The Loveland Blog

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Free as in Speech, Not Free as in Beer: Why Free and Open-Source Technology Benefits Everyone

By Sahana Murthy on June 27, 2020 · Democratizing Data

 

"We are excited to publish a guest blog post by the CEO - Pablo Fuentes & the team of our partner organization, makepath.

Please read to learn more about the power of open source. As long time proponents of open source technologies ourselves, many of which have helped power the Landgrid solution suite, we couldn't agree more with Pablo. Read on to learn how you could leverage open source tools to build the next best thing in your industry."

 

 

“...widespread use of open-source software tends to increase its value, as users fold in their own fixes and features (code patches). In this inverse commons, the grass grows taller when it’s grazed upon.”

Eric S. Raymond, Cathedral and the Bazaar: Musings on Linux and Open Source by an Accidental Revolutionary

 

Pioneers of the Free and Open-Source Software (FOSS) movement, such as Eric S. Raymond, lived by a simple mantra: if they liked a software program, it was their obligation to share it.  To them, making software “free” didn’t represent a more convenient choice or optimal solution. It was the most ethical decision one could make.

Initially, many business leaders balked at the idea of freely distributed software, but over time, it has gained wider acceptance and a devoted community of creators and developers.

Our company, makepath, specializes in geospatial technology and full-stack application development. We are active contributors to many open-source projects, such as Datashader and Bokeh, and our co-founder Brendan Collins created the xarray-spatial library for large scale spatial analysis. If you’re interested, here’s a recent blog post detailing our favorite open-source spatial analysis tools.

We are FOSS evangelists and believe that open-source technology not only encourages innovation and collaboration, but also makes businesses more profitable.

 

Free?! What do you mean free?

The idea of free software making businesses money may seem counterintuitive, so let us explain. 

“Free” doesn’t mean “costs zero dollars.” We think companies should charge whatever customers will pay for their software. 

“Free” in this context means that creators share the knowledge that powers this software with others, so that they can understand it, build upon it, and spread it further.

Open-source advocates describe this as the difference between “free beer and free speech,” an idea that is broken down in this blog post by How-to-Geek. 

To sum it up, a “free beer” is a wonderful present that begins and ends with you drinking the beer. The provider expects nothing in return, and it’s assumed that you’ll never ask for the recipe nor sell it to anyone else.

“Free Speech,” on the other hand, offers true freedom rather than an item that costs nothing. Anyone is free to study it, use it, spread it around, or build upon it, hopefully in ways that benefit the public good. This is the ideal that we aspire to.

 

But How is That Good for Business?

Here are a number of ways in which FOSS can strengthen your business: 

  1. Open-source tools are affordable, easily accessible, and customizable to individual needs.
  2. They can save time and energy, particularly with tools that are commoditized or that don’t offer a competitive advantage. Pendo Systems, a Fintech firm, estimates they saved 9,000 hours of labor and $500,000 by downloading open-source software instead of developing their own code for calculation engines.
  3. Users can continually iterate upon programs, meaning that there are frequent improvements, bug-fixes, and updates.
  4. Companies don’t have to spend money on licensing or expensive anti-piracy programs.
  5. Businesses also have the opportunity to give back, by adding their own innovations, sharing them, and enriching the entire FOSS community.

 

Case Study: The GeoNode Project

 

Source: Geonode.org

 

In 2009, The Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), an organization run by the World Bank, started the GeoNode Project

GeoNode is an open-source platform designed to easily share geographical information, helping global communities respond quickly to natural disasters.

GFDRR adopted a strong open-source investment strategy to power GeoNode. In 2016, they commissioned a report to evaluate its performance.

The report found that GFDRR earned at least a 200% return on their investments during that time period. Organizations around the world implemented GeoNode’s software, and the project’s success attracted investment from public and private entities alike

In short, their commitment to open-source was a resounding success.

 

Democratizing Knowledge 

Open-source tools benefit users by liberating them from the constraints of proprietary software licenses. 

These tools embody the true spirit of the Internet - a free marketplace of ideas and services, a place where information is democratized for the greater good.

As Paul Ramsey said, “You get what you pay for, everyone gets what you pay for, and you get what everyone pays for….what could possibly be better than that?”

 

What are your favorite open-source tools?  Please let us know in the comments. If you have questions about how to deploy open-source spatial analysis tools, please reach out at contact@makepath.com.

