Rodents in NYC Visualization

By: Chris Fleisch, Marshall Ratliff, Christopher Danicic

Active Rodent Signs

Using the rodent inspection data from NYC Open Data we visualized the inspections that resulted in active rat signs. Active signs would include any of the following: fresh tracks, fresh droppings, active burrows, active runways and rub marks, fresh gnawing marks, and live rats. This data is provided by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) and contains records for the years 2010 through 2017.

This active rodent signs visualization was created for people living in NYC who might be interested in moving to a different neighborhood, public health and safety advocates that are interested in which neighborhoods are in greatest need of improvement, the rodent sensitive population who need to be cautious or avoid rodent infested areas, or local officials who need to see where they should focus resources to reduce rodent populations.

Map of rodent signs and activity over time

Active rodent signs can be seen in all the boroughs of NYC with some being much more active than others. The number of signs also appears to be increasing over time. The map is interactive and can be panned and zoomed. The data may be filtered by clicking on each zip code area and more information is displayed by hovering over the different zip codes. The borough information in the line plot may be filtered by year and borough when clicking on a point in the line or it can reveal more information by hovering over different points in the timeline.

Seasonal rodent signs

Signs of rodents do not appear to be consistent year to year, however, there are some years when signs of rodents are higher in one borough that correlate with lower signs in another borough. For example, changing the year of the inspection date to 2012 shows that when rodent signs are high in the Bronx they are lower in Manhattan. And when they are higher in Manhattan in the month of May the rodent signs are much lower in the Bronx at the same time. There may be a limited number of inspectors that are available, and they could be more active in one borough at the expense of another. Hovering over the points in on the lines will reveal more information on the number of signs.

Rodent signs in new locations vs. the same locations

The number rodent signs varies greatly between the different boroughs. Sometimes the signs of rodents are seen in a new location that has never been inspected before. More often rodents signs are seen in the same place that has been inspected before. For some boroughs the split between new and same locations is closer like in Queens and Staten Island. In the Bronx and Manhattan the rodents signs are seen increasingly in the same locations. Hovering over the lines will display the number of rat signs seen that month.