The first usable iteration of our housing scout was deployed yesterday and so far the reviews from our partners at New American Pathways have been excellent. They were impressed with the many layers of functionality and the richness of information which our map contains. While still in the early stages of development, the tool does provide a way for users to search – mainly visually – for housing based on price information, job availability, proximity to essential resources and services like public transit, faith communities, and grocery stores.
Our next steps are going to be implementing more concrete search parameters that allow for presorting results and presenting precisely specified potential locations on the map which conform to user inputs, like a traditional real estate search engine.
A major challenge is estimating price information based on other factors. We’ve chosen to give an estimate of price based on census information and geostatical analysis. While not a precise measure, it does give a good picture of the affordability of areas relative to each other. Listings on sites like Trulia, Zillow, and Apartments are often outdated and contain misleading pricing information so we’ve elected to give our best estimate of price as a presorting feature which allows the user to narrow the results and then investigate promising properties websites for accurate pricing and availability information.
City of Atlanta Crime Heatmap
We’re also adding additional information to the map that’s particularly germane to NAP. This includes ESL resource availability and neighborhood safety information. We have a ton on our plates for the next week but I think our site could go from being a serviceable tool to an invaluable resource to the people at NAP.