Philadelphia gets tens of thousands of 311 illegal dumping service requests each year. As shown in previous posts, OpenDataPhilly’s 311 service data can provide key information on Philadelphia’s trash hot spots (here, here).
In this post, I’d like to walk through how I downloaded 311 illegal dump service requests for the first 2 weeks of December, 2016, identified the requests where residents submitted photos, downloaded the dump photos and then made a YouTube video of selected photos by trash type to show the diversity of dumped material in just this 2 week period.
Overview of 311 Data Retrieval and Analysis
Here’s the 7 step process I used to download and process the Philadelphia’s 12/1/16 to 12/14/16 311 service request data:
- Download each Illegal Dumping Service Request from OpenDataPhilly using R, an open source software statistical software system.
- Assign Each Service Request to City Council District with point-in-polygon tool available in R
- Identify Service Requests that Include Media Url
- Download Illegal Dumping Service Request Photos from urls
- Manually Review Photos, Organize by type (Tires, Residential trash, furniture, mattresses, etc)
- Create video of representative dump photos by trash type
- Post video on YouTube
I used free, open source – public access resources, including R, Rsocrata, OpenDataPhilly and YouTube.
Let’s take a look at the resulting video to get a sense for what can be done with on-line 311 data. Here’s a link to the YouTube video:
Philadelphians reported 706 dumping service requests to 311 in the 12/1 to 12/14/16 period. 175 of these dump requests included photos, nearly 25% of the dump service requests.
I grouped the dump requests into 6 categories based on dominant trash in the photo:
- Residential Trash
- Bulk Items, Furniture
- Construction Debris
In previous posts, I’ve geocoded the dump requests by Council District, neighborhood and street segments to help identify hot spots.
Philadelphia neighborhood groups, City Councilors, concerned residents can use the same 311 data to track neighborhood or Council District conditions. Please contact me if you would like more information on how to access Philadelphia’s 311 data to assess problems in your neighborhood.