One of the more frustrating aspects of mapping is finding mappable data. Often the data needed is deceptively mundane — something as simple as finding the coordinates of every hospital in a given city or the taxable value of properties in a county — so you’d think it would be easy enough to locate. Yet sometimes finding this very common data can take longer than building the map itself.
Part of the problem is that many municipalities have yet to organize and make public the wealth of data generated by and within their territories. Additionally, cities that have ported their data to publicly-accessible websites don’t always do a great job of promoting their data portals, which can be buried deep within the city’s main website.
To speed up my own data collecting process, I started gathering the open data portals of towns, cities, counties, states, and countries into a single site: Urban Open Data. I built it in literally 2 hours; so it’s not pretty and the code could certainly be better. But it exists and when I have a moment I’ll make it more designerly. Until then, make use of it and send me any sites that should be added.