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Baltimore Green Spaces to map city's vacant lots with help from volunteers with smartphones

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On December 11th, Baltimore Green Space is sending 20 2-person teams to explore Baltimore and put their smartphones to use for a good cause -- to create a map of vacant lots that have been turned into community green spaces, including gardens, pocket parks, horseshoe pits, and the like.

The group has undertaken this task, it says, "because Baltimore City is working hard to streamline its sales process for land and buildings." While Baltimore Green Space acknowledges that this is great news, it says the improvement presents an urgent challenge to preserve green spaces.

With some 13,000 vacant lots, the group hopes to help the City deal with the information problem it faces as the city doesn't know which of these "vacant" lots are actually community assets that improve the livability of neighborhoods and thus property values.

The City is eager to learn which lots should be included in the "community use" category of their database, according to Green Space. The organization has already given them about 200 block/lot numbers, but says there are considerably more that need to be mapped and, unfortunately, the time to document them is running out.

Green Spaces has piloted "a great way to document the exact location of gardens" using geo-coded photos taken on smartphones. It has already tested the technology out during a 3-hour event during which six teams of volunteers photographed 150 addresses. Now, there are another 450 to go.

During the Dec. 11 event the group plans to catalog the remaining addresses as well as any that they don't yet know about.

Source: Green Space
Writer: Walaika Haskins

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