Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Democratising Data with Google Maps

District of Columbia CapStat Mapping Application

Washington D.C. created CapStat to provide real-time access to the District’s operational data. CapStat was designed for data-sharing among local government departments and to give other local agencies and D.C. residents access to many District data sets. Part of that design includes the CapStat Mapping Application

This application, built on Google Maps, was designed to allow citizens access to Government data and provide a tool for quick mapping by location and time. The map allows anyone to choose an area in Washington D.C. and see all Crime Incidents, Service Requests, Public Space Permits, Building Permits and Schools.

As well as providing this Google Maps of the city's data CapStat have released a Citywide Data Warehouse, which uses RSS feeds to release data from 150 sources, ranging from crimes to pothole reports. Anyone can use this data to create their own Google Map mashups. CapStat also have an examples page highlighting the mashups that have been created with data from the site.

Recycle Torrance

The City of Torrance, California has created this great Google Map showing the city's recycling centers. The centers are divided into a number of categories; Automotive, Computer/Electronics, Containers and Paper, Cosmetic and Health, Household Cleaners, Lawn and Garden, Miscellaneous and Paint and Related.


Researchers in the Center for Excellence in Rural Safety (CERS) have integrated data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System to map every reported traffic accident in the US. Using the map anyone in the United States can view the roads with the most fatal crashes in their neighborhood.

Users can filter a search of their area by age and determine whether speeding, drinking or not wearing a seat belt was a factor in the fatality. It is also possible to use the Google Map to determine which states have aggressive driving laws, license suspension laws and seat belt enforcement laws.

FortiusOne have received the Federal Geographic Data Committee's (FGDC) National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) Cooperative Agreements Program Award to geo-enable the US government's tabular data. The GeoCommons Platform will be utilized to create geospatial datasets automatically from tabular government data containing location-based references.

The grant dedicated to geo-enabling tabular data was awarded to FortiusOne to create a shared public web service that will make the geo-enablement of abundant government data simple and intuitive. The resulting service will allow for greater data discovery, exchange, analysis and visualization of geographic data.

Recovery and Reinvestment Act in Sacramento
Rep. Doris Matsui has posted an interactive Google Map on her website to highlight the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 at work in Sacramento. Doris Matui says,

"I have posted a running list of programs and projects that have received funding from the stimulus package on my website, and a Google Map showing where the federal money is going throughout the Sacramento area.

The website will continue to be updated as new recovery funds awarded to the district are released in the coming weeks and months".

UK (Rewired State)
In the UK Rewired State recently held a National Hack The Government Day. 80 developers created working projects from public sector information and presented the results to government officials and the media. Some of the projects used the Google Maps API to show how government data could be more easily accessible to the general public.

Active Places Reloaded

This is a reworking of Active Places, a website from Sport England. The Sport England site is quite poorly designed and is very hard to use. Active Places Reloaded scraped the data and showed how easy it is to make that data more freely available through an interface that uses the Google Maps API.

Basically in three hours the developers of Active Places Reloaded created a much better website, with accessibility and mobile support, than one that cost the government over £5m to build.

Cycling Collisions in the UK
This very simple Google Map shows the locations of cycle collisions in the UK. It is possible to view data on a Google Map for three years, 2005, 2006 and 2007.

Previous Government Data Posts


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