For years, the City of Philadelphia has stored geospatial data from various departments in one central warehouse. Over time, the warehouse amassed hundreds of geospatial data sets of everything from ZIP Codes, to police districts, to bike lanes. Because of this long-standing warehouse, a strong culture of cross departmental-collaboration exists amidst the geospatial analysts. However, as happens over time, many data sets became outdated and the warehouse required some fresh eyes.
As a part of the City’s newly expanded Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) Services Group efforts to redefine policies and standards for sharing and publishing data internally, the team took it upon itself to clean up this central data warehouse. It was a housecleaning project, and a tedious one. First the team created a comprehensive inventory of the warehouse, making sense of duplicate or erroneous data sets. The team then worked closely with geospatial analysts within each department to refresh useable data, removing unusable data, update metadata and revisit whether or not the data could be shared with the public.
The housecleaning project is approximately halfway complete thanks to the efforts of Deputy Geospatial Information Officer Grant Ervin and Lead GIS Analyst Jennifer Johnson. It has already yielded some important results for City government:
- The geospatial data and corresponding metadata are more reliable than ever.
- Publishing policies and practices have evolved and are being communicated to an increasingly unified internal community of geodata analysts and publishers.
- Dozens of geospatial data sets have been newly approved for public release.
These outcomes have transformed the way Philadelphia City government publishes and shares geospatial data. The public will also see tangible results. Over the next three weeks, the City of Philadelphia will be releasing three batches of geospatial data in the categories of “Streets”; “Urban Planning”; and “Health and Licenses & Inspections”, respectively – a direct result of the GIS team’s housekeeping project.
Below are the contents of the first batch of data, all from the Streets Department. Stay tuned over the next two weeks as two more batches are released.
Streets Department Geospatial Data:
- City Plan Boundary
- Highway Sections
- Highway Subsections
- Leaf Collection Areas
- Rubbish/Recycling Collection Boundary
- Street Arterials
- Traffic Preventative Maintenance Districts
- No thru Trucks Streets
- Historic Streets
- Railroad Lines
- Street Poles
- Street Nodes
- Traffic Districts
- Bridge Locations
- Street Lane Closure Emergency Utility Network