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Seven Taverns For Each Playground: Fantastic Bunge Bio from

Zachary Johnson, the cartographer/geographer behind, wrote up a fascinating bio/review of William Bunge, a prominent social geographer from the times before mashups and slippy maps.  The images in this post are excerpted from the Bunge-created maps on and I believe they all first appeared in Wiliam Bunge's "Fitzgerald: Geography of a Revolution," 1971, Schenkman Pub. Co.

map showing a neighborhood with more taverns than playgrounds

Nonprofit mapping thoughts about Census 2010

map generated using census bureau data and toolsEvery ten years, the United States embarks on a census to count every person in the country.  The 2010 census date of counting is only a couple of weeks away (April 1st, 2010) so there has been a lot of census talk in the media recently.

Planning the most efficient route with Optimap

Does your organization provide services in the community regularly?  Do you have regular routes of sites to visit: neighborhood elderly, community centers, or even regular errand runs?  There are many situations when a local nonprofit or community organization needs to plan a logical route between multiple locations in a city or region.  But what's the most efficient route when you have several - or a dozen - sites to visit?

In the computer science world, this is a classic computational challenge that programmers have long studied, referred to as the "traveling salesman problem" because of its original context: given the distances between each city, what is the most efficient route between a number of cities, so that you visit each city once and only once?

Breaking Through Canada's Data Wall

Disclaimer - I'm an American who is just dipping his toe in the waters of open data and transparency issues in Canada - I welcome input from those more informed :-)

After releasing our "Guide to Nonprofit Mapping" last week, we quickly got inquiries from countries outside the US seeking localized and translated versions (which is underway! :-).  While exchanging emails with some colleagues in Canada, I started researching the availability of Canadian data sources.  First, I tried to find the Canadian equivalent to the US federal government site, a repository of publicly available data from executive branch agencies in the US government (the UK has a similar site,  The closest thing I could find after some cursory searching was the website for Statistics Canada (StatCan) the official government body tasked as Canada's central statistical agency.

Interactive Map of US County Public Health Statistics

screenshot of County Health Rankings siteA new website called County Health Rankings analyzes public health statistics for each county in the US, creating state-by-state reports of the healthiest counties.  The website, a joint project of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, analyzes healh factors (statistics about disease incidence, tobacco use, etc.) and health outcomes (such as life expectancy) to create county-by-county rankings of each state.  These rankings are then mapped for each state, using Flash-based Fusion Maps software (not free/open source) so that users can drill down to access county-level data.

Accessibility Maps

While working on the MapRoots project lately, I built a set of icons to represent accessibility resources on a map: Braille placards, TTY/TTD devices, wheelchair-accessible buildings, etc.  (You can download the icons here :)

When I started researching this part of the project, I came across various examples of accessibility maps created by cities and organizations - I thought some of these were worth sharing.