The power and usefulness of Google Maps is unquestionable, but all that data is still essentially controlled and influenced by one company. A new project looks to harness the power of crowd-sourced data mapping to put the power of location information in the hands of the people.
The Urban Observatory collects localized information from a range of international cities focusing on information such as traffic, housing density, weather, and population statistics and presents that information in beautifully rendered interactive infographics. But the real power of the site comes from its design dynamic, which allows visitors to quickly and easily compare the infographics of a number of global cities alongside each other in a way that offers a powerful snapshot of contrasting trends in disparate areas.
As the site continues to build up its database, the developers plan to include more vital localized information including income, crime statistics, homelessness information, ethnic demographics, health statistics, and more. You can find out how to participate and add your own data here, and you can see two of the people behind the project, Esri's Jack Dangermond and Radical Media's Richard Saul Wurman, explain more about the inspiration behind the Urban Observatory in the video below.