 

Pablo Fuentes & the makepath team.

makepath

 

June 2020 - Parcel Data Update

By Sahana Murthy on June 11, 2020 · How-To

A summary of updates in May of 2020 and the upcoming pipeline is below. 

Key Data Stats:

  • Total age down by 1.5% from last month
  • Average parcel age - 217 days, down from 221 last month
  • Average county age - 241 days, down from 248 last month
  • 638K new parcels added online since last month


SPECIAL NOTE - USPS Vacancy, Residential indicators: Now updated monthly. Updated in May 2020, next update in June! 

Coverage Report: Updated for this month and available here:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1q0PZB72nO8935EMGmsh3864VjEAMUE-pdHcPkoAiS5c/

For all full dataset customers, the updated data is available for download to bulk data clients in these formats: GeoPKG .gpkg (suggested), GeoJSON, Shapefile, and Postgres SQL files.  In addition, this data has been updated on the landrid.com website.

If your organization uses a custom export we are updating your data at the moment and if you don’t see the latest updates, please drop us a line.

A Data Dictionary for the Loveland Standard Schema is always available here:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/14RcBKyiEGa7q-SR0rFnDHVcovb9uegPJ3sfb3WlNPc0/

A machine-readable version of this list is included in the `verse` table available in all the formats above as well as CSV format for use in spreadsheets. To find the latest updates in verse, sort by 'last_refresh' and use the 'filename_stem' column to identify the file.

Data refreshed or added from the county in May and live now:
( Asterisk * indicates newly added county)
--------------------------------------------------
Alabama - Baldwin, Barbour, Blount, Bullock, Butler, Calhoun, Cherokee, Cleburne, Coffee, Colbert, Coosa, Crenshaw, Cullman, Dale, Dallas, DeKalb, Elmore, Etowah, Fayette, Franklin, Geneva, Greene, Hale, Henry, Jackson, Jefferson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Lee, Limestone, Macon, Madison, Marshall, Mobile, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Randolph, Russell, Shelby, St. Clair, Sumter, Talladega, Tuscaloosa 

Illinois - Clark, De Witt, Logan, McDonough, Macon, Stephenson

Louisiana - Acadia, Ascension, Assumption, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Bossier, Caddo, Calcasieu, Catahoula, Claiborne, Concordia, De Soto, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Evangeline*, Franklin, Grant, Iberia, Iberville, Jackson, Jefferson, La Salle, Lafayette, Lafourche, Lincoln, Livingston, Natchitoches, Orleans, Plaquemines, Pointe Coupee, Red River, Richland, St. Bernard*, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, Union*, Vernon, Washington, Webster, West Feliciana

Maryland - Allegany, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Baltimore City, Calvert, Caroline, Carroll, Cecil, Charles, Dorchester, Frederick, Garrett, Harford, Howard, Kent, Montgomery, Prince George's, Queen Anne's, Somerset, St. Mary's, Talbot, Washington, Wicomico, Worcester

Missouri - Barry*

North Dakota - Burke, Cass, Dividse, Mountrail, Traill, Williams

Nebraska - Dodge, Fillmore, Frontier, Nuckolls

Oklahoma - Alfalfa, Canadian, Carter, Cleveland, Coal, Comanche, Creek, Delaware, Grady, Harper, Haskell, Jackson, Johnston, Lincoln, Love, McCurtain, Murray, Noble, Oklahoma, Osage, Payne, Rogers, Sequoyah, Tulsa, Woodward

South Dakota - Davison, Douglas, Faulk, Hanson, Hutchinson, Jerauld, Minnehaha, Sanborn

Texas - Anderson, Andrews, Angelina, Aransas, Archer*, Armstrong, Atascosa, Austin, Bailey, Bandera, Bastrop, Baylor, Bee, Bell, Bexar, Blanco, Borden, Bosque, Bowie, Brazoria, Brazos, Brewster, Brooks, Brown, Burleson, Burnet, Caldwell, Calhoun, Callahan, Cameron, Camp, Carson, Cass, Castro*, Chambers, Cherokee, Childress, Clay*, Cochran, Coke, Collin, Collingsworth*, Colorado, Comal, Comanche, Concho, Cooke, Coryell, Cottle, Crane, Crockett*, Culberson, Dallam, Dallas, Dawson*, Deaf Smith, Delta, Denton, DeWitt, Dickens, Dimmit, Duval, Eastland, Ector, Edwards, Ellis, Erath*, Falls, Fannin, Fayette, Fisher, Floyd*, Foard, Fort Bend, Franklin, Freestone, Frio*, Gaines, Galveston, Gillespie, Glasscock, Goliad, Gonzales, Gray, Grayson, Gregg, Grimes, Guadalupe

