Map Mashup Gets Rockefeller Grant, Goes Open Source

Adam DuVander, October 19th, 2009

walkscoreForget venture capital. The new hip funding source is to get a grant. That’s what the company behind Walk Score did and as a result the mashup will go open source.

Walk Score

Walk Score shows you a map of what is nearby and calculates a Walk Score for any property. Buying a house in a walkable neighborhood is good for your health and good for the environment.

As part of the grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, a second site, walkscore.org will cover the collaborative elements of the project. The algorithm that determines walkability will also be made public. The grant specifically covers incorporating public transit, transportation cost, and greenhouse gas emission data into the score.

In addition to the score, the site shows associated points of interest on the map. According to the announcement post, the new data will make its way on the map:

So what does this mean for you?

  • You’ll see public transit stops on the Walk Score map
  • Public transit accessibility will be factored into your Walk Score
  • You’ll see your predicted transportation cost and greenhouse gas emissions provided by The Center for Neighborhood Technology

Neighborhood data site EveryBlock had a similar progression. Its predecessor was a popular mashup. As part of a grant, EveryBlock agreed to open source the code that runs the site. Nevertheless, it found a buyer in MSNBC.

With these two examples, perhaps we’re seeing that grants are a potential funding avenue for civic-minded startups?

Hat tip: GIS Lounge

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Adam DuVander
Executive Editor, ProgrammableWeb. Author, Map Scripting 101. Lover, APIs.