June 2008

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Approved by Executive Council ~ May 21, 2008

Whereas connecting users with the information they need is one of the library’s most essential functions, and access to information is one of librarianship’s most cherished values, therefore CLA recommends that Canadian libraries of all types strongly support and encourage open access.

CLA encourages Canadian libraries of all types to:

Via CultureLibre.ca!

I am doing some research at the moment on the topic of Mapping the Risk of Homelessness in Canadian Cities.  To date I have not found many interesting or engaging maps in Canada albeit I did find some thematic static informative PDF maps.  I did however find some interesting maps in the US and one in Dublin.

Los Angeles Homelessness Hotspot Map

The purpose of the downtown Los Angeles Homeless Map is to visually tell the story of downtown’s homeless population. Before a problem can be solved it must be understood. These maps exist to convey the situation on the streets to City leaders, the Police Department and all those who are concerned with homelessness in our city.

There is an animated version of the Map.  Street count data were systematically collected by the LAPD on a bi-weekly basis.  The data were mapped by Cartifact. 

The system geocodes each address to produce coordinates for the address. The plotted points are then placed onto a map of downtown Los Angeles and styled to better convey the information.

San Francisco Chronicles Maps of Homeless Haunts

Layered over the city’s familiar streets and neighborhoods is a separate map seen from the vantage point of the homeless: Market Street is Main Street, the daytime hub; the Mission is a place to buy heroin; Golden Gate Park is the wild frontier – and the area around Pac Bell Park is a campground for people with pets.

This interactive Flash map is part of the San Francisco Chronicles Newspaper 5 part series on Homelessness entitled Shame of the City.

Dublin City Homeless Services Map

CentreCare map of self-referral services for homeless people over 18 in Dublin City.

I was looking for some cross city comparison data yesterday and recalled the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Quality of Life Reporting System (QoLRS).

Conçu par la FCM, le Système de rapports sur la qualité de vie mesure, surveille et fait état de la qualité de vie dans les villes canadiennes en utilisant les données provenant de diverses sources nationales et municipales. / Developed by FCM, the Quality of Life Reporting System (QOLRS) measures, monitors and reports on the quality of life in Canadian urban municipalities using data from a variety of national and municipal sources.

Regroupant initialement 16 municipalités à ses débuts en 1999, le SRQDV compte maintenant 22 municipalités, dont certains des plus grands centres urbains du Canada et beaucoup de municipalités de banlieue qui les entourent. / Starting with 16 municipalities in 1999, the QOLRS has grown to include 22 municipalities, comprising some of Canada’s largest urban centres and many of the suburban municipalities surrounding them.

The FCM’s QoLRS site includes all the documentation, data, metadata and methodologies related to the development of their indicators and the system they have developed.

:: Reports
:: Annexes
:: Indicators

Their data are most impressive.  You can download a spreadsheet of the data for each indicator for 1991, 1996, 2001 and I expect 2006 QoLRS will be coming soon.   Each variable was also adjusted to the current geographies of amalgamated cities which makes cross comparison across time and space possible (see the guide to geographies).  This was not easy to do at the time. Each spreadsheet includes the data source, the variable, and a tab that provides the metadata.  Which means that you can verify what was done, reuse those data or if you had some money & loads of time you could purchase & acquire the data pertaining to your city and add to the indicator system.  Unfortunately the FCM had to purchase these datasets and it cost them many many thousands of dollars.

There are 11 themes and 72 indicators over 3 census periods for 20 cities (Sudbury, Regina, Winnipeg, Niagara, CMQ, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Hamilton, Halifax, Windsor, Toronto, Kingston, London, Ottawa, Vancouver, Waterloo, Halton, Calgary, Peel, York).  Datasets come from:

  • Statistics Canada
  • Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation
  • Environment Canada
  • the 22 cities themselves
  • Elections Canada
  • Audit Bureau of Circulation
  • Tax Filer Data
  • Human Resources and Development Services Canada,
  • FCM Special Surveys
  • Industry Canada
  • Anielsky Management (Ecological Footprint)
  • Canadian Centre for Justice

Putting something like this together is no small feat, so please go check out what is available, play with the data a little, and if you cannot find data for your city, call up your local councilor and ask them to become a member of the QoLRS team!  Also let the FCM know they are doing a good job, as this is one way for us Canadians to see what is going on in our cities overtime.