Selecting Optimal Sites for Social Housing by Web GIS


Taiwan is one of the countries that have the highest population density in the world. According to the official data from Taiwan government, there are over 36 thousand people that live in per square kilometer on this island. As a result, the housing prices are inevitably high. In the capital city, Taipei, it is almost impossible for young people and disadvantaged families to buy a house on their own since the housing prices to income is 15, which means in average an adult must work for fifteen years for getting a place to live. The same ratio in London is 8.5 and in New York 6.1.

Therefore, in recent years, Taiwan government is keen to build and provide more social housing to reduce the high housing stress among the citizens, especially the young citizens and disadvantaged citizens. But since the possible places to build social housing are many, it is necessary to conduct a comprehensive and detailed analysis to select the premium sites for construction.


Because one of the major purposes of social housing is to let the young couples and disadvantaged people access adequate housing, it is important to consider environmental factors that will affect their willingness. For example, the accessibility to public transportation is very important because they often don’t have a car. Also, the accessibility to schools and parks are essential for young couples that are raising kids. And it will gain extra convenience for the disadvantaged families if there is a hospital near to the house. Therefore, as the administration for public housing in the central government, Ministry of the Interior of Taiwan would like to develop an online platform that can integrate and analyze these critical factors to help the officials select the optimal site.


Due to the prestige, great technical support, and rich experiences in the geospatial industry, Supergeo Project Team was chosen by Information Center of Ministry of the Interior, Taiwan, to implement this project. To build such platform, the project team decided to utilize two online GIS services powered by SuperGIS Server, which are TGOS MAP API and Statistical Map API.

By using the TGOS (Taiwan Geospatial One-Stop Portal) MAP API, the project team is allowed to access the most thorough POI database in Taiwan and also can utilize the geocoding service and buffer analysis online.

On the other hand, the Statistical Map API is another national GIS service provided by Taiwan government, which integrates official statistical data from over fifteen categories, including education, culture, public safety, transportation, social welfare, population, etc. In this project, Supergeo Project Team has imported the village-level demographic data to amplify the analytical capabilities of the platform.


After customization by Supergeo’s developers, the accomplished platform is simple but has powerful and practical features to find the optimal sites for social housing. The spatial data used on the platform include markets, parks, schools, health facilities, and subway stations, while the geo-processing features include geocoding and buffer analysis. Therefore, officials can easily find the environmental information within the buffer and the village-level demographic data after entering an address or marking a place on the map. Also, the result can be exported as .csv files for further comparison. It offers extra convenience for the decision maker, especially when there are multiple candidate sites for a social housing plan.

Fig.1 Knowing how many markets are around with buffer analysis
Fig.2 Finding a specific location by the geocoding of TGOS
Fig.3 Exporting the result of analysis as a .csv file for comparison

Geographic information system is a very powerful analytical and visualization tool to solve spatial related problems. In this case study, Supergeo Project Team successfully implemented a web-base GIS platform integrates several significant environmental and demographic factors to find the optimal site for social housing. By showing the facilities nearby a designated place on the map, it is very easy and intuitive to tell the advantages and disadvantages for a social housing plan. Therefore, officials can significantly save the time spending on organizing and studying the data in text format, improving the workflow and increases the quality of decision making.

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