PLUTO + CartoDB = Beautiful and Engaging Maps

August 13, 2013 2:35 pm PST | Data as a Service

By Chris Whong


PLUTO, New York City’s highly desirable (and formerly expensive) tax lot dataset was liberated not too long ago. An engaged community of urban planners, civic hackers, and mappers are already hard at work turning its 800,000+ polygons into interesting products. 

As the story goes, many heads are better than one, and putting government data into the hands of the people will pay dividends.  Andrew Hill, a Senior Scientist and Software Developer with NYC web-mapping platform CartoDB, quickly got to work building what has become the first big hit using PLUTO data: a set of 27 beautiful and informative maps providing an overview and tour of the dataset.

CartoDB Pluto 1

The tour maps out various attributes in the data, calling attention to anomalies and interesting bits of information. Building heights, distance to public spaces, ownership characteristics, and year of construction are all explored, revealing interesting patterns and even prompting questions about land use patterns and policies. Each page is its own cartoDB-powered web map, and users can click, zoom, and drag to further explore the data.

CartoDB Pluto 2

This set of maps is an outstanding example of what can be done with open data in the hands of a talented developer community, and we know there is plenty more to come. New York’s Code for America Brigade, BetaNYC, has a demo night for PLUTO hacks scheduled for later this month.

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