Online Mapping Tool Opens Doors to Data

By: Judy Feldman, Contributing Correspondent

The Philadelphia-based Reinvestment Fund has launched its online mapping tool called PolicyMap, according to the non-profit community development fund. This online mapping site, now open to the public, makes available a wide array of data sets, many of which were formerly available only to researchers.

maggiePolicyMap was originally created for the investors, state and local governments, clients and foundations, to provide online and updated information about their investments and loans. The tool will be helpful to city planners, real estate brokers, builders, commercial property owners and investors. It contains more than 4,000 indicators and it continues to be updated.

Maggie McCullough (pictured), director of PolicyMap, a division of The Reinvestment Fund, told CPN, “The Reinvestment Fund makes loans not only for affordable housing but also for charter schools, and businesses like grocery stores that want to set up in urban communities in the 5-state Mid-Atlantic area. About ten years ago we set up a public policy office to better understand our investments and watch the impacts we were making, and this this led us to the creation of the mapping tool.” McCullough also noted that, “any data that we get for free, we put up for free. Some data sets we had to buy and we’re not allowed to give them away for free. But right now 80 percent of the data is free. The other 20 percent mainly includes home sales, demographics, current estimates and future projections of things like racial and income compositional data.”


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This article by Judy Feldman on Commercial Property News July 7th, 2008.