Top 25 Coolest GIS Visualizations

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Neighborhood Crime DashboardPortland, Oregon

Crime maps are not new to cities, but few deliver neighborhood insights the way Portland’s Neighborhood Crime Dashboard does. The map enables residents to see their neighborhoods with the lens of a criminologist. They can learn, for example, that the top neighborhoods for crime in 2016 were city’s Downtown and Hazelwood sections. They can also see that Chinatown is a top spot for drug deals while the Parkrose neighborhood is known for prostitution. Realtors might not like this map, but Portland’s Police Bureau loves it for its ability to alert the city’s communities about what's wrong and enable them to partner with authorities on potential remedies. 

Step Up to QualityState of Nebraska

Through collabroation between the Nebraska Department of Education and the Office of the Chief Information Officer's GIO team, a story map was compiled to connect parents with high-quality early learning programs for their children. Centers enrolled in the state's Step Up to Quality program are certified as going beyond basic requirements and providing the upper tier of early childhood education in the state. Updated with new enrollees monthly, the portal also provides users a search function and a list of participants along with contact information and ratings, and further information on the program that spurred the map's creation. Nebraska's Step Up to Quality map demonstrates the fortuitous intersection of GIS expertise and state agency goals of a healthier and more educated populace.

AZGEOState of Arizona

The State of Arizona's geospatial data clearinghouse, AZGEO, was designed both as a public-facing GIS-powered portal and as an internal data-sharing exchange among work groups focusing on issues like emergency management, broadband, or city/county/state road GIS unification. With hundreds of data sets and services available, the tool provides advanced functionality for power users, including the ability to work from a data subset and export tools so users can view the data in their preferred applications.

The portal also includes applications for cross-jurisdictional data lifecycle management, like EMAP, a statewide portal for 911 stakeholders that allows for the editing, validation and maintenance of the state's more than 3.5 million address points, and the Transportation Supply Chain App developed for interjurisdictional management of roadway data. Overall, the tool represents the involvement of more than 380 organizations and more than 1,000 data sets when including those harvested from in-state and national GIS web services.

Internet Discount Finder ToolState of Wisconsin

It's not a map, but the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin Internet Discount Finder is a tool based on spatial data. The simple web-based lookup interface allows users to enter an address and receive a list of the discount programs that might be available from internet service providers in that area. If available, links are provided. The tool is provided by the government to the public as a small way of fighting the digital divide — society's statistically lopsided access to the internet and digital technology.

Traffic Volumes MapState of Michigan

In Michigan, there is no doubt about where the state's busiest roads are — the data is displayed in full color on the state's Traffic Volumes map. Each year, data that was collected by the Michigan Department of Transportation’s Planning Bureau is compiled and visualized by road segment. In what was traditionally shared as static PDF files, an interactive, color-coded map shows a two-way accounting of all federal aid roadways in the state. The transition to the web reduced the amount of time MDOT staff time on the project by 90 percent and realized $17,000 in annual savings, officials told StateScoop.

Appalachian Ohio Mural Story MapState of Ohio

Developed through work between the Appalachian Ohio Geospatial Data Partnership and the Ohio Valley Regional Development Commission, the Appalachian Ohio Mural Story Map is lifting the profile of local art in an effort to drive tourism. Using crowdsourced data, wall murals throughout the state are provided a convenient platform for viewing. "From Portsmouth to Ashtabula," the website reads, "there are murals painted on walls, buildings and historic structures that help define and tell the story of a person, event or feature in time."

Interactive State Water PlanState of Texas

During drought season, water conservation is a matter of life and death in the American Southwest, and while the residents of the region realize that, seeing the numbers helps bring that reality into relief. The Texas State Water Plan is a visual frontend for the Texas Water Development Board's water data. Centered around a state map that can be navigated down to the county level — Texas has 254 counties — the portal demonstrates the complexity of water use and demand projects for the coming decades.

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