Case Study: Making Environmental Data Consumer-Friendly

How Healthy is the Air I Am Breathing?

Using Data to Improve Public Health

Louisville, Kentucky’s Institute for Healthy Air, Water and Soil has access to lots of data that relates to the quality environmental conditions and how that quality affects people living in and around the city. As an organization committed to the preservation of clean air, water and soil in order to create healthy communities and support survival, the Institute wants help identifying and filtering all the data and making it useful to the public. Their primary goal is to help the public understand how healthy (or unhealthy) the air is, and draw correlations between the health of the environment and the health of individuals. While the data is already public, it comes from various sources (census, weather, school systems, air quality sensors, public health, etc.), making it difficult for the public to use as a single tool for learning about air quality as it affects public health.

Using Data Aggregation and Visualization Tools to Enhance Consumer Experience

Perscio shares the Institute for Healthy Air, Water and Soil's commitment to environmental preservation, public health and education. We also are strong proponents of making open data accessible and informative to the public.  This makes us enthusiastic about helping develop consumer-friendly resources for the Institute to use in working toward their mission. We started with Air quality as it relates to various indicators around Louisville.  This involved scraping and formatting various data sources that relate to air quality, such as locations of people, weather conditions, and public health data. We then revised the map offering on the Institute's website to provide a layer for each 2014 health report indicator (data source) and allow the selection of multiple layers, enabling visitors to the website easier access to the data.

The TECHnical Details
We packaged the data we wanted to use through CKAN. We relied upon ArcGIS formatting to illustrate our specific regional data around the Louisville area. Leaflet allowed us to make the layers of data interactive.

Applying the Same Technology Across Other Data Sources

After identifying and sourcing the data we needed to show Air quality data on a regional map of the Louisville area, we will be doing the same thing for Water (louisvillewatermap.com) and Soil quality (louisvillesoilmap.com). This kind of access to environmental data by neighborhood is invaluable to the residents, employers, researchers and government officials of Louisville. They can use it to make decisions about where to locate, how to improve conditions, and ultimately, how to make Louisville a healthier place to live. Providing a place to add, amalgamate and see data in layers provides new insights that ultimately will translate to more awareness and better health. All the technology developed to gather, view and explore the data collected has been open-sourced. This is an important approach which provides a low barrier to entry for other cities wanting to replicate the process and technology.