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Like Trulia for Real Estate Uncle Sam Doesn't Want

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, May 4 2011

Stay tuned to this space for a big upcoming piece on the political implications of geography, pegged to the rise of open mapping. But to whet your appetite, check out this new release from the White House: the Excess Federal Properties Interactive Map, posted today on the home page of

The politics here: on Monday, the White House called for the creation of a Civilian Property Realignment Board, modeled after the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (a.k.a. BRAC) that helps navigate the process of readjusting domestic military presences when doing so can create problems for members of Congress in their home districts. "The Federal government owns 1.2 million properties across the country making it the biggest property owner in the United States, but billions of taxpayer dollars are wasted each year on government properties that are no longer needed," reads a post from U.S. Chief Performance Officer Jeffrey Zients. "The plan will save taxpayers $15 billion over the first three years the Board is fully up and running."

And so, today's rollout of the White House's new interactive express property map of some 7,000 of those "no longer needed" properties is aimed at help making the Obama administration's case for why the new federal property-closure board is a good idea. Click a dot, and it brings up details on the targeted properties. The Google Maps-esque 'slippy map' is powered by MapBox, a mapping suite produced by the DC-based firm Development Seed, and makes use of data from OpenStreetMap, that Wikipedia of mapping.

But if interactivity isn't your thing, there's a poster version of the properties the federal government wants to get rid of.