Cool Toys Pic of the day – Library Casualties – A Sign of What Else? (Map Mashups)

Losing Libraries:

(See matching screenshots at the bottom of the post.)

A Nation Without School Librarians:
View Larger Map

This morning on Web4Lib, Petter Naess mentioned both the Losing
Libraries site and the Nation Without School Librarians mashup. Both
of these sites are mashups, actually, taking data sources and
combining them with (usually) Google Maps to create an informative and
educational data visualization. Back in January 2008, the Horizon
Report forecast that data mashups were about two to three years away
from becoming mainstream. Right now, they sure look like they are!
Data mashups with Google Maps have become ubiquitous within news and
current events tracking as well as crisis and disaster management.
They are particularly heavily used in public health and health

Horizon Report: 2008: Two to Three Years: Data Mashups:

When I was looking at these maps of how libraries are disappearing,
the obvious next question was if this is tied to the national economic
crisis and general unemployment. The Slate mashup, “When Did You
County’s Jobs Disappear?,” seemed to confirm this, although a bit more
dramatically than the more reliable PatchworkNation map.

Slate: When Did Your County’s Jobs Disappear?

Patchwork Nation: Unemployment Rate April 2010:

I was very intrigued that the unemployment patterns seem to differ
from the Hardship Index, and I am curious why. Why some states or
counties or communities are managing to avoid hardship despite some of
the highest unemployment rates in the country. What is different about
the communities or leadership or strategies that is making that

PathworkNation: Hardship Index:

Does the Economic Stimulus & Recovery Act perhaps explain part of the

GIS User: EPA Economic Stimulus and Recovery Efforts Map:

The next question I had was whether reduction of library services in
economically challenged areas was associated with reductions in other
core services, such as public safety, police, fire, other related
services. I know here in Ann Arbor, the city has reduced many of these
services and is both switching streetlights from incandescent to LED while also testing locations
where streetlights may be removed or reduced in number altogether
(word of mouth from citizen in affected trial area). Are there other
cost saving mechanisms in process that may have safety implications?
For these questions, I was unable to easily or immediately locate
maps, but I hope someone is looking at this. There is a fascinating
article from Mashable looking at other ways in which maps and mapping
and mashups are being used for public and community good.

Virtual Neighborhood Watch: How Social Media is Making Cities Safer:

Here’s another way to look at the patterns of library closures and
librarian layoffs. How are those states doing academically? Take a
look at the ranks by ACT score, and notice that in general the areas
that are closing libraries are already locations that are not doing
well academically.

ACT Scores By State (2007):

Do you have unanswered questions for which this approach might be
useful? There are an ever increasing number of APIs available to make
federal data sources accessible for this purpose.

Federal Computer Week: Web mashups put transparency to the test:

Don’t know how? There is a local expert teaching classes on how to do
map mashups.

Roger Rayle: Google Earth Classes:

Here’s an example of one of Roger’s projects from a while back.

Google Earth Applications in a Community Information System: Scio
Residents for Safe Water

Want to see more map mashups? Here is an amazing collection.

ProgrammableWeb: Google Maps Mashups:


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