Last year Fulcrum rolled out a new service named Community. They describe it as a, “no cost, short term crowdsourced data collection solution for qualified humanitarian projects.”
It works like Fulcrum, but you need to apply for a license. The application form is short and is right on the Community home page. In the application you need to describe your purpose and how long you will be collecting data. You also need to provide a project description. If approved you can invite any number of data collectors via email to share your App (data collection form). It is generally aimed at humanitarian agencies, non-profits, or government agencies. They restrict commercial use of this service.
We used this last fall during King Tide data collection in Miamiand it was a big success. In fact there are four main categories highlighted on the Fulcrum Community page: Hurricane, Tornado, Flood and Fire. If you click on Flood, the King Tide project is the first in the list. Clicking on it brings up a map with the data collected.
One caveat is that the data collected falls into the public domain and can be downloaded freely by anyone. This is possible because the data are anonymized, meaning any private information is scrubbed. The data remain available for viewing and download after the event ends.
It won’t be appropriate unless there is some sort of disaster relief or environmental issue that demands it, but it is another tool to keep in your Community Health Maps toolkit!
One of the initial stumbling blocks for Community Health Mappers post-workshop, is where to look for data. There is a lot of data available online. Most municipalities, counties and states will have some sort of GIS data portal. These are sites where publicly available mapping data can be downloaded and are best found with an internet search. Those are simply too numerous to list. However, the list below is a good starting point for commonly used national GIS datasets.
U.S. Census Socioeconomic Data: American Fact Finder: http://factfinder2.census.gov/ Includes data from both the Census 2010 and Census 2000 as well as, American Community Survey (ACS) data.
Use the Advanced Search to build selections for a specific topic in a specific geographic location.
This week the White House announced the Opportunity Project. It is an open data initiative geared towards empowering communities with data and tools to improve economic mobility. Open data is the data equivalent of open source software. It is licensed so that it is freely available to use by anyone.