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Our #DataReads News series curates relevant news from our #ThisWeekInData posts for updates on different policy areas and civic data topics.

March 11, 2016: A Look Into Government Usage of GIS

GCN detailed some of the myriad ways governments are using GIS data. From snow plows, to habitats of plants and animals, and even to car accidents, all levels of government are using GIS to help track and visualize important datasets. Chris Thomas, director of government markets at Esri, comments that GIS is more than just a single app and gives agencies a clearer understanding of their communities. He also stresses the importance of integrated approaches and strategic planning of implementation for GIS, which is now often intertwined with IT strategy.

March 4, 2016: Tracking Birds to Find Illegal Garbage

GovLab featured Peru’s new way to find illegal garbage dumps: tracking vultures. The Ministry of the Environment launched a campaign called “Gallinazo Avisa” (translating to “Vultures Warn”) and attached GoPros to a flock of vultures, enabling real-time GPS data to be collected and analyzed to find areas likely to contain large garbage piles. The campaign has also resulted in an unexpected increase in civic engagement, drawing citizens’ attention to the problem of illegal garbage and increasing interest in wildlife and innovative government projects.

February 19, 2016: LA Launches Geohub, Making City Data More Accessible 

Govtech examined Los Angeles’s new open data library, GeoHub. GeoHub stores more than 500 different types of geographic data from the city, and makes it open and accessible to anyone interested. The city hopes that the tool will aid researchers, developers, and other governments, in addition to facilitating data sharing within the city government.

February 19, 2016: Placemeter's Real-Time Pedestrian and Cyclist Maps

CityLab profiled Placemeter, a New York based startup using data to create a real-time map of pedestrians and cyclists in Union Square. Placemeter gathers movement data through sensors and a video feed, and then uses algorithms to process the data and display it on a map. They suggest their real-time data could be useful to a number of city agencies, such as transportation departments who could use the traffic fluctuation patterns to better optimize transit schedules.

February 5, 2016: Visualizing Law Enforcement Open Data

Esri launched the ArcGIS Open Data Initiative for Law Enforcement, in support of the White House Police Data Initiative. Esri’s new platform helps law enforcement agencies nationally to visualize and publicly share their data. Maps ranging from crime to citizen complaints to community outreach can be created and quickly shared with the public, which Esri hopes will increase transparency, public trust, and police legitimacy.

January 29, 2016: Innovative Local Government Usages of GIS

GovTech featured seven new and innovative uses of data mapping by local governments. The featured cities range in size from Manassas, VA to Los Angeles, and the examples include extreme weather responses, streamlined city resources for residents, and air pollution.

January 22, 2016: Chicago debuts OpenGrid, Allowing Residents to View City Data

Chicago launched OpenGrid, an open-source GIS application designed to give city residents easy views and ways to engage with city data. With OpenGrid, users can quickly pull up a map and visualize complex data. OpenGrid’s source code is available for anyone to use, and Chicago hopes that local businesses, community groups, researchers, and other cities will be able to replicate OpenGrid and access data in ways never before possible.

January 22, 2016: Realistic Visualizations of Carbon Footprints

Researchers at UC Berkeley in the Cool Climate Network developed a new way to visualize carbon emissions. The new mapping tool gives a more realistic visualization of the emissions caused by residents or neighborhoods. CityLab explains how the tool could be adapted by cities worldwide to give to leaders a better understanding of their emission problems and enact targeted policies to curb them.

November 15, 2015: Mapping NYC Economy by Neighborhoods

The Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development released a tool that maps 19 economic factors in New York City by neighborhood. The tool could potentially guide economic development discussions and investment by government, philanthropy, the private sector, and nonprofits.

October 30, 2015: RAVEN911 Gives Emergency Responders a Bird's Eye View

On our site, we profiled RAVEN911, a regional emergency response data system created in the wake of Hurricane Ike. The GIS-based system combines data from many sources in the Greater Cincinnati region to enable coordinated, data-driven response to emergencies.

October 16, 2015: Mapping Poverty in Real-Time

The Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University and the Salvation Army released a Human Needs Index, which measures and maps measures of poverty across the United States from 2004 to the present. The index is based on extensive data collected by the Salvation Army on factors including groceries, medical assistance, and utility payments, which draw a more nuanced picture of poverty than income measures alone. The partnership is an exciting example of data sharing among nonprofits, universities, and government to advance the public good.

July 31, 2015: GIS Storytelling through Boston's Snow Journal

Boston’s Snow Journal, a model use of GIS storytelling for civic engagement, was named grand prize winner of the recent worldwide Esri Storytelling with Maps contest, among other public sector winners. Along with the grand prize, the program won first place for “Best Infrastructure, Planning and Government,” GCN reports. Snow Journal uses maps, narrative text, images and multimedia to tell the story of how boston handled its historically snowiest winter.

July 31, 2015: Changing How We Use and View Open Data with Plenario

Here at Data-Smart, Research Fellow Sean Thornton breaks down Plenario, the University of Chicago-designed, open-access online data hub that makes the way we view, understand, and use otherwise disparate open data drastically more convenient by consolidating it into “One Database, One Map.” 

May 8, 2015: Cities are Turning to Real-Time Mapping to Fight Crime

News 9 reports Oklahoma metro police are using a real-time mapping system to track crime hotspots. Since the start of the program a year and a half ago, the Midwest City Police Department has seen a 25 percent drop in crime. Midwest City joins a growing number of cities using data to predict and preempt crime.

March 13, 2015: Detroit is Mapping a Better Future

In Detroit, Model D Media reports on how the city’s newly opened data will aid cartographers.

January 30, 2015: Maps Will Help Chicago Outline Its Transportation Woes

In the Windy City, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning used government data to generate interactive online maps featuring infrastructure conditions in Chicago-area counties. Officials hope the new website will help spur regional transportation improvement projects, the Chicago Tribune reports.

January 16, 2015: #DataReads Resources: GIS

Here at Data-Smart City Solutions, we’ve put out a guide to resources for cities looking to start or further develop their GIS programs.

Topics: Civic Data, GIS

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