Urban Observatory /// comparing urban indicators worldwide

UrbanObservatoryUrban Observatory is a tool created by Esri (makers of ArcGIS) for comparing cities along various important indicators. The sleek tool provides three windows that respond to each other’s scales. Factors that can be compared include common demographic indicators such as population density, as well as traffic and environmental indicators. The maps are dijits, (dojo widgets) and were made through ArcGIS Online, or ArcGIS’ Javascript API.

Cities can contribute their own data to these maps by partnering with Esri. It is unclear whether contributing cities are allowed to download the data of other cities, and there seems to be no way for individuals to access the data. For these people, the map can only act as a reference or ‘cool’ (but ultimately not so useful) tool. As well, the web aspect of this tool becomes questionable if data can be shared between cities, i.e., is there any point in having maps online that cannot be properly printed/analyzed? Will the GIS tech just reproduce the maps they need anyway?

Link: http://www.urbanobservatory.org/compare/index.html

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