On hot days, find a place to cool off


New Hennepin County app makes finding cool places easier

Photo courtesy of kyngpao
(Photo by kyngpao/CC 2.0 License)

Tropical summer temperatures are forecast to raise the Twin Cities heat index to the mid-90s in the weeks to come. Hennepin County Public Health has created a mobile-friendly online mapping application to help residents who don’t have air conditioning at home to find public places to escape the summer heat.

In a normal year, about 175 Americans die of complications from overheating. Young children, senior citizens and people who are sick or overweight are most vulnerable.

Find a way to keep cool

From a tablet or mobile phone, residents and nonresidents can click on the Public Health Emergencies webpage to find a Hennepin County map, then click on the cooling option mobile application. They can make the map close and personal by entering a home zip code or current street address.

The map will zero in on the selected neighborhood; users then can click on individual cooling locations for an address, days and hours of operation, contact information and a website link, when possible. Users of desktop and laptop computers still can access the same information in larger format online.

Dig into mapping data

The application is only one part of a larger initiative to make public information more usable for Hennepin County residents. Other projects include park maps, public health information, construction, property values and taxation. Applications are scattered throughout the county website, but several can be found at www.hennepin.us/gis. Users familiar with GIS software can also download data directly.

Jay Meehl, a GIS coordinator for the county, developed the online application. “Static paper and online maps come alive in the new interactive web application,” he said. “This format gives county residents more information at their fingertips.”


— Information provided by Hennepin County