Thursday, August 28, 2008

Free Our Data - How to Do It Well

New Orleans Repopulation Map
screen shot of New Orleans Repopulation Map
This map from the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center shows residential addresses actively receiving mail by census block in New Orleans. The mailing list data represents the number of residential addresses per block where the mailman knows someone picks up the mail.

The U.S. Census Bureau's methods for estimating population can't keep up with the extraordinary situation post-Katrina so looking at residential addresses actively receiving mail is one way that population can be estimated. The map shows the population density in June 2008, the darker the shade the higher the density.

CapStat Mapping
screen shot of CapStat map
The District of Columbia's CapStat Mapping application was designed to allow citizens in the district access to local government data with a geographical focus. It allows citizens to access data on crime, public space permits, building permits, locations of schools and service requests from a Google Map.

The map is a great example of how government can provide innovative portals to public data. It is possible to search the map by address or by a number of different pre-defined areas, such as police district, neighbourhood or ward. It is also possible to search the data by date. For example it is possible to search 16th Street Heights for crime on the 26th August.

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