April 12, 2017
CLF Launches New Maryland Food System Mapping App
Updated Site Offers Valuable Insights, Tools for Farmers, Researchers, and Policymakers
Ever wonder where farmers markets are located, or how many poultry farms are in your community? There’s an app for that.
Today researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF) in the Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Department of Environmental Health and Engineering released the new Maryland Food System Map, an interactive mapping application that enables users to visualize and download data on food and public health in Maryland. The Maryland Food System Map uses geographic information system (GIS) software to make customizable maps with information about topics like agricultural production and food insecurity. Users can explore the map to better understand geographic patterns and trends in their community, create their own map, or download data for their own research and planning.
“Maps can be powerful tools for generating insights into how food production, equity, access, and health are connected,” said Caitlin Fisher, CLF Program Officer and manager of the Maryland Food System Map. “We think that the new Maryland Food System Map will be a useful resource for anyone interested in learning more about local food systems—from community members, to students, food businesses, nonprofit organizations, and government officials.”
The previous version of the Maryland Food System Map, launched in 2012, showed the mapping application’s potential to help inform and enhance efforts addressing issues such as food insecurity. A 2016 survey indicated that several organizations have used the Maryland Food System Map to better understand health disparities across the state, identify gaps in nutrition assistance in Baltimore City, and support program planning and development.
The new Maryland Food System Map is mobile, tablet, and user-friendly, and has several additional features. More than 175 data indicators can be accessed and visualized with ease. Data are collected from a variety of sources, such as government databases, community organizations, and primary data collection and compilation. The site also connects users to CLF’s open data platform where they can search, view, and download data.
The application also has a number of new functions, including data filtering capabilities, and measure, search, and sharing tools. For example, users can build a map, zoom to a point of interest, and share the map they created through a unique URL. The map sharing tool enables users to post their maps on social media, or embed them on a website or blog.
“We are very excited that the new features will make it easier for people to explore and share information about our local food system,” said Fisher. “And we’re looking forward to seeing how these tools can help map the way to a healthier Maryland.”For more information about the Maryland Food System Map, please visit: https://mdfoodsystemmap.org