Evaluating and Using Open Data Portal Technology for Social Good

Sponsor: South Big Data Hub

The Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance at the University of Baltimore is partnering on a project with Towson University to create a series of webinars open to the public to learn about and evaluate several open data portal technologies for publishing data for smart cities and data science for social good.

Perkins, Somerset, Oldtown Transformation

Sponsor: Housing Authority of Baltimore City, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

The Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance has joined forces with the Housing Authority of Baltimore City (HABC) as part of the Perkins, Somerset, Oldtown Transformation Plan. By tracking key indicators about the physical neighborhood, the residents, and the investment levels, a clearer picture of the transformation’s effects emerges.

Helping Communities Understand Benefits of Smart Surfaces

Sponsor: Abell Foundation

The national Smart Surfaces Coalition (SCC) partnered with the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance (BNIA) to provide Baltimore policymakers, neighborhoods and advocates with a powerful new tool to promote livability and resilience. Through the tool and focused community engagement, SCC and BNIA aim to encourage the use of practices such as green roofs and trees, and reflective pavement and roofs, collectively known as “smart surfaces,” in support of improved local air quality and reduced heat impacts.

Data Science Corps to Improve the Quality of Life in Urban Areas

Sponsor: The National Science Foundation

The Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance—Jacob France Institute (BNIA-JFI) at the University of Baltimore will assist in the development of team-based data science corps consisting of undergraduate students from Computer Science, Information Systems, and Business majors. Students in the data science corps will gain both academic and hands-on experience through real-world data science projects. In this project we will focus on the city of Baltimore as an exemplar for other cities in the US and across the globe. We will collaborate with a number of government, industry, and community stakeholders in the city of Baltimore to integrate real-world data science projects into classroom instructions.

This project will be a collaborative effort with UMBC as the coordinating as well as implementing organization and the University of Baltimore (UB), Towson University, and Bowie State University as implementing organizations. BNIA-JFI will be a part of a team of experts with multidisciplinary academic expertise and complementary training experiences in parallel computing, data science, big data, cybersecurity, virtual reality, geospatial data analysis, and urban and regional planning. BNIA-JFI will support integration of real-world data science projects by 1) recruiting and introducing data science tools and techniques to undergraduate students at UB; 2) accelerating the adoption of advanced data science techniques, such as geospatial analysis for projects in urban communities through community-based real-world projects.

“Smart Cities” Initiative

Sponsor: National Science Foundation

The University of Baltimore is among four of Maryland’s leading universities working together on a plan to apply cutting-edge technologies—such as free public internet, smart street lights and innovative transportation hubs—to improve the lives of residents in West Baltimore. Led by the University of Maryland, College Park, and supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation, the “Smart Cities” initiative will pair smart technology with the latest research in equity, health and urban planning to outline a roadmap for city policymakers as they work to increase quality of life in Baltimore. Other universities involved include the Center for Government Excellence (GovEx) at Johns Hopkins University and Morgan State University. Read more…

Baltimore City Open Land Database (BOLD)

Sponsor: Abell Foundation

In partnership with the Community Law Center and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, BNIA-JFI is developing data-driven technology tools to create solutions to vacant property problems and empower advocates to devise efficient stabilization and revitalization strategies in neighborhoods across the city. This project will create a user-friendly mapping and data tool that integrates publicly available parcel-level property information from multiple sources, including property ownership, code violations, occupancy, foreclosure, and tax sale status. The tool will provide users with a comprehensive set of relevant information to better understand, analyze, and reform various property-related policies, including tax-sale foreclosure. This resource is now available online at https://dev.bniajfi.org/bold/.

Cultural Mapping Tool (GEOLOOM)

Sponsors: National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), France-Merrick Foundation, Baltimore Development Corporation

Arts and cultural activities contribute to the vitality of neighborhoods by creating spaces for social interaction and sharing, stimulating community-based economic opportunities, and transforming the physical and emotional notions of place. As Baltimore’s communities, growth, and economy are increasingly tied to arts and culture, creating a mapping tool to track related data has become essential to the city’s future.


Sponsor: Association of Builders & Contractors—Baltimore Chapter, Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore

A new on-line service called ‘The Pipeline’ was launched this year that tracks development projects in the pre-planning stages as a service to developers. Understanding and keeping track of the status of projects during the development review phase is complicated because projects evolve as developers ensure compliance with local land use regulations and produce contextually sensitive final designs. The purpose of the ‘The Pipeline’ is to develop a database and visualization prototype that tracks development projects through the review process and documents the status of the project prior to obtaining a building permit. The database of projects is geocoded and available for visualization on an online mapping tool https://realestate.dev.bniajfi.org.  Other data sources include real estate news outlets and other local information. The partnership has sponsored students from the Merrick School of Business Real Estate program to serve as research assistants.

Knowledge that Works for Baltimore: BNIA in the Classroom

Sponsor: University of Baltimore, Fund for Excellence

BNIA-JFI received a grant to 1) conduct an survey of academic users to understand the impact of BNIA-JFI data on academic analysis, curriculum development and service learning at UB; 2) establish a network of academic users for peer-to-peer learning and the advancement of the science of community-based information; 3) raise awareness among UB faculty by developing curriculum modules for faculty to incorporate in multi-disciplinary contexts, 4) host cross-university coursework and other projects online at www.dev.bniajfi.org; and 5) invite faculty and students to present findings at the annual workshop Baltimore Data Day. The goals of this project include integrated use of the community- based data on campus, support for UB’s designation as a Carnegie-designated Engaged University and growing educational opportunities in Geographic Information Systems on campus.

Interactive Map of Community Managed Open Space

Sponsor: US Department of Agriculture, US Forestry Service, Northern Research Station

In 2011, the Urban Waters Federal Partnership established Baltimore as one of seven pilot sites in an effort to coordinate resources to “revitalize urban waters and the communities that surround them”.  Collaboration among inter-governmental, inter-jurisdictional and non-governmental entities is critical to gaining a common understanding of localized problems and developing an integrated set of strategies for achieving community revitalization. Beginning September 2012, BNIA-JFI began to create an interactive resource tool for community gardens and open spaces in an effort to timely monitoring and coordinate activities to strengthen the relationship between improving urban waters and community revitalization.  This resource is now available online at https://water.dev.bniajfi.org/ and should be useful for leveraging community-based funding, policy development and advocacy.




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Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance
The Jacob France Institute
1420 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21201
410-837-4377 | [email protected]