Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Civic Builders :: Resources :: GIS Maps

Civic Builders :: Resources :: GIS Maps
This link shows what kind of maps Civic Builders uses - it's interesting, but a little "Big Brother"-creepy, too.

Interactive Map: A User's GuideIn 2003, Civic Builders contracted with NYPIRG's Community Mapping Assistance Project (CMAP) to customize a data rich, interactive mapping tool that would provide both a global – and very local – picture of New York City communities. The mapping software – donated to CMAP by the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) – was tailored for Civic to help rationalize decisions about where to locate new charter schools. By visually depicting enormous amounts of geographic and demographic information on city neighborhood maps, the software tool allows for strategic thinking about new school site selection, which benefits everyone with a stake in NYC's charter schools.
Rationalizing Decision CriteriaThe ability to visualize this broad range of data simultaneously helps decision makers understand and refine their criteria for choosing new school locations. The GIS software allows users to view maps at a city, borough, neighborhood, and even street level. At every relief, users can click on the map to see and understand the detailed information about a region. Some of the available information includes locations of existing schools and their contact information, the type of funding each school receives (e.g. public, private, parochial), the present capacity of a district, and the projected capacity, including shortages or surpluses, in 2012. It also provides information on sites of proposed new DOE schools.
Map 1: Overcrowding by DistrictOne rationale for a new school might be based on capacity constraints. Using the information suggested above, Civic can locate a site where there is significant overcrowding and therefore a need for new seats to accommodate a neighborhood's children. Click to see Map 1
Map 2: Fourth Grade English Test Scores - Percent at Level 1The mapping program also provides statistics on district level educational performance, including test scores for 4th and 8th graders in English and Math at all levels. These search criteria could be used to find a location that satisfies "educational need": perhaps new charter schools should be sited in neighborhoods where current schools are underperforming and where test scores are low. Click to see Map 2
Map 3: Percent of Students Receiving Free or Reduced Lunch by DistrictAnother feature that can be represented on the map is the socioeconomic distribution of a neighborhood. We can isolate data like enrollment levels, race and the percentage of children eligible for free or reduced lunches. Since low test scores tend to correlate with other indicators of community privation, this information can be used to determine areas likely to show poorer academic performance, and this can be a gauge of school need. Click to see Map 3
Map 4: Geography of a Neighborhood – Parks, Streets, Subways, Vacant LotsOnce "macro" criteria, such as rates of poverty and overcrowding, have been determined and a desired neighbored has been selected, more "micro" level data can help refine specific site selection. For example, in addition to understanding neighborhood school capacity, performance, and socioeconomics, knowing where other local amenities – public transportation and parks – and available real estate are located can help further refine site selection. Click to see Map 4
Map 5: Overcrowding by District and Fourth Grade English Test Scores at Level 1The maps allow for any number of cross sectional analyses. For example, one might assume that overcrowding and underperformance go hand in hand, but in fact the opposite is often the case. This is not because overcrowding, per se, improves pedagogy, learning conditions, or test scores, but because good schools attract students and families to particular neighborhoods. Schools with low test scores, on the other hand, have difficulty attracting students. Observations like this allow for the thorough consideration of many different (and sometimes competing) factors in the site selection process. Click to see Map 5

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