March 2015
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Rich Blocks, Poor Blocks

richblocks_poorblocksNice visualization of income and rent across America.  Although it should be called Rich Tracts, Poor Tracts (Census Tracts are the geographic unit, not blocks) – but then not many folks are familar with Census Tracts (I get a lot of emails about “Census Tracks”).

Take a look:

Thanks to Joel Myhre at Nordic Geospatial for passing along.

21 Maps of Highly Segregated Cities in America

segregated citiesThanks to Joshua James for passing this along.  The visualization here is really powerful!

Their map of Los Angeles was powerful – but there are 20 other cities to see.  What’s interesting is that for Los Angeles there are a lot more colors (more ethnicities) than for other cities.

Link to the article and maps

Best of California 2013 Call for Nominations

If you have an application that you think has made valuable addition to your organization, the award below is a great way to show it off!


The 2013 Best of California Awards nominations are available online! Visit

The Best of California Awards program was established to recognize IT professionals in California state and local government and education organizations for their dedication, hard work and contributions. All government and education organizations in California are invited to submit nominations.

An Evaluation Committee will review submissions in the following categories and select recipients. All projects nominated must be in production and fully operational by submission. Distinguish the work of your team or that of a colleague by submitting a nomination!


Please join us for the highest level of professional acknowledgement within the California public sector IT community. Awards will be given in the following categories:


Leadership Awards:

  • Demonstrated Leadership in Management of Information Technology
  • Demonstrated Excellence in Project Management

Project Excellence Awards:

  • Best Application Serving An Agency’s Business Needs 
  • Best Application Serving the Public 
  • Best IT Collaboration Among Organizations
  • Best In-House Developed Application 
  • Most Innovative Use of Social Media
  • Best Mobile/ Wireless Project
  • Green IT Award

Palo Alto Data access via Google Fusion Tables

palo_altoThis was an interesting piece of information passed along to me from Margaret Carlin.  The City of Palo Alto is making some of its GIS data available through Google Fusion Tables.

There  are a number of different data access methods out there (check out CKAN, Socrata for some other options) – and of course we use WordPress for LA County’s GIS Data Portal.

What I like about the Palo Alto Portal:

  1. You can interact with the data directly in the portal – you can zoom around, and using the Fusion Tables you can interact with the data right away inside of the site.  Right now that is the one thing I want to be able to do within WordPress – allow users to play with the data before they download (our GIS Viewer ( is a place to do this, but there is a lot of manual work to get data in there.
  2. The styling is nice and streamlined.

What I don’t like about using Fusion Tables

  1. You cannot download the data – you can only access via the Google API.  This “walled” garden approach does not unlock the data for public use, it limits what can be done with it.  This appears to be a setting within the Fusion Tables that Palo Alto didn’t enable, so it is available.
  2. KML is not a GIS format – there is no topography.  Even if I could get to the KML, I am not going to use Google Earth to do any real analysis – I would need to convert to a shapefile.
  3. The data symbolization is very generic – you don’t know what it means – we use ArcGIS layer files to provide labelling and symbolization guidelines where they are needed.
  4. The interactivity is pretty limited – but that’s a minor issue.
  5. There is no search tool.  Right now there are 6 datasets – what happens when there are more than 50?  We in LA County are tracking over 400 datasets, and we organize them by theme, source, etc.




Literary Map of Los Angeles

literary_mapThanks to Betsy Barker for passing this interesting map along showing geographic locations referenced in literary work.



Crowdmap relaunching May 6th

crowdmapIf you have heard about Ushahidi, it is a mapping platform to support location-based crowdsourced information.

Crowdmap is the productized version of Ushahidi.  I’ve played with it before, and there are some powerful tools there for rapidly creating social mapping applications:

From an email that I received, announcing the re-launch with new tools

Crowdmap is re-launching on May 6th as an entirely new, hosted service for mapping anything on the web, focused on a more social mapping experience with better support for multimedia, sharing, and mobile support.  All of this built on top of a new, robust API that means developers can create not just plugins but entire applications for endless ways to interact with each other.

I think Crowdmap and Ushahidi are a powerful example of where mapping is going – with dedicated sites for one business function.  Not ArcGIS Online, but different, and in some cases, better !?

What do you think – has anyone taken it for a test drive and found it valuable?

211 LA Announces Research Partnership with UCLA Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Equity

211_la211 is both a phone number and a GIS dataset.  In LA County, you can dial 2-1-1 to get information about non-emergency services.  These services are stored in a database which is therefore a valuable research tool.

This link between 211 and UCLA is a good one – it will be interesting to see the results.

From the press release:

Today, 211 LA, the largest non-profit community information and referral service in the nation, announced a new partnership with the UCLA Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Equity . This new partnership provides mutual benefits—linking UCLA researchers with information about population health needs for the county’s most vulnerable residents while providing 211 LA with more effective data collection strategies and more efficient screening and evaluation tools. Each year 211 LA fields approximately 500,000 calls, linking Los Angeles’ most vulnerable families and individuals to vital community resources to provide health care, child care, prenatal care and access to food and shelter, among other services.

Download the full press release

April eGIS Committee Meeting Agenda (draft)

Hello – please find a draft agenda for next week’s eGIS Commitee meeting.  I will be at CalGIS in Long Beach so Marianne Jeffers from DPW or Nick Franchino from DRP will lead the meeting.

Agenda: April – 2013_0416.eGIS meeting notice and Agenda

On the agenda:

  • We will get an update from the GIS Data COmmitee, which has made good progress,
  • Tom Weisenberger will demonstrate the editing capabilities in the Essentials product
  • Carrie Wiley will provide an update on the Mobile Commitee
  • ISD will provide an update and information about the planned virtualization of the main GIS Repository as well as the upcoming migration to ArcGIS Server 10.1 in our production environment.


Join the California State Government GIS User Group

The State’s GIS Users Group, while focused on GIS at the state level, is open to anyone interested in their work.  Christina Boggs from the California State Department of Water Resources passed this along, and this is an opportunity to get involved with State GIS folks.

“Before I get into the details, I wanted to announce some happy news. Future meetings are going to be open to Federal, Local, Education and other awesome people. The focus is still going to be on topics and items that pertain to California State government but we are implementing an open door policy for this group.”

From the last meeting:

Here are the meeting notes, including links to download the powerpoints of the presentation pieces – download here

During the meeting there were a couple of quick suggestions that I started:

  1. Contact list to facilitate community networking, thereby giving people the ability to find expertise from other departments – here is the link to add your contact information, after you post yours the list will be visible to you
  2. Location to share projects and pieces of work – I created a GitHub organization for us to put snippets of code or other open-source projects for sharing – become a member here (it’s empty, let’s fill it!)



GIS Jobs

Crossposting a number of GIS Jobs from SoCalGIS: