Recovery Mapping: ARRA Spending Across the US

GIS is the killer app for

@mikehogan paraphrasing Spatial Sustain

To really understand economic and government data you need a map. This is especially important to remember right now with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) spending. There’s a lot of data out there and it’s when you see can see the relative concentration of funds within a state that the spending priorities begin to become clear.

colorado helth spending

A number of states have put their spending plans online in map form. ESRI, the GIS toolmaker, has compiled a list of states and federal agencies that use their technology to put recovery data online. (ESRI is the dominant GIS provider to governments around the world so this a pretty good list). I applaud states and agencies that have taken the time to put their data online, I just wish that they had invested more in the UI (see Colorado’s use of nurse heads to represent relative Health spending across the state for an example).

There are many states out there that are lacking recovery maps and there are resources for you to make your own. Here are the resources.

recovry with flickr

Recovery MapMetaCarta has created a web portal that allows anyone to easily create their own personal map. You can filter the data and add on other layers such as news or photos. It’s Stimulus Watch for geo data. Among the best are Chicago’s Urban Beachfront, Schools Across the USA, Schools compete with “pouring concrete” for stimulus dollars, Income vs. Stimulus Dollars, and Layoffs Correlate in the News (featuring Slate Moneybox’s Map of job losses).

Geocommons Maker – FortiusOne’s Mapmaker has a number of ARRA data sets and they provide a very rich mapping interface. You can find data for Washington State and other ARRA data sets and then combine it with thousands of other data sets.

UMapper, Bing Maps, Google Maps, Platial – All of these online mapping sites provide the ability to make and share maps. None of them have specific resources or data sets designed for Recovery Mapping, but they are easy to use and provide a good starting point. For example this map, City & County of San Francisco ARRA Map, was made on uMapper.

  • It’s a shame that almost none of the state/federal sites allow for the download of the raw data behind the maps. It’s nice that the have made some pre-canned maps and put them online, but shouldn’t they be more focused on making the raw data more accessible regardless of what visualization platform you want to use?

  • Michael Hill

    Another great source for stimulus mapping is, run by Seattle based company Onvia. It tracks every stimulus dollar spent in real-time and maps where they have been spent.

  • Agreed, one of the main tenants of is unlocking the data and making it directly accesible. Hopefully what we’ve seen with ARRA is just the growing pains of evolving to data transparency.

    ps – many thanks for GC mention, you can find more recovery related maps and data on GeoCommons searching “stimulus” or related tags:

  • We used to have a saying around my house. “Bad graphic design is not going to save the world” :-) Bravo on the article