Last week I received an email from a visitor regarding crime. They had looked at the precinct maps and was wondering if I could show crime statistics on a map as I had with voting data.
All I need to produce a map “of things” is to have a database of whatever that thing is…with addresses. The hardest part is getting data from government. When I say that, I’m not suggesting that the West Chester Police made anything difficult, to the contrary, they were quite helpful and prompt. The problem is that this data resides behind a firewall and the only way to access it is to contact a person, request the data, wait and eventually receive a spreadsheet.
First let me say, we (the public) own that data…it’s ours. There are however some things (data) that our government has that is sensitive. The solution is that there should be a non-firewalled database or download link to data that is not sensitive. There should be a centralized point of access where all departments would be required to place their monthly data in at least csv format and I’d suggest going further and creating an actual database that would allow instant access via automation which is pretty much standard in the private sector.
Here is the map…I made it a “Heat Map” versus a point map.
Drug Arrests in West Chester Jul 2014 to Jul 2015
Please email our Trustees if you agree that the people should have access to non sensitive public data. Allowing the private sector access to the data to produce graphs, charts and maps with that data will actually save the township money. In fact, showing our data in a human digestible format would likely enhance the development of West Chester Township.
Trustee George Lang (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Trustee Mark Welch (email@example.com)
Trustee Lee Wong (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Administrator Judy Boyko (email@example.com)