Category Archives: Litter GIS

Philadelphia Updates, Significantly Improves Street Litter Index

Philadelphia has taken a major step forward with the recent release of the interactive 2017 Litter Index map (link) and supporting data (link).

In my January, 2017 post, I compared Philadelphia’s earlier litter index to the then recently released LA Street Litter Index. LA had made significant improvements in their index. I am thrilled to report that one year later, Philadelphia has a state-of-the-art litter index that  provides litter status data for every street segment in the City.

The new index is based on city block surveys where surveyors assessed the litter  situation on a 4 point scale:

  1. Little to no litter
  2. Litter, in the amount that can be picked up by one person
  3. Litter, in the amount that would need a team to clean up
  4. Litter, requires a large clean effort and/or heavy machinery to remove

Surveyor data included date(s) of survey, litter count for the block as well as a link to field photograph(s).

Users can download the City’s detailed litter survey data at 3 levels of detail:

  • Detailed Survey Points – detailed data for each survey point
  • Street Segments
  • Ward Divisions, aka voting precints

The data is available in CSV files, shapefiles and GeoJSOn files. The best place to start is to look at the Metadata for the point, line and polygon data.

I have started analyzing the 2017 Litter Index Data for Council District 8. These 2 maps show the point survey data and the block – street segment data for Council District 8.

 

 

Congratulations to the City’s Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet for implementing this comprehensive litter measurement system. This data will help community groups, individuals, litter activists and City Departments to focus attention on both city-wide and neighborhood priorities and measure progress as we work together to solve the City’s chronic street trash problem.

Philadelphia Litter Code Violation Notices by Council District

There were 33,213 litter code violation notices issued in 2013. Here’s a map that shows the number of litter code violations by the 10 City Council Districts.

Litter_CVN_2013_by_Council_

How to Map Phila Neighborhood Litter Code Violation Notices

I previously wrote about the Germantown 2013 litter code violation map. In this post, I want to provide a short how-to  for this E Mt Airy 2013 Litter Code Violation Map so that others can produce similar maps for their neighborhoods.

EMA_2013_CVN_litter

GIS Requirements

I started using ESRI’s ArcMap after working with ESRI’s free ArcGIS Desktop Explorer for about a year. I love both products, with ArcMap providing the critical geoprocessing tools I needed to drill down into Philadelphia’s litter problem.

You’ll need a full GIS tool to be able to analyze Philadelphia litter data the way I have.

Litter Data Data Requirements

You need 3 data shapefiles to reproduce the E Mt Airy Litter code Violation map for your neighborhood.  Here are the files with links tht you need:

  1. City Code Violation Notice Data Shapefile
  2. City Neighborhood Boundaries Shapefile
  3. City Street Centerlines Shapefile

Working with Code Violation Notice (CVN) Shapefile

The City’s CVN shapefile is pretty good size for my desktop PC at 450 thousand records. Once you load the CVN shapefile, I suggest that you open the CVN attribute table and select just 2013 CVNs for these litter codes:

  • 10702    –  Littering in Public
  • 10703    –   Litter in Receptacle
  • 10705    –   Litter swpt to gutter
  • 107032 –  Misuse of City Lit Bask
  • 107041 – Sidewalk not litter free
  • 107042 – Recpl not supplied
  • 107141 – Premises not litter free
  • 107142 – Recp not litter free

Once you have selected just the litter CVN for 2013, you save this data set as a new shapefile and use it as a layer for further analysis. Use the data > export option , give the export an understandable name and you now have just City wide 2013 litter CVNs.

Selecting 2013 Litter CVNs in your Neighborhood

You now want to select just those 2013 CVNs in your neighborhood. To do this, activate the neighborhoods layer you downloaded from Open Data Philly  and select your neighborhood. One way you can do this is to click the Selection menu, choose Interactive Selection and  go to desired neighborhood polygon and right click to select the desired polygon.

You now want to make a boundary layer for your desired neighborhood.  Please note that you could add additional neighborhoods if you wanted. Once you have your neighborhood(s) selected, right click your City neighborhoods layer and select Data to export your neighborhood boundary as a separate layer. Be sure to name it with a useful neighborhood id so that you can retrieve it later.

Clip City 2013 Litter CVN Data to your Neighborhood Boundary

You now have a layer with just 2013 litter CVN data for the City and your desired neighborhood layer. To get just the litter CVNs in your neighborhood, you need to clip the City 2013 CVN layer with your neighborhood boundary.

Be sure to save your new clipped data layer with a recognizable name.

Map and Analysis

You now have a layer with just 2013 litter CVNs for your neighborhood. You are ready to produce your neighborhood map. You can use either one of the available basemaps or use the a clipped layer from the City’s centerline layer.

 

Mapping Germantown Litter Code Violations

This post shows how the Philadelphia’s Code Violation Notice data can be used to identify local litter hot spots.  In this example, I have selected the 2013 sidewalk and premise code violation notices within the Germantown Connections  boundary.

Here is  my ARCMap result:

Gtown_cvn_2013_107041_141

 

Each of the 829 red dots represents a sidewalk or premise code violation notice issued in 2013.

I’ve been thinking about how local community development groups and City agencies could use this type of litter GIS data analysis to identify litter hot spots, monitor year-to-year litter changes (hopefully improvements) to effectively and focus attention in problem areas.

Mapping Philadelphia Litter – Code Violations Data

Philadelphia released code notice violations (CNV) data in June, 2014 (here, here). In this post I want to show an example of what Philadelphia citizens can do with the City’s data to dig deeper into the causes – locations of Philadelphia’s litter problem.

First, let’s look at the map that I produced from the CNV data: a chloropleth map of 2013  CVN by Streets Department trash collection districts  for 2 litter violations:

  • 107041 – Sidewalk not litter free
  • 107141 – Premise not litter free

Litter_CVN_2013

There were 31,129 litter CVN, the number of violations by trash collection district vary from 0-50 (green areas) at the low end to a maximum of 1,527 (red areas). While this map doesn’t fully explain the City’s litter problem, it does show the pockets of litter free and litter prone areas. This map, coupled with other data on trash receptacle, housing stock conditions, bus stops, litter generating establishments can begin to focus attention on necessary remedial steps.

Philadelphia, under Mayor Nutter,has an excellent open data approach. Interested citizens working with the City’s open data will be able to take the next steps in tackling City litter by measuring the extent of the problem and conducing year-to-year assessments of progress.