US Virgin Islands - St. Croix*, St. John*, St. Thomas*

West Virginia - Barbour, Berkeley, Boone, Braxton, Brooke, Cabell, Calhoun, Clay, Doddridge, Fayette, Gilmer, Grant, Greenbrier, Hampshire, Hancock, Hardy, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson, Kanawha, Lewis, Lincoln, Logan, Marion, Marshall, Mason, McDowell, Mercer, Mineral, Mingo, Monongalia, Monroe, Morgan, Nicholas, Ohio, Pendleton, Pleasants, Pocahontas, Preston, Putnam, Raleigh, Randolph, Ritchie, Roane, Summers, Taylor, Tucker, Tyler, Upshur, Wayne, Webster, Wetzel, Wirt, Wood, Wyoming

Wisconsin - Milwaukee

In the current pipeline for updating in June 2020
--------------------------------------------------
Texas - Remainder of state
Nevada - about 10 counties

In the pipeline for updating in July 
--------------------------------------------------
New Jersey

Based on feedback and county challenges, pipeline planning is always subject to change. As always, please contact us if you have any questions about accessing or using the data, if you find issues with any of our data, or you have any comments or questions about our data in specific areas or states. We also love to hear from you about which counties or regions you’d like to see us update next, as it helps inform our planning process.
 

Thank you for being a part of Loveland!

Happy Mapping!

Mid Year Update - Data, Platform & Content

By Sahana Murthy on June 10, 2020 · Announcements

Just like that, we are at the halfway mark of a year defined by world-changing events from COVID-19 to massive demonstrations against racial injustice, and there are still six months and a US Presidential election left in 2020.

With all the intensity and uncertainty in the world, we are keeping the June update short & sweet, though please know that if our data can help you with COVID research or efforts to root out injustice in property policies you should reach out to talk (we are members of the *SafeGraph COVID-19 Data Consortium* and working on reforms to issues like * Detroit’s destructive tax foreclosure policies* remains an abiding interest as it has for years).

Let’s dive right into it then:

Product Updates:

3. US Virgin Islands - We were finally & magically able to add US virgin islands parcel data to our dataset, mapping platform and the data store. We added updated Puerto Rico data too last month. Lots more of the missing counties in our dataset will be coming soon. You can check out the US Virgin Islands on our data store if you are interested - https://landgrid.com/store/us/vi

2. Print PDF for Landgrid Pro - We recently added the “Print PDF Map” & "Print Parcel" feature to our Landgrid Pro subscription tier. So all Landgrid Pro users can now not only look up individual parcel information but can also print parcel info as a PDF & print the map you are viewing as well. 



Not using Landgrid Pro yet? You can sign up here - https://landgrid.com/plans

3. Upcoming updates - We have a lot of things brewing currently. So stay tuned with us for updates on our:

  • Landgrid Mobile App
  • Landgrid Tileserver
  • Key partnerships

And… Much more!

Content Updates:

We have been keeping good on our promise to you for 2020 - more tutorials and product content. Here’s what’s coming next and what we published recently:

The Talking Grid Webcasts:

1. CARTO & Data with Javier Pérez Trufero We had an amazing webcast last week with CARTO’s Head of Data - Javier Pérez Trufero about all things CARTO, location data & its relevance during COVID-19 and much much more.

Watch the full episode here - https://youtu.be/RO6Mz29TIwk


2. Upcoming - A live “The Talking Grid” webcast with our customers at Pivvot on June 26th - Register to save your spot here - https://www.crowdcast.io/e/meet-pivvot---location

Pivvot has curated a massive database of environmental, land, social and other location information – and we make it easy to access, interpret and share. Used by engineering firms, energy and transportation companies, we turn data into insights by delivering preferred routes, navigating regulatory and environmental issues, reducing risk, and providing detailed location-based awareness.




Webcasts & podcasts: 
It’s podcast & webcast season at LOVELAND. We have a host of amazing events lined up for you. 

