Birmingham Neighborhoods

February 21, 2013

Click that ‘hood, is an additive little game developed by Code for America where you test your knowledge of the neighborhoods. Being an activist for Birmingham, along with my fondness of maps, I decided I would get Birmingham up on their site. After all, they just need some GIS data formatted correctly. No problem, I’ve worked with GIS data plenty of times before!

Unfortunately when it comes to GIS data, neighborhood boundaries are difficult to come by. This is probably because neighborhood boundaries are fluid and aren’t completely defined like political boundaries. The most popular site for neighborhood boundaries, Zillow.com, didn’t have any available for Birmingham. I kept searching and came upon Birmingham’s Map Portal. This site has some great data on it, including all the neighborhoods. It was just what I was looking for, except, you can’t actually export any GIS data off of it. You can only view it and take screen shots. (It sounds like it’s time to get an open GIS site running for Birmingham… maybe my next project?)

I had images of the neighborhood data now, but this meant I still had to draw the vector data to overlay on a map. Using QGIS, openstreetmaps, and finally Google Maps, I traced out each of the neighborhood boundaries as vector data. It’s not perfect, and I’m still missing a few neighborhoods, but it was good enough for the Click the ‘hood game.

Play It!

Go and test your knowledge. Play Click that ‘hood Birmingham Edition.

Download It!

I have made the Birmingham neighborhood data available in both KML and GeoJSON formats. I am releasing this under the public domain, so feel free to make some really great stuff with it. If anyone feels like adding in the missing neighborhoods, or the neighborhoods for the surrounding cities and suburbs, I’d be grateful if you contributed back!

See It!

You can view my map of the neighborhoods in Google Maps