For a long time I’ve wanted to get the City of Edmonton’s neighbourhood census data in CSV format (or really any usable format other than PDF). Recently, with the help of Laura (and Sandra) at the City’s Election & Census Services department, who I met at the Open City Workshop, I finally got it. And now you can have it too!
Visualizing the Data
Why is having the census data in a format like CSV useful? Well for one thing, it enables creatives to do stuff with that data through code or other tools. For instance, I was able to generate a heat map for the City of Edmonton:
The darker sections are more heavily populated, the lighter yellow regions are less populated.
Not all neighbourhoods are reflected, as the City does not release details for neighbourhoods with a population between 1 and 49. Here are some other things we can learn from the data set:
- Total population in the data set is 777,811, which means there are 4628 individuals unaccounted for (total for 2009 was 782,439).
- The average neighbourhood population is 2424, or 3039 if you exclude neighbourhoods with a reported population of 0.
- The median neighbourhood population is 2216.
- Oliver and Downtown are the only two neighbourhoods with a population greater than 10,000.
- More dwellings are owned (192,171) than rented (121,953).
Another reason having this data in CSV is useful is because app developers can more easily integrate it into the things they are building. For example, all the census data is now available at ShareEdmonton! So when you view a neighbourhood, you’ll see the census data on the right side (see Alberta Avenue for example). You can also browse neighbourhoods by population. I’ve also fixed the neighbourhood search, so it works better now.
This is just the first of a few neighbourhood-related updates this month, so stay tuned for more!
Yesterday the City released more information on the Apps4Edmonton competition. The first phase, from now until May, is “accepting community ideas”. Basically they want you to tell them what data you want. Aside from the obvious “we don’t know what we don’t know” problem, I think the community has done a pretty good job of defining desired data sets already.
They City had a great start in January with the launch of the data catalogue, but we need more data. Especially data like the census data, which myself and many others have been asking for since the day the PDFs were released. There are clearly some internal issues that need to be worked out if I was able to acquire this before the open data team was. I hope they get everything resolved for the competition, because it’ll be a pretty boring one if we still only have twelve data sets (New York and other cities had dozens, maybe even hundreds, before their competitions).
That said, I know there are passionate, smart people working on it. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have data set requests or want to get involved in Apps4Edmonton.