Return to Vol. 3 Issue 4, August 2008

MPIP Launches MetroPhilaMapper and Makes Hundreds of Local and Regional Indicators Available to the Public for Free

By in Vol. 3 Issue 4, August 2008


The growing interdependence of people, markets, and institutions across the country requires a multitude of agencies, businesses and non profit organizations to analyze and understand social, economic, and environment patterns within the regional context in which they operate, helping them to better serve their constituents. But while raw data rarely tells a compelling story on its own, figures buried deep in databases do have a story to tell. Many organizations maintain enormous databases full of information critical to their mission, but too often they lack a convenient way to effectively utilize or present the data in a way that informs people’s decisions.

In June, Temple University’s Metropolitan Philadelphia Indicators Project (MPIP), a project that promotes data-driven regional civic dialogue, launched MetroPhilaMapper, a free, online mapping application. With over 250 local and regional indicators, MetroPhilaMapper leverages Azavea’s KaleidocadeTM Indicators Framework (KIF) to enable the public to easily find, geographically view, display in charts and tables, and compare data that used to be scattered across multiple agencies.

Regional in focus, MetroPhilaMapper displays aggregated quality of life data including land use patterns, SAT scores and school enrollments, population characteristics, health statistics, business and job locations, housing, real estate and mortgage information, voter registrations, income and wage data, and crime patterns that cover the two-state, nine-county region. The system provides detailed and nuanced indicators at several geographic levels including boroughs and townships, school districts, and zip codes. MetroPhilaMapper currently holds about 250,000 pieces of data and will grow substantially later this summer when the project adds data at the Census tract level as well as additional economic and employment data.

Azavea’s Kaleidocade Indicators Framework uses ESRI’s ArcIMS 9.2 and ArcSDE, and enables MetroPhilaMapper’s users to make and save their own maps by selecting the sets of indicators and levels of geography of their choice; choose to view the same information in tables, charts or reports; upload addresses to create their own maps on the fly; and download and save all maps, tables, and reports for use in their own reports or analysis, among many other features.

For more information, visit MetroPhilaMapper. You can create an account, if you want to save your work, or click on “Anonymous Login” if you just want to experiment with the application.