Baltimore Interactive Map Launches

Highlights Arts + Culture Across the City Along with Community Indicators

Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance-Jacob France Institute (BNIA-JFI) announces the launch of the GEOLOOM co>map, an online, interactive map of Baltimore City featuring arts and culture information along with community indicators such as census demographics, children and family health, and crime and safety data. The co in GEOLOOM co>map stands for community, collaboration, and cohesion in Baltimore.

The GEOLOOM co>map tool adds cultural data that is a vital but often missing element in the conversations about neighborhoods. The GEOLOOM co>map is rooted in the idea that arts and culture play a significant role in fostering the vitality of a place. Neighborhood-based arts and cultural activity can have an impact on residents’ attachment to their community, the overall economic conditions in their neighborhood, and the quality of life for the entire city.

The GEOLOOM co>map can be used for research, planning, exploration, and investment. It was designed for city planners, artists, civic leaders, residents, large or small businesses, neighborhood associations, arts and culture organizations, non-profit or for-profit real estate developers, private foundations, and government funders. It can help in decision-making about the City’s future. Through visualization, the GEOLOOM co>map can aid cultural institutions, businesses, and elected officials by heightening their awareness of how arts and culture is integrated in Baltimore’s neighborhoods as well as potential audiences, customers, and constituents.

“GEOLOOM highlights the wide range of cultural resources available to residents throughout the city,” said Creative Alliance Executive Director Margaret Footner. “An essential tool for artists, educators, residents, and local and visiting audiences, GEOLOOM makes it easier to explore Baltimore’s diverse arts activities, and connect with cultural communities across the city. For arts organizations like the Creative Alliance, it maps potential partners for developing new, innovative programs and connects us with new audiences.”

The project is the result of more than three years of research, listening, and data gathering integrated into the web map. In order to expand on existing data collect by BNIA-JFI—a broad, inclusive, and community-defined range of arts and culture—the GEOLOOM co>map allows for users to add data and continuously seeks new types of information to include on the map.

The GEOLOOM co>map’s initial arts and culture data comes from a variety of sources, including publicly-funded murals and public art from the Baltimore Office of Promotion and The Arts, heritage investment grants from the Baltimore National Heritage Area, special event permits from the City of Baltimore’s Department of Transportation, and school-based arts education data from Arts Every Day. Artists can add their information to the GEOLOOM co>map and the map includes neighborhood-level data on cultural participation.

The data found in the GEOLOOM co>map will be updated regularly to measure community improvements over time, identify gaps, and address arts and culture needs while strengthening all aspects of Baltimore’s social and economic fabric.

TJ O’Donnell, a professor of assistant professor Klein Family School of Communications Design at UB, served as the project’s designer and Blue Raster, an award winning firm specializing in spatial analysis, application development, and data visualizations, served as the project’s developer. The project was first envisioned by consultant and BOPA Board Member Alyce Myatt, former Director of Media Arts at the National Endowment of the Arts.

The GEOLOOM co>map can be found at http://geoloom.org/. Videos produced by Wide Angle Youth Media showcasing the GEOLOOM co>map can be found on the GEOLOOM co>map YouTube Channel: http://bit.ly/GEOLOOMco_map. Organizations and businesses can copy the link and post the videos to their websites.

Support for the GEOLOOM co>map has been provided by: Baltimore Development Corporation, Baltimore Office for Promotion and the Arts, Baltimore Community Foundation, Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance-Jacob France Institute, Robert W. Deutsch Foundation, France-Merrick Foundation, Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

“We saw this map as yet another tool to identify gaps and opportunities to help foster greater economic inclusion,” said William H. Cole, president and CEO of the Baltimore Development Corporation. “As part of BDC’s mission is to support arts & cultural resources, we recognize the impact these institutions can have on revitalizing a community and helping to attract additional economic activity.”

The release of GEOLOOM co>map coincides with BNIA-JFI’s Baltimore Data Day on July 14th when Baltimore’s community leaders, nonprofit organizations, governmental entities and civic-minded technologists gather to explore the latest trends in community-based data and learn how other groups are using data to support and advance constructive change.

About Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance-Jacob France Institute:

The Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance (BNIA-JFI) at the University of Baltimore is dedicated providing reliable community based indicators in support of data-informed decision making for change. In consultation with neighborhood residents, leaders from across Baltimore, and data provider partners, BNIA-JFI designed its core functions based on Baltimore’s need for a common way of understanding how its neighborhoods and overall quality of life are changing over time. Their work illuminates changing conditions and provides a mechanism to hold Baltimore and all others who work, live, play, and invest in its neighborhoods accountable for positive growth. Since 2002, BNIA-JFI has published the annual Vital Signs report, a compilation of community-based data and analysis of every Baltimore neighborhood.

Learn more about the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance.

The University of Baltimore is a member of the University System of Maryland and comprises the College of Public Affairs, the Merrick School of Business, the UB School of Law and the Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences.

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