The nonprofit, volunteer-run Texas Justice Initiative (TJI) provides the public with data about aspects of the Texas criminal justice system. Through TJI’s interactive data portal, journalists, researchers, policymakers, advocates and the general public can query, visualize, and download public information that is otherwise difficult to access and understand. This user-friendly interface was developed by volunteer data scientists and developers using open-source technologies to facilitate replication by similar organizations in other states.
To further their objective of providing intuitive search functionality and meaningful visualizations, TJI contacted GISCorps to request a local volunteer skilled in free and open-source web GIS technology to develop tools for geocoding incoming data and adding interactive mapping and search functionality to the data portal. GISCorps issued a recruitment and identified Jonathan Pascoe, a talented Texas-based volunteer with extensive education and experience in both open-source web development and the fundamentals of geospatial science.
TJI had this to say at the conclusion of the project:
“The Texas Justice Initiative maintains a data portal to provide criminal justice data to the public, a service we’ve provided since 2018. We’ve heard from our users that they would like to see our data visually represented on a map, so they could compare geographic areas and occurrences or frequencies of occurrences in different areas. Since we rely on volunteers to build our other data processing and analysis tools, I thought it was fantastic that GISCorps provides volunteers for mapping projects at nonprofit organizations. GISCorps vetted us and made it so convenient and easy to match with a volunteer interested in working on our project. German was fantastic at maintaining regular communication and ensuring our project stayed on track. We are well on our way to adding maps to our data portal, and for that we are very grateful. Thank you GISCorps and to our incredible volunteer, JP! “