Confessions of a Digital Packrat had a brief note about a new resource launched called EveryBlock. I went and took a look at it, and it IS pretty impressive — though I’m very jealous that it’s currently only available in three areas. EveryBlock ( http://www.everyblock.com/ ) currently only covers New York City, San Francisco, and Chicago.
Basically what EveryBlock does is take public records and other notations of what’s going on in an area and aggregate them. This is brilliant. It’s like information trapping for an address. For example take a look at the New York City version.
You can browse the information types or the various areas of a city, or you can do an address search. I did a search for 55 East 74th Street , because you know the Eleanor Roosevelt Mansion is up for sale, and I might have $20 million in my sofa cushions. Not.
Anyway, when I ran a search for that address I got I long list of things going on in the area, including Geocoded Flickr photos, restaurant inspections, building violations, and more. The news for the area is listed by date, not by type, but you can get a full list of categories on the left nav including lost and found, crime reports, and business reviews. An impressive amount of information here! (For which there are e-mail and RSS feed updates available.) Clicking on an item usually takes you to a brief description of the item, and a link to a more extensive offsite entry.
The photos were an exception — Flickr photos were reproduced on the site. Unfortunately, there’s no context for the photos. For the address I checked, there were several photos of artwork, but very little additional information. There are GPS coordinates but it would be nice to have a way to convert them on the fly — maybe the handy converter at http://boulter.com/gps/?
I had only two big concerns about the site. The first is the map of incident data. I had a hard time telling where things were in relation to “home base” – that is, the address for which I was searching. The second is that NYC is a very, very busy place. I would love to see the ability for coverage to be constrained in some specified way — for example, everything within a two block radius, or a five block radius.
I’m looking forward to seeing this for other cities!