Open-source maps of California’s emergency medical agencies

    The Times releases map files in SHP, JSON, KML formats

    Ben Welsh Los Angeles Times
    MAPPED OUT: A total of 32 regional agencies regulate the emergency medical services delivered by local fire departments and ambulance firms in California.

    The Times is re­leas­ing free and open-source files that map out the bound­ar­ies of the re­gion­al agen­cies that reg­u­late emer­gency med­ic­al ser­vices in Cali­for­nia.

    The re­lease co­in­cides with a Times in­vest­ig­a­tion pub­lished Fri­day that found that out­dated tech­no­logy has frus­trated ef­forts by state of­fi­cials to meas­ure how well loc­al agen­cies per­form emer­gency res­cues.

    A total of 32 re­gion­al agen­cies reg­u­late the emer­gency med­ic­al ser­vices de­livered by loc­al fire de­part­ments and am­bu­lance firms. Many of Cali­for­nia’s 58 counties, in­clud­ing Los Angeles County, have their own agency, but some smal­ler counties have ban­ded with oth­ers to form re­gion­al groups such as the Si­erra-Sac­ra­mento Val­ley Emer­gency Med­ic­al Ser­vices Agency.

    The Times was un­able to find an elec­tron­ic map file that in­cluded the bound­ar­ies of these groups, so we made our own by modi­fy­ing pre-ex­ist­ing maps of Cali­for­nia counties. We are re­leas­ing those files today in SHP, KML and JSON formats. You can down­load them here:

    The data were col­lec­ted as part of The Times’ on­go­ing in­vest­ig­a­tion of the Los Angeles Fire De­part­ment, which began in March after fire of­fi­cials ad­mit­ted that for years they re¬≠leased flawed fig­ures over­stat­ing how fast res­cuers ar­rived at emer­gen­cies. That pro­ject has yiel­ded a series of data-driv­en stor­ies about the de­part­ment’s per­form­ance.

    This blog has pre­vi­ously writ­ten about the tech­nic­al meth­ods used to con­duct our in­vest­ig­a­tion, re­leased the base lay­er cre­ated for an in­ter­act­ive map of re­sponse times and con­trib­uted the loc­a­tion of LAFD’s 106 fire sta­tion to the Open­Street­Map.

    Much re­spect due

    The in­ter­act­ive map at the top of this post was cre­ated us­ing Map­Box’s ex­cel­lent Tile­Mill design stu­dio. Areas were filled in us­ing se­lec­tions from the palette of 133 stand­ard Cray­ola cray­on col­ors. I por­ted them in­to the Car­toC­SS style used by Tile­Mill. You can down­load that palette here.

    Readers: What’s your take? Share it here.


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