Chapel Hill, NC
The University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communications is one of the premiere institutions of journalism and mass communications in the United States. With a focus on research, teaching and service the school is creating the next generation of journalist in the 21st century new media environment.
The UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication’s OpenRural project is an application that aims to aggregate data about North Carolina’s rural communities into a simple and usable format. Leveraging the functionality of GeoDjango and PostGIS, OpenRural uses US Census and NC county centerline shapefiles to build a comprehensive county geocoder. Built on top of OpenBlock, a hyperlocal news and data platform, OpenRural will display useful public information such as real estate transactions and restaurant inspection scores, which will allow reports to focus on important issues in their communities. Funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, OpenRural makes a significant contribution to the field of journalism by addressing the challenges of working with rural geodata.