Every year, the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance-Jacob France Institute at the University of Baltimore hosts Baltimore Data Day. This year, I attended the workshop to learn about how to work with current data and technologies that exist for Baltimore communities. Here are some highlights/takeaways:

  • As someone who makes maps regularly (static maps, web maps, and even web apps), I was reminded to be conscious of what or who you are mapping. It is important to get the message across about what you are mapping to your audience. However, sometimes reaching the project’s goal of showing one thing can limit something else. Be aware of who you may be hurting or helping in a project’s process. It can be easy to overlook this.
  • A new 311 Customer Service Requests Dashboard is available to the public. It is powered by tabular 311 Customer Service Requests data available here. The tabular data can still be downloaded and used for mapping purposes, but the dashboard provides the public with an easier way to interact with 311 requests data. Community members can check on a request submitted, view the service requests placed between a certain time period or by neighborhood, and get statistics about services met/missed.
  • Maptime Baltimore held a Hackathon session to encourage people who live or work in Baltimore to edit data at the neighborhood level in OpenStreetMap. OpenStreetMap is a world map that can be edited by anyone. Encouraging local residents to edit features including sidewalks, monuments, power lines, and trees based on what they see on their street or in their neighborhood leads to a more detailed and accurate map. People using an up-to-date and accurate map is beneficial for directions and planning purposes It’s easy to get started. head to the Open Street Map website, create an account, and begin editing.
  • A study and continued research on epidemiology and how it can be used to study violence. Some of the same epidemiological methods being used to study topics like infectious diseases are being used to analyze violence in Baltimore City neighborhoods. With crime as a big topic surrounding Baltimore, these different analyses of looking into violent crimes could lead to alternate strategies on handling crime in Baltimore.