Weblog for the UW-Madison SLIS summer GIS and information agencies course run by Greg Downey. Members may post something new.
posted by Greg Downey @ 4:06 PM
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I had a lot of fun on this site. It was cool looking up all the information around where I lived. I especially liked all the environmental aspects that I could turn on. One of the problems I had with it was having to hit refresh all the time even to zoom in or out.
I was not impressed with the HUD map your community interface.The inital address search was smooth, but all other functions chunky. Seems like they didn't follow through on identifing/activating all the symbols touted in the legend. Didn't care for the way some legend items were automatically selected and some were not (and all those refreshes). Did like their labeling and representation of streets/roads, which could be useful for a base map. After really working with the map, I was able to find building specifc information, but what info it returned was random. This mapmaking tool has data attached to things, but does not accomplish a database feel for me.
HUD mapping website provides maps by retrieving address, which is good. However, the information provided doesn’t seem to be correct. For example, this map doesn’t show the icons of school, hospital, etc. on their own locations of my community. It is not realiable.
I agree with the accuracy and interface criticisms. "HUD map your community" seemingly does not have the database to back up what their interface proposes that you can do. For example, I also found that the service left out some key landmarks (like schools) after I turned them on. I didn't like that you have to refresh after you activate a layer. It could be a one click process instead of two (a minor point, but big in the world of web design I gather). To play devil's advocate with many of the previous comments, many of the layers they provide are extremely useful for people looking to buy property and keep it long term. Flood hazards, discharges to water, and air releases are all things that I would like to know about before I buy property, and these seemed to map out more accurately than some of the other categories. If I'm not mistaken, HUD is the department that is in charge of all the low income housing projects in big cities like Chicago. I take their general mission to be to get people off the streets and into homes so they can effectively raise families, etc. The information they make available points to that mission. This site is in a position to engage with environmental justice issues because many of their ArcIMS/ESRI powered layers are related to the EPA and other environmental health issues. Overall, I think the ideas are there, but the site will be more useful when they can "clean up" the data sets to make them more accurate.
I found this site to be really frustrating. Like Christy, I could not get it to work with Mozilla, it also did not work with explorer or netscape. I have to imagine that this site needs some work people are not able to get at the maps from home computers with high speed internet. Additionally, I think that the site does not provide enough explanation about what exactly is being mapped from the main page. Considering the problems I expereinced, I found it amusing that the default option on the comments page is a compliment.
When I tried using HUD originally with Mozilla, it didn't work for me either, but it did when I tried Explorer. Aside from some of its limitations, though, you have to hand it to HUD for providing a tool to save your maps.
Figuring out the path to generating a basic map of a neighborhood was way too laborious. First of all, it required some time to get to the EGIS page from the HUD home page. Like Christy, I found that Mozilla Firefox would not display the site, so I went to Explorer. The site will pinpoint a street address. The printing function would not work without signing in, however. I find it suspicious that HUD wants to collect names and e-mail on its site. Their attitude seems to be, "who wants to know?" The Terraserver data on communities was much more accessible and the ideology not as blatant.
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