How to Use This Site

Introduction

Open Data is meant for everyone and this site is specifically developed to allow residents without specialized technology access to inspect the information here on-demand. There are many methods to go about reviewing data and at first it can be confusing so this guide is developed to help get you started.

Open Data Benefits

  1. It is used by residents, civic technologists, universