GIS is the killer app for data.gov
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.
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).
- Colorado – Economic Recovery Mapping
- Connecticut – Recovery Initiative
- Maryland – StateStat
- Montana – Reinvestment Act
- Oregon – Tracking the Dollars
- Utah – Stimulus Reporting Application
- Washington – Map of Recovery Funding
- U.S. Dept. of the Interior – ARRA Investment
- U.S. Dept. of Transportation – ARRA Projects and Funding
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.
Recovery Map – MetaCarta 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.