Philadelphia’s Open Data Can Help Tackle City’s Illegal Dumping

Philadelphia has an excellent open data program (link) and a very serious illegal dumping problem (link). I have previously written about how Philadelphia’s 311 open data can be used to pinpoint illegal dumping hot spots (here).

In this post I want to show how local community groups, concerned citizens and City agencies can use readily available city open data to assess illegal dumping in local areas. I’ll use 5 open data sets for this example:

  1. City 311 complaints (Dec., 2014 – Nov., 2016)
  2. Vacant Property Building Indicators (CSV – 11/16/16)
  3. Vacant Property Land Indicators (CSV – 11/16/16)
  4. CLIP Vacant Lot Cleanups (CSV – 2016)
  5. Landcare Program (CSV)

The 311 data file is quite large (over 1 million records)because it includes all City service requests, including information requests. The first step is to extract only those records of interest, in our case Illegal Dumping Service Requests.  I did this with a simple R script.

I use ESRI’s Arcmap 10.4 to do my GIS  work, including clipping to my geographic areas, District 8 and neighborhoods in District 8. Community groups could use a similar approach to subset into CDC areas, Police Districts, Council Districts, Planning District  or census tracts.

Here is a slideshow illegal dumping, CLIP cleanups, LandCare and Vacant Property Indicator Land & Buildings data for each of the 20 neighborhoods in District 8.

Here is a PDF   of the 20 maps.




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