A Google Street View on the World

A Google Street View on the World:


Potentials and Pitfalls of Harnessing

“Big” Geographic Data

for Neighborhood Research

Presentation by:
Michael Bader American University

Wednesday, April 22
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM


Preinkert Field House – Conference Room 1112V
University of Maryland College Park


Online spatial tools and data offer powerful opportunities for social science and health research on neighborhood conditions. Bader will describe how he harnessed the rich geographic information provided by Google Street View to measure the walkability and physical disorder of neighborhoods across the country — the first national data using Google Street View in the United States. He will describe the online application that he and his team developed: the Computer Assisted Neighborhood Visual Assessment System, or CANVAS. The application allows for reliable and rapid data collection, which Bader and colleagues have applied to studies of walkability and health among children. These new tools also create new problems, including the possibility of unwittingly revealing personally identifiable information. Bader will address some of these problems and then describe the next steps for the project including the incorporation of Mechanical Turks, the study of global neighborhoods, and the influence of neighborhood conditions on aging in place.

MICHAEL BADER is an assistant professor of sociology at American University. He studies how cities and neighborhoods have changed since the height of the Civil Rights Movement. His research shows how metropolitan racial and economic inequality has evolved and the manner in which spatial inequality creates unequal health. He has developed methods to integrate different forms of “small data” and “big data” to study neighborhood environments. He has published his research in sociology, geography, and epidemiology journals. He is a faculty fellow of the Metropolitan Policy Center, an affiliate of the Center on Health, Risk, and Society, and an affiliate assistant professor Department of Public Administration and Policy. Before joining the faculty of American University, Dr. Bader was a Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania where he was also a senior fellow in the Leonard Davis Institute for Health Economics. He received his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Michigan and his B.A. in architecture and art history from Rice University.