I came across an interesting dataset the other day while reading the Boston Globe (online of course, does anyone buy actual newspapers anymore?). The story, originally from Ward 5 Online, was discussing the number of properties in my current hometown, Somerville, Massachusetts, that have tax liens over 10,000 dollars! The article provided a table from the City that included the address, owner name, and amount in back taxes for each property. The story reported that this data was made available by the City’s aldermen through a request regarding derelict buildings that were shedding bricks (yikes!).
After I read the story I started to search for some of the properties to see if they were in my neighborhood. I quickly realized that this data would be better utilized if it were in a map. Thanks to Google Fusion I was able to quickly modify the table and map the addresses and back tax balances. In the map I created I only included the amount owed, the location, the status (many of the properties have been taken over by the city), and the number of years that the property is late on their taxes.
Back Taxes Legend: • 10k to 15k •15k to 20k • 20k to 25k • >25,000k
This data can be further analyzed with a number of other free datasets including census, income, or home sales data. One could then perform any number of analyses to see if there are any spatial patterns in regards to these large tax liens throughout the City (aka, future blog idea).
Over the next couple of days I will take my dataset over to GeoCommons and work with their tools to create a better map and perhaps do some analysis (aka, another future blog post).
Until next time…