For the last couple of weeks I’ve been putting together a Web site called Nosy Raleigh. On one hand I wanted a place where I could aggregate a lot of information about Raleigh, North Carolina, and on the other hand I wanted to see what you can make when you concentrate on open data for just one area.
I started Nosy Raleigh by using some of the datasets from the Raleigh Open Data initiative to make a Leaflet map that shows police reports, traffic accidents, and construction permit issuances for the last six months. That part is called Crashes, Crime, and Construction.
That was a lot of fun to make; I hadn’t realized how easy it was to put maps and data together thanks to Leaflet. But I didn’t want the only map on the site to be about crime and car crashes; there are plenty of good things about Raleigh to put on a map! I don’t know all of them myself, though, so I relied on the Wikipedia API to make Nosy Raleigh Wikipedia.
NosyR Wikipedia searches in a radius of up to 10000 meters from a Raleigh address to find locations represented by Wikipedia pages. You’ll find everything from parks to city districts to historic buildings to non-profit organizations. Each map icon has an information card that provides some information about the location as well as external links to authoritative information.
Mapping out Wikipedia pages to real-life locations and then adding authoritative links makes a useful page, but I wanted to add something that used dynamic date-based data in addition to location. Raleigh has six major institutions of higher education, so I got the relevant part of the College Scorecard datasets, augmented it with Wikidata, and made Nosy Raleigh Higher Education.
I was really happy with how the Higher Education page turned out, but I wanted to expand the list of feeds beyond local higher education institutions. So I made Nosy Raleigh Local News , which aggregates RSS feeds / Google Alerts of local news sources and blogs. Once I made it I realized that I didn’t really have a place to easily scan through local news. This page lets me flip through local news offerings in a few minutes without getting overwhelmed by ads, autoplaying video, etc. I have more sources to add to this page, which I’ll probably do this afternoon.
While I was gathering up RSS feeds to add to the site, I got distracted by the fact that Wake County (Raleigh is in Wake County) Public Libraries had RSS feeds. It has RSS feeds for everything, too – new books, highest-rated books, search results, and more. I got distracted by that and decided to see if I could put up a map of Wake County’s public libraries along with the latest books in various categories and it worked great!
I know I’ve barely scratched the surface with even Raleigh’s open data, so I expect I’ll be playing around with this to see how much I can add to it for a good little while. Will I be able to figure out how to include Raleigh’s press releases? Stay tuned…
Categories: RB Search Gizmos