Build a map, win an iPad!

Photo by Foxy Coxy

Did I mention how much I like the folks over at This Week in Relevance? They've just launched a competition where the best OpenHeatMap wins an iPad! I love that idea so much, I'm going to give a free t-shirt to everyone who enters too.

If you're looking for inspiration, just today I've helped people build maps of UEFA cup rankings, amphibian habitats, oil well starts, college alumni, and even someone's friends on Facebook, and that was without the lure of a lovely Apple gadget at the end.

As always, I'll be online as much as I can and available to chat via the awesome SnapABug (I had four simultaneous conversations going at one point this afternoon), or you can email me via or IM me at petewarden on Skype.

Where are LA’s most effective schools?

After seeing the LA Times analysis of how effective local teachers are at improving their students performance, I was left wondering how the different neighborhoods performed. School rankings based on pure academic achievement aren't that informative since they correlate very closely with the wealth or poverty of their students family, but the 'value-added' approach seemed like it might produce more informative patterns. Here's the map I built, using the Times' ranking of schools from one to five, where dark blue marks the most effective elementary schools:

As always, here's the code I used to gather and format the data to load into OpenHeatMap:

There's an obvious cluster of under-achieving schools between Culver City and downtown LA, but I was pleased to see some pretty poor areas like Compton showing some effective schools. Northridge seems to have a lot of great schools too, along with Culver City and Santa Monica, though there are a few surprises with 'one' rated schools tucked in amongst the rest.