Mapping to the Masses: PolicyMap

Young Philly Politics

A few weeks ago, The Reinvestment Fund launched one of the cooler internet tools in recent memory: PolicyMap. Those interested in public policy, in mapping, or just procrastinating with a cool diversion are going to have to check this out.

Basically, what PolicyMap does is bring data and mapping to the masses. Given its place as a lender and public policy research center, TRF has always accumulated all kinds of data. About a year or so ago, they decided that they were going to try and put that data online, in a way that the general public could see it. And from that, and many (many) hours of development, PolicyMap was born. They mapped something like 4000 pieces of data, and then put it online in a format where anyone can map it. And if they got the data free (ie, Census, etc), they give it away for free too.

Anyway, enough blathering, because check out what you can do in about one minute. These maps are focused on Philly, but, data is available Country-wide:

Let’s say you are thinking about the foreclosure crisis, and in trying predict what neighborhoods are going to be hard hit, you want to see what neighborhoods in Philly had the most subprime loans in 2006. After about 45 seconds, you get this:

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This article by Dan Urevick-Ackelsberg on Young Philly Politics on Monday June 30th, 2008.