About

PlayScore started by asking a simple question. "What is the probability that our kids will play outside everyday?" While the question is simple, the answer is complicated. Children are busy with homework, after-school activities, chores, and other forms of entertainment like television, video games, and more.

While no score is a perfect predictor of future behavior, a summarized rating can still help families make decisions. A good PlayScore rating means that a place is probably close to a public play area, is in an area where the weather is decent, and is nearby other families with children.

At PlayScore, we do not claim a secret sauce or proprietary knowledge. We simply combine great data sources, sound statistical methods, and open dialogue in order to help families find great neighborhoods. Contact us at info@playscore.org if you would like to use PlayScore data.

Data

Our goal at PlayScore is to measure the "playability" of an area. We rely on amazing data sources to make a PlayScore rating as useful as possible.

Geonames
The GeoNames geographical database is available for download free of charge under a creative commons attribution license. It contains over 10 million geographical names and consists of over 9 million unique features whereof 2.8 million populated places and 5.5 million alternate names.
NCES CCD
Common Core of Data (CCD) is a program of the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics that annually collects fiscal and non-fiscal data about all public schools, public school districts and state education agencies in the United States.
SimpleGeo Places
Back in 2011, SimpleGeo made over 20 million points-of-interest available through a CC0 license.
NPR Accessible Playgrounds
A community-edited guide to accessible playgrounds, sponsored and organized by NPR.
NOAA National Climatic Data Center
NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) is responsible for preserving, monitoring, assessing, and providing public access to the Nation's treasure of climate and historical weather data and information.
United States Census Data
U.S. Census is a leading source of quality data about the nation's people and economy.

Algorithm

PlayScore ratings combine proximity to play areas, weather, and family data. Here are the steps we follow to generate a PlayScore rating for millions of U.S. locations.

Collect play areas
Combine play areas from the sources listed above.
Calculate weather factor
Compute the number of days where the temperature is between 50 °F and 100 °F over the most recent year.
Calculate families factor
Calculate the density of families with children in a county and in a local zip code.
Normalize factors
Normalize each contributing factor against a mean of about 65 and a standard deviation of about 12.
Calculate PlayScore ratings
Compute the final PlayScore rating by averaging the contributing factors; namely proximity to play areas, weather, and density of families with children.
The result
The result is a data set with millions of entries in the following format...

{ latitude, longitude, city, state, zip code, places factor, places standard deviation, weather factor, weather standard deviation, families factor, families standard deviation }