Quality of Life Dashboard Project
I have been working on a project called the Quality of Life Dashboard. In a nutshell it’s a collaboration between the City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, UNCC, and a host of other partners to create a neighborhood based community dashboard showing various metrics related to community health. This is a study that was normally undertaken by the City of Charlotte and UNCC with a voluminous PDF deliverable, but this time the study area will include the entire County and we’ll be publishing the information via an interactive map-driven web site. And while normally a project that has that many participants would have me running for the hills, this one has that rarest of commodities: a really good project manager.
The site won’t go live for quite a while - the data won’t be ready until the middle of 2012. Some of the nifty features that are working or that will be working at some point:
- The map interface is Google Fusion Tables driven. Besides making on-the-fly choropleth changes, this allows us to open the data directly to the public.
- Google Charts integration.
- Google Translate integration.
- PDF reporting via FPDF (currently a stub - not working yet).
- Responsive web design for the phone browser types.
- JSON configuration, so you can add or modify a measure in one spot.
- Actual data. Right now it’s all randomly generated bits.
Usually when I open the code for a project, I wait until the day the project launches1. This time I decided to go ahead and release the code early in case somebody might find parts of it useful. I’m ~80 hours in, the code is in a fairly clean state (for my code), and it’s mostly done and working. I also wanted to try out Git and Github, and this seemed like a good opportunity. Plus the data won’t arrive until ~ June 2012. That’s a lot of code-sitting-around time.
1 I have always thought launch is a pretentious word and should be reserved for things that actually launch, like spaceships. I guess it’s shorter than saying I took that URL that’s been publicly available for months and told people about it.