July 11, 2012
Online Food System Map Enhanced to Show More Detail On State’s Food Systems
The Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future has added more food consumption, health and demographic statistics to its online Maryland Food System Map. The online mapping tool and website, created by a CLF team of GIS experts and food system researchers, has also been redesigned to make it easier for users to navigate the site and find information on the state’s multifaceted food network.
A food access menu illustrates locations for alternative sources of food in the City of Baltimore, including all public markets and the City’s Baltimarket, a virtual supermarket program. In addition, the map now shows locations that accept SNAP benefits (formerly known as Food Stamps) and statistics about SNAP usage in Maryland. “We are continuing to work on compiling data on food outlets such as supermarkets and fast food locations for the rest of the state and hope to have this available by the end of the summer,” says Amanda Behrens, CLF’s project manager for the Maryland Food System Map.
The Center's mapping team worked closely with the Maryland Department of Health to create the Health data layers. The feature now includes detail on mortality rates of diet-related diseases. The most recent United States Census and American Community Survey data, incorporated into the mapping site, allows users to find demographic information on household income, vehicle ownership and population density. “We felt that this data was pertinent to the food system as we try and understand how the geography of where our food is produced and consumed is related to both our social situations and health outcomes,” notes Behrens.
“The new website design will give users easier access to a wealth of information on the state’s complex food system, and offers more analytical tools to create custom maps,” says Behrens. In addition, the team spent the last several months working on the development of new features and adding to the library of downloadable maps and data. The Maryland Food System Map can be accessed at www.mdfoodsystemmap.org. Users can subscribe to receive notices when new layers are added to the map.