1. CEO, Jerry Paffendorf recently joined the wonderful folks at Dynamo Metrics on their hosted podcast - “Ahead of the curve” - Listen to the fin conversation where Jerry talks about the history of parcels, the fight against blight in Detroit and the current state of the world and the company -  https://www.dynamometrics.com/ahead-of-the-curve-podcast/episode-6-jerry-paffendorf

2. Upcoming - Listen to Jerry’s wise words on the Mapscaping podcast later this month. The link will be shared as soon as the podcast's schedule is made available to us.

People of Landgrid:

Lastly, we will leave you with 2 incredible journeys & stories with our People of Landgrid articles - 

1. Michele Oberholtzer - Director of Tax Foreclosure Prevention at UCHC, in our latest POL story. A former Lovelander and now an activist for tax foreclosure prevention! A truly inspiring story.  https://landgrid.com/pages/michele-oberholtzer




2. Anne Wistow & Stephanie Shackelford - Lucas County Land Bank, Toledo, OH

Anne is the VP of projects planning and Stephanie is the projects manager at the LCLB and together their mission is to strengthen neighborhoods and preserve property values. It's wonderful to see the work they have done in Toledo and the impact it has had on the property landscape there. 
https://landgrid.com/pages/anne-wistow-and-stephanie-shackelford



That’s the update for this month.
We will be back next month with bigger & better updates. 
Until then, be well, stay safe.

 

Happy Mapping!

- Sahana Murthy

May 2020 - Parcel Data Update

By Sahana Murthy on May 11, 2020 · Democratizing Data

Dear Friends of Loveland Parcel Data and landgrid.com,

Key Data Stats:

  • Total age down by 5.9% from last month
  • Average parcel age - 221 days, down from 235 last month
  • Average county age248 days, down from 310 last month
  • 193k new parcels added online since last month

Updated Puerto Rico Data - We recently were able to get updated data from April 2020 for Puerto Rico. We refreshed our existing data last week and is available for download now. You can read all about the changes in the data we had and the data we have now in this blog - https://landgrid.com/blog/2020puertoricodata

SPECIAL NOTE - USPS Vacancy, Residential indicators: Updated in March 2020, next update in May!

Coverage Report: Updated for this month and available here:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1q0PZB72nO8935EMGmsh3864VjEAMUE-pdHcPkoAiS5c/

For all full dataset customers, the updated data is available for download to bulk data clients in these formats: GeoPKG .gpkg (suggested), GeoJSON, Shapefile, and Postgres SQL files.  In addition, this data has been updated on the landrid.com website.

If your organization uses a custom export we are updating your data at the moment and if you don’t see the latest updates, please drop us a line.

A Data Dictionary for the Loveland Standard Schema is always available here:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/14RcBKyiEGa7q-SR0rFnDHVcovb9uegPJ3sfb3WlNPc0/

A machine-readable version of this list is included in the `verse` table available in all the formats above as well as CSV format for use in spreadsheets. To find the latest updates in verse, sort by 'last_refresh' and use the 'filename_stem' column to identify the file.

Data updated or added from the county in April and live now:
--------------------------------------------------
( * Indicates newly added county)
Connecticut - Fairfield, Hartford, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, New London, Tolland, Windham

Illinois - Grundy, Marshall, Mason*, McLean, Morgan, Putnam*, Schuyler, Woodford

Kansas - Allen, Anderson*, Atchison, Barber, Barton, Bourbon, Brown, Butler, Chase, Chautauqua, Cherokee, Cheyenne, Clark, Clay, Cloud, Coffey, Comanche, Cowley, Crawford, Decatur, Dickinson, Doniphan, Douglas, Edwards, Elk, Ellis, Ellsworth, Finney, Ford, Franklin*, Geary, Gove, Graham, Grant, Gray, Greeley, Greenwood*, Hamilton, Harper*, Harvey, Haskell, Hodgeman, Jackson, Jefferson, Kearny, Kingman, Kiowa, Labette, Lane, Leavenworth, Lincoln, Linn*, Logan, Lyon, Marion, Marshall, McPherson, Meade, Miami, Mitchell, Montgomery, Morris, Morton, Nemaha, Neosho, Ness, Norton, Osage, Osborne, Ottawa, Pawnee, Phillips, Pottawatomie, Pratt, Rawlins, Reno, Republic, Rice, Riley, Rooks, Rush, Russell, Saline, Scott, Seward, Shawnee, Sheridan, Sherman, Smith, Stafford, Stanton, Stevens, Sumner, Thomas, Trego, Wabaunsee, Wallace, Wichita, Wilson, Woodson, Wyandotte

