Sep 5, 2015 - Mapping your neighborhood in Cleveland and Akron

Where is your neighborhood? What is its name? Where is its boundary? Is this boundary fuzzy for you?

Neighborhoods and these answers change from person to person.

In Cleveland, neighborhoods' boundaries are largely left to the imaginations of residents, visitors, realtors, businesses, and non-profits.

The City Planning Commission's Statistical Planning Areas, adopted in early 2000s. These names are argely ignored and not widely adopted with good reason, they are missing and many of the names there aren't used in everyday life.

Here's your chance to say where your neighborhood is and view what others have shared.

Map Your Neighborhood in Cleveland and Akron at

You're encouraged to map (that is draw) the neighborhood where you live but others that you may not live in but may spend a lot of time in or feel strongly about.

No neighborhood or city boundaries are present on the map; to remove biases and to encourage boundaries across city lines.

With projects like and improved technology and software, mapping is not only a noun, but it is being used as a verb - creating and modifying what is (or isn't) on a map - the canvas representing a space.

After you've mapped a neighborhood, view what others have drawn.

I hope this sparks a conversation of neighborhood identity in each of you.

Thanks to work of Nick Martinelli and Andy Woodruff and Tim Wallace at Bostonography, I've been able to build upon their work and customize it for Cleveland.

Identifying neighborhoods has fascinated me for some time and inspired me to create my first map - my (incomplete) interpretation of Cleveland's neighborhoods, in 2010-2011.

To make your own instance for a city, the source code and directions are available on github. I've made a couple adjustments (like directions) that I'll be shortly adding.

Jun 1, 2015 - Recently

What I've been up to (outside of my work):

Setting up tech (registration, website updating/maintainence, and writing the content) for the 8th annual Jake's Invitational.

If you're looking to golf for a great cause in Northeast Ohio, check out the 8th Jake's Invitational on August 9th.

We fund children's futures by giving them financial aid to Lawrence School, a great place for students with learning differences.

Spending more time with open data.

Obtaining the data (especially local data) to be used in maps has been time-consuming. When exploring or thinking about different topics to understand through maps, I am limited by the data that is available.

This has led me to spend more time to advocate for and work with open data on a broader scale. I've been co-leading Open Cleveland which along with OpenNEO and Hack Cleveland has been the open data movement in Cleveland.

We're educating local politicians and city employees that civic data they work with and manage can be useful if it's available to the public like creating a web form so someone can apply online to take formal stewardship of the vacant lot next door to them.

Data alone won't solve anything but it will make a lot of others' jobs easier.

I didn't submit a talk to NACIS this year. Do I regret it? Not yet. I might later.

I'll share some Carto thoughts on animated temporal maps very briefly:

I've been thinking a little about animated temporal maps, maps whose features change based on a specific time. One examples

Torque by CartoDB is one easy to use library that is described to do temporal mapping. I haven't seen as much use of Torque (or many temporal maps) in recent months on cartotalk on twitter.

I hadn't thought of any use of torque either, until last week, visualizing over time, Cleveland's building demolitions.

For the outsiders of Cleveland, yes, many of these were likely houses; it's a visual representation of the housing crisis.

I was wondering how I could see it spread, what areas were hit hardest. I want to see different ways how this can be visualized.

This first visualization is just a proof of concept I got up and running; I've fiddled with torque's API a little since then although not enough to write up for you just yet, will do soon. I am now sleepy.

Listening to Jean-Christian Arod - Detour Nostalgique. from the movie CRAZY. I fell in love with the song back in 05 or 06, and just rediscovered it earlier tonight, listening to it a few times on lop.

Apr 22, 2015 - A_social_services_spec

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(this is my personal views, not of my employer, I don't reflect all views of my employer, etc) (this is also my initial impressions, and like a draft, sort of reflects a stream of thought that is slightly organizated for easier reading)

As food pantry operator, employee local social service agency that directly helps the poor which does plenty of referrals, and someone who is interested in how the internet and open data affects people's interactions with the governments and non-profits, I read the news of the Open Referral project by DC with a mix of skepticism, intrigue, and optimism.

Here's my initial impressions:

good idea and long overdue.

Convincing NGOs to spend the time/ resources to ETL will be hard; someone else scraping their sites is not a concern of them. I'm not sure why this was mentioned. Yes, old information exists on the internet, but I doubt that an open API will fix this.

As I've developed Marillac, a web map to help pantry refer clients to other ,

A big hurdle for implementation of this: There's the lack of technical literacy on volunteers and non-profits. Social service agencies are generally not well-funded and funding is usually prioritized towards programming. The technical skills to do ETL (extracting, transforming, and loading) to transform an organization's data into the OFP spec is behind most .

It's hard justifying to my boss to spend time on my .

Tech functions like an agency's website are generally outsourced to an outside contractor or for even some grassroots projects, their website may be a wordpress install or none at all. There may be that internal person who acts as tech support (like me).

The lack of technical literacy/net access for most clients in general so the web apps that would take advantage of things like an API, wouldn't be used as much by clients.

How this can get done?

In Cleveland, 211, operated by the United Way, is the most broadest aggregator of services that is similar to Ohana. In addition to being a refer , it also operates the 211 number, and . It has quite . In my experience, they've called me a few times

Of course, 211 is not perfect. My coworker who takes many clients' intake calls also has a large spreadsheet to fill in the gaps. (I should talk to her more and find out about the faults of 211)

Perhaps Cleveland's 211

I haven't used Ohana yet, but for it to be used by the Cleveland community organizations in the long-term, the following need to happen: - Convincing United Way to migrate to this, how it would outweigh the benefits of the current system.

  • help maintain the bugs, provide tech support to users (community organizations to do any ETL).
  • must have a simple interface for less tech saavy people to be able to update their listings

  • Have intuitive support for printing. One of the most overlooked aspects in civic technology is assuming that print is dead. (This could be a whole post, so some very brief points). People can't remember URLs, don't always have access to the internet, and some just prefer to have information available and read it on paper.

If it wants to be used, it should Ohana can be eventually

If a client at my pantry ever asks me to , (I usually refer them to call 211 or my office (Society of St. Vincent De Paul)l