Information on Ottawa neighbourhoods, including walkability, demographics and proximity to parks and recreation facilities, are now more readily accessible after researchers provided greater access to their database this week.

The Ottawa Neighbourhood Study started in 2005 and has been refreshing its data each year on subjects ranging from voter participation to access to facilities and services such as day cares and farmer's markets.

Now the group has unveiled a refurbished website and a mobile app (called EnvirONS) that let users better compare what neighbourhoods have to offer.

The website allows users to chart different neighbourhoods on comparative maps (see graphics below) and get detailed profiles of neighbourhoods. The mobile app is available through Google Play.

University of Ottawa associate professor of psychology Elizabeth Kristjansson, one of the people behind the study, said she hopes the tool will shed new light on the communities people live in.

"I really want people to use it to understand, not only their neighbourhood, but their city better, and what is good, and what needs to be changed," said Kristjansson.

Mike Bulthuis of the Vanier Community Association said he's eager to use the tool to search for ways to improve his community and the city as a whole.

"We have used these sorts of portraits to help look at what the priorities of the city should be," said Bulthuis.


Above: This map was generated using the Ottawa Neighbourhood Study tool. It looks at the neighbourhoods with the most people 80 years old and older, with darker regions having higher populations of elderly residents.

Below: This map shows voter participation percentages by neighbourhood from the 2010 municipal election.