Michael Schnuerle is a busy man. With a background in database programming and some creative thinking, Schnuerle has created some amazing Web sites and apps for consumers, and both private- and public-sector clients.

And he’s not finished yet.

It all began in 2006, when Mr. Schnuerle, after a year long quest to get his hands on some public data, was finally given access. Even though the Freedom of Information Act was signed into law back in 1966, once the Internet arrived, everything changed… dramatically.

Here you see a screen of residential home sales centered on a couple of St. Matthews streets. It's amazing what you can find on this site! (click to enlarge)

With data secured, Mr. Schnuerle then married it with the latest Internet mapping technology, to produce MetroMapper.org.

For those not familiar, it’s a very useful tool. Anyone can use it to look up Louisville Property Values, Crime Reports or even Health Department Ratings for Restaurants in our city.

Please note, time will get away from you on this Web site. Okay, you’ve been warned.

According to Mr. Schnuerle, “the trend in government is to be more open minded,” when it comes to public information. As examples, in addition to Louisville, cities like Atlanta, Chicago, Washington D.C., New York and San Francisco all have open data portals up and running.

“There’s been a push towards transparency,” he told me in a recent interview. This has opened up some tremendous opportunities for him and his business.

With the success of MetroMapper.org under his belt, our local entrepreneur expanded his reach to include cities other than Louisville, launching YourMapper.com in 2008. By gathering the data and creating tools, Your Mapper makes it easy for anyone to see a variety information in a more relevant, meaningful way.

Your Mapper also sells widgets for organizations who want to easily publish the maps on their own Web sites. For even more control, programmers can develop customized applications by purchasing the Application Programming Interface (API).

Throughout, Mr. Schnuerle has used local talent on his projects. For design expertise, he’s worked with Forest Giant. He also hired another local technologist, Eric Roland, to create Your Mapper the iPhone app. (It’s a free download on iTunes.)

Visualize a variety of data sets mapped around your location. How cool is that?

He’s also teamed with local firms VoicePad and Sierra Interactive on projects.

There’s a great deal of work that goes into the back-end programming of these services, but it’s really Mr. Schnuerle’s ability to see how the end-user might interact with the data and receive value, that makes his work so remarkable.

Innovative entrepreneurs like this are what has made our country great from Day 1 and, here in Louisville, we should celebrate our local standouts.

Did I mention that Mr. Schnuerle is busy? Well, he’s not too busy to pick up one of Greater Louisville Inc’s Hot Dozen 2012 award for YourMapper.com.

(Look for future stories on upcoming projects from Mr. Schnuerle.)