LocalData: A Revolution in Community Planning?

More interesting stuff from the cloud.  Planetizen has a link to a FastCompany piece on LocalData, a web-based data application that could revolutionize community planning.  How so?  Well, as post author Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan suggests, suppose you are a community organizer in Detroit that want to help organize a local community garden program.  How could LocalData help determine which community members might be interested and where the garden(s) should be located?

The community organizer could join LocalData and set up a streamlined survey using the app’s incredibly simple form tool. Then, the leader can send their survey as a URL link to volunteers, who in turn use their smartphones to record their results. Rouault adds that since many volunteers are elderly or young, smartphones may not be an option. “We opted to do a paper-based version, too, allowing a user to print out a map, draw on it, then scan it and geocode the qualitative information they drew.” After the surveys are complete, members can log-in to the dashboard and see their data, which has already been time-stamped, visualized, and mapped. They can also choose to download the data sets in popular file formats for further analysis.

Created by three 2012 Code for America fellows, LocalData is intended to let volunteers do the data collection, analysis and visualization that is usually the province of paid professional staff or consultants.  You can read her full post here.

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