At our first Property Data User Group meeting, users mentioned that it was difficult to extract data from Allegheny County’s property assessment database for a single City of Pittsburgh neighborhood. The database contains over 550,000 records, and requires GIS mapping skills to be able to join the data to a parcel layer, and pull a subset of data for a particular neighborhood. This process at best takes ten minutes for experienced data users. Fortunately for us, our staff were able to “fork” an open source property data downloading tool developed by Chris Whong in New York City (try the original version here).
We’re calling our version of Chris’ tool the Property Information Extractor. It allows you to pull assessment data by neighborhood, municipality, or even for a user-defined area using some of the embedded drawing tools. Since the assessment data contains many different fields, users also have the ability to select only those they want to include. The result of this query can be exported in several different formats (CSV, GeoJSON, Shapefile), or opened directly within CartoDB, which offers a no-cost pricing tier for their Web-based mapping tools.
Currently only property assessment data is available, but we plan to incorporate more datasets in the future. Special thanks go to Steve Saylor on our team for setting this up.
Give the Property Information Extractor a try and let us know what you think!