Maine - Androscoggin, Aroostook, Cumberland, Franklin, Hancock, Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Oxford, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Sagadahoc, Somerset, Waldo, Washington, York

Minnesota - Aitkin, Anoka, Becker, Beltrami, Benton, Big Stone, Carlton, Carver, Cass, Chippewa, Chisago, Clay, Clearwater, Cook, Cottonwood, Crow Wing, Dakota, Dodge, Douglas, Faribault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Grant, Hennepin, Hubbard, Isanti, Itasca, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Kittson, Koochiching, Lake, Lake of the Woods, Le Sueur, Lyon, Mahnomen, Marshall, McLeod, Meeker, Mille Lacs, Nicollet, Norman, Olmsted, Otter Tail, Pennington, Pipestone, Polk, Pope, Ramsey, Red Lake, Renville, Rice, Roseau, Scott, Sherburne, Sibley, St. Louis, Stearns, Steele, Stevens, Swift, Todd, Traverse, Wadena, Waseca, Washington, Wilkin, Winona, Wright, Yellow Medicine

Montana - Beaverhead, Big Horn, Blaine, Broadwater, Carbon, Carter, Cascade, Chouteau, Custer, Daniels, Dawson, Deer Lodge, Fallon, Fergus, Flathead, Gallatin, Garfield, Glacier, Golden Valley, Granite, Hill, Jefferson, Judith Basin, Lake, Lewis and Clark, Liberty, Lincoln, Madison, McCone, Meagher, Mineral, Missoula, Musselshell, Park, Petroleum, Phillips, Pondera, Powder River, Powell, Prairie, Ravalli, Richland, Roosevelt, Rosebud, Sanders, Sheridan, Silver Bow, Stillwater, Sweet Grass, Teton, Toole, Treasure, Valley, Wheatland, Wibaux, Yellowstone

North Dakota - Billings, Burleigh, Dunn, Golden Valley, McKenzie, Stark

New Hampshire - Belknap, Carroll, Cheshire, Coos, Grafton, Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham, Strafford, Sullivan

Puerto Rico - Adjuntas, Aguada, Aguadilla, Aguas Buenas, Aibonito, Arecibo, Arroyo, Añasco, Barceloneta, Barranquitas, Bayamón, Cabo Rojo, Caguas, Camuy, Canóvanas, Carolina, Cataño, Cayey, Ceiba, Ciales, Cidra, Coamo, Comerío, Corozal, Culebra, Dorado, Fajardo, Florida, Guayama, Guayanilla, Guaynabo, Gurabo, Guánica, Hatillo, Hormigueros, Humacao, Isabela, Jayuya, Juana Díaz, Juncos, Lajas, Lares, Las Marías, Las Piedras, Loíza, Luquillo, Manatí, Maricao, Maunabo, Mayagüez, Moca, Morovis, Naguabo, Naranjito, Orocovis, Patillas, Peñuelas, Ponce, Quebradillas, Rincón, Río Grande, Sabana Grande, Salinas, San Germán, San Juan, San Lorenzo, San Sebastián, Santa Isabel, Toa Alta, Toa Baja, Trujillo Alto, Utuado, Vega Alta, Vega Baja, Vieques, Villalba, Yabucoa, Yauco

South Dakota - Beadle, Charles Mix*, Clay*, Lincoln, Spink*, Union*

Tennessee - Davidson

Vermont - Addison, Bennington, Caledonia, Chittenden, Essex, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille, Orange, Orleans, Rutland, Washington, Windham, Windsor

Wisconsin - Milwaukee

Wyoming - Albany, Big Horn, Campbell, Carbon, Converse, Crook, Fremont, Goshen, Hot Springs, Johnson, Laramie, Lincoln, Natrona, Niobrara, Park, Platte, Sheridan, Sublette, Sweetwater, Teton, Uinta, Washakie, Weston

Wisconsin - Milwaukee

In the current pipeline for updating in May 2020
--------------------------------------------------
Lousiana - Statewide
Maryland - Statewide
Oklahoma - Statewide
West Virginia - Statewide
US Virgin Islands


In the pipeline for updating in June
--------------------------------------------------
Texas - Statewide

Based on feedback and county challenges, pipeline planning is always subject to change. As always, please contact us if you have any questions about accessing or using the data, if you find issues with any of our data, or you have any comments or questions about our data in specific areas or states. We also love to hear from you about which counties or regions you’d like to see us update next, as it helps inform our planning process.

Thank you for being a part of Loveland!