Notes and Reflections by feoMike

FAA Airport Closures

On Friday, March 22, 2013, the Federal Aviation Administration released this press release describing a "decision that 149 federal contract towers will close beginning April 7 as part of the agency’s sequestration implementation plan."

In addition to the release was a document listing the individual name, city, state and airport identification signs of those towers to be closed.

Working on a previous conclusion that perhaps PDFs are not a great way to release data, and that indeed information like this is a) easy to produce and b) very cheap to publish and host as rich interactive content, I took the short time to open this data and make it releasable. Below is the dynamic map which is the result.

How I Did It

I first copied the data from the pdf above, into this text. This 'data file' is essentially one row per newly proposed closed airport by the FAA. I saved that document to an excel file, and uploaded that file to this google document sheet. I edited the columns slightly, to concatenate the columns (see column F) into a more readible place name; one that was more likely to be found by a geocoder. I then used this process to associate each row (e.g. airport) with its latitude and longitude.

The same tool described above, contains a way to export this newly geocoded file to a geoJson file. I performed that export, which is this file.

I then used TileMill to create a simple map of these locations.

For all intents and purposes, this process was essentally free and took little time to produce.


View full map


The new data files can be found below and so can a brief description of how I did this.


The process is simple repeatable, but more importantly, the impact of the news item is much more clearly represented. In my (our) previous experiment, independent new applications sprung up. I expect the same might be true here.