Four Maps and Apps to Help You Better Understand Philly

All found on the reworked and invaluable, that wonderful repository of public information about the city, just got a major overhaul courtesy of Azavea and the Temple University Center for Public Interest Journalism.

The site, which has been around since 2011, is a portal to 262 datasets about the city, from nitty-gritty schools information to a historic street name index to parks maps and much, much more. It’s always been a great spot to find vital data, but the snazzy new version makes that easier, plus it does a great job of highlighting what Philadelphia’s growing community of civic hackers—be they in government, the private sector, or their pajamas—is actually doing with all that data. Such as…

This in-depth but easy-to-understand school district budget explorer.

Screenshot 2015-02-19 14.04.38A sophisticated but easy-to-understand visualization of the School District of Philadelphia’s $3.1 billion budget. How much goes to charter schools? Boom, lower left quadrant.

How much is debt service setting the district back? Explore that ugly red section.

It’s a great tool, particularly at a time when the district’s finances are at the center of so much debate. Check it out. [Created by Chris Alfano & Lauren Ancona | a Code for Philly project]

This residential burglary map.

Screenshot 2015-02-19 14.04.59This well-designed interactive map let’s you identity at a glance where the burglary hotspots are (those deeply colored hexagons). But you can also get granular with the “x-ray lens” that allows you to see the details of each reported incident. Very nice.

This incredible energy efficiency tracker.

Screenshot 2015-02-19 14.05.31

Developed by Azavea for the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, this tool organizes energy consumption information on close to 2,000 of the city’s largest buildings, and makes it easy to identify the energy hogs (note to New Covenant Church in Germantown: maybe invest in some insulation?).

This comprehensive guide to the city’s street trees.

Screenshot 2015-02-19 14.27.41

This City Hall-PHS-Azavea collaboration is a massive database that aspires to produce a crowdsourced Census of the city’s trees. But it’s more than a list. The app will tell you, down to an individual tree, just how much carbon dioxide a big old London Plane tree (for instance) is capturing (723.3 pounds a year) and how much cash it is saving by lowering cooling costs ($300 a year). Why? Such data can help build the case for more city investment in street trees.