San Francisco Building Explorer
In May of 2017, new building footprints were released to the open data portal. To help showcase the release, we wanted to build a simple demonstration app that:
- Visualized the usage of the 3D attributes derived from LiDAR
- Demonstrated linking data from other open data APIs
- Provided transparent, open source code so others could be inspired
- Was easy enough to deploy locally and poke around without a lot of tooling or special knowledge of frameworks
I also wanted someone to pick through the code and build understanding of what’s happening without having to understand a particular framework.
While I would not consider the codebase best practice, it meets the need and has provided people with a reference application for other purposes. For example, querying open data APIs in a frontend application.
This approach is inspired by Mapbox code examples, albeit a bit more involved.
Outcomes & Lessons
- Demonstrated what an “MVP” can look like to City staff and leadership in terms of time spent and deliverable
- Used as a reference application when people want to understand how to incorporate open data API queries in their web app
- Surfaced data quality issues in datasets that informed the data standards handbook
- Worked out patterns that could be used if iterated into a more robust application