Walkscore.com Using Free Zillow Neighborhood Boundary GIS Data

I’ve been very interested in the news stories I’ve read about neighborhood boundary data and its usefulness. About a year ago Adena Schutzberg, Directions Magazine, wrote about neighborhood data offereings and the announcement by Zillow.com that they would provide their neighborhood GIS shapefile data freely through a Creative Commons license. First of all, I am very interested to see the CC licensing being applied to geospatial data – this alone is worth following. And I applaud Zillow.com (which I love) for making their data available in this way. So I was really interested when I came across another very excellent site providing my home’s walkability score (which alas is moderately low) and my office (which is very highly walkable).

Walkscore.com is a site worth visiting. “Walk Score helps people find walkable places to live. Walk Score calculates the walkability of an address by locating nearby stores, restaurants, schools, parks, etc. Walk Score measures how easy it is to live a car-lite lifestyle—not how pretty the area is for walking.” The Walk Score algorithm awards points based on distances to the closest amenity in a number of categories. I especially love the heat maps showing the most walkable neighborhoods in the top 40 U.S. cities. And certainly turn around is fair play… Zillow is already leveraging the benefits of having made its neighborhood data available (in February, Zillow.com added WalkScore to each of their 87 million properties).

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