Category Archives: City

Socrata Releases New Cloud-based Mapping Solution Mondara

The open data platform Socrata just released a new cloud mapping software called Mondara, designed for users with no GIS expertise, allowing them to build online maps from existing data Shapefile or KML files.

While Shapefiles or KML files are probably still pretty technical for most users, with Mondara any users can upload existing spreadsheets containing address information, and turn them into online maps.

Mondara provides an online interface for creating maps with existing data, as well as enabling users to add, managing and combine layers within the a map, providing a lot of detail about your location data.

Once you create a map you can easily export the map in multiple formats including KML, KMZ and Shapefile, as well as share anywhere with Youtube like embedding.

It’s an interesting new cloud mapping service priced at $499/month allowing you to create up to 100 online maps.

I’m curious to see how the mapping service works with the open data Socrata has helped cities like NYCChicagoBaltimoreSeattleSan Francisco, Austin and New Orleans publish online.

At first glance, Mondara looks like a slick tool for all of us non-mapping professionals help make sense of, and communicate the message available in this flood of big data we see coming out of our municipal governments.

New CityGrid Template for WordPress Directory Plugin

I just pushed an update for the CityGrid WordPress Directory Plugin. The WordPress Plugin lets any WordPress site owner to launch a business directory for their site, allowing them to choose the business categories they wish to display.

For example, if you want to show pizza, burgers, seafood and chinese food in your neighborhood you can launch the plugin, choose your categories, enter your city, neighborhood or zip code and it automatically adds a directory to your menu with the categories you wish to display.

The plugin has been around for a month, but it had a pretty basic look and feel, I wanted it to look better. Last week took the HTML and CSS template for CityGrid, cleaned it up and turned it into a template for any developer to use when deploying a local web directory.

I want my WordPress users to take advantage of this, so this week I added it to the CityGrid WordPress Directory Plugin. While doing this I also added a framework, allowing users to choose from multiple templates, meaning I will be adding more UI templates in the future.

I am almost done, adding the same template to the CityGrid WordPress Local Search Plugin today and committing the changes for everyone to take advantage of.

City, County, State Partner for New Metro Chicago Data Portal

The state of Illinois, the city of Chicago, and Cook County have developed and launched the Metro Chicago Data Portal. A centralized data portal intended to break down barriers between siloed state and regional government data sets and provide more access to government services for Chicago area residents.

MetroChicagoData.com provides data into common categories such as economic development, education, environment, health & human services, parks & recreation, public safety and transportation.

“This unprecedented initiative will foster innovation, economic development, and more efficient delivery of services,” said Mayor Emanuel. “When we break down bureaucracies and our governments work together, we open new doors for our constituents.”

The new metro portal is developed and managed by Socrata and uses their Open Data API protocol or SODA, allowing developers to access data in the most appropriate format either as download or via API. Socrata provides a federated approach to data, and the Metro Chicago Data portal pulls from data.cityofchicago.org, data.cookcountyil.gov and data.illinois.gov.

While there are any cities like NYCChicagoBaltimoreSeattleSan Francisco, and New Orleans, and states like Oregon and Oklahoma who have deployed open data portals using Socrata, the Metro Chicago Data portal is the first of its kind to provide federated access to city, county and states in a single location.

Hopefully we’ll see more efforts like this to increase government transparency.