Mapping lead readings and helping push for change

Back in August, Orbitist helped Investigative Post map and present lead data from Buffalo city water. The reporting has since contributed to changing policy in the city. is a non-profit investigative journalism organization in Buffalo that contributes important, investigative content to local media outlets. After the recent water lead crisis in Flint Michigan, Investigative Post's environmental reporter, Dan Telvock, started digging into WNY lead samples from homes in Buffalo since 2002.

In order to better understand the readings, Orbitist stepped in to provide digital mapping support.

One of the maps we created had a resounding impact. It was this heat map that displays zip codes colored by previously documented levels of human lead exposure overlapped with lead readings from 2002-2014.

Basically, the blue areas are good, and you'd hope to see blue on top of the orange panes.

The map clearly shows a lack of testing on the East Side of Buffalo.

We also created a microsite to hold the story and associated maps and media:

Less than one month after the story came out, we were excited to see the mayor announce beefed up water testing standards in the city of Buffalo.


We look forward to continuing to support the important work being conducted at Investigative Post.

Are you a newsroom looking to harness data in your next story but don't know where to start? We'd love to help you out: Drop us a line.