, as well as finding food trucks.

One warning, though: with spreadsheet-heavy projects, such as this food truck map, it’s important to keep your data clean and consistent. The messiness of the city’s official website slowed down my lunch selection process a tiny bit, but it slowed down my data mining a whole lot. I really don’t have time to make a map for breakfast or lunch, or the weekends…so this map doesn’t help if you’e looking for dinner on Friday. Also, I have plans.

To help you out, though, here are the websites of every new Boston food truck for April 2015: