Earlier this month Trulia released a fascinating visualisation option using Google Maps. The feature allows users to view property values, home values, rental prices, calculate commute times, schools, identify points of interest, natural hazards and view crime data. In order to power this new feature, Trulia leveraged public sector data from USGS and FEMA.
In a guest post on the Google Enterprise Blog, Jeff McConathy, VP Engineering at Trulia, stated, “At Trulia, we want our maps to do more. Maps are the canvas that let us tell the story of every property on our site – not just where it is, but what the neighborhood is like, how safe it is, the quality of the schools, how long it takes to commute to work and more. By using the Google Maps API for Business, we’re able to connect bits of data with home listings to give the 31.4 million people who visit Trulia each month a complete picture of a potential new home before they ever step inside it.”
Trulia local is available for a handful of major US cities. This is a great example of the intersection of leveraging Google API and public sector data to spur innovation and economic growth. The Trulia press release describes the features in Trulia local:
Rental Rates: The rental rate visualizations incorporate a year’s worth of data to show the average cost-per-bedroom at the neighborhood level. Deep reds indicate high-cost areas, and yellow and green designate more affordable neighborhoods.
- Earthquakes: The earthquake map layer incorporates USGS and the California Geologic Survey data to show seismic hazard, also known as ground shaking potential. Blues and greens show low shaking potential and reds show high-potential areas.
- Floods: Using FEMA data, Trulia’s flood hazard maps outline a community's different flood risk areas, determined by topographic surveys and statistical data for river flow, storm tides, and rainfall. High risk areas are identified by dark blue shading and show the areas where there is at least a 1 in 4 chance of flooding during a 30-year mortgage. Light blue designates the lower-risk flood areas.
“At Trulia, we use interactive map visualizations to present large amounts of information in an easy-to-understand format. With our new rental maps, consumers can browse through color-coded neighborhoods and quickly focus their search on neighborhoods that meet their budget,” said Lee Clancy, VP of Consumer Products in a statement.
Trulia is one of dozens of examples of private sector organizations designing custom web maps using public sector data. This is a perfect case study to show the value of public sector data, and help prospective home buyers and renters make informed living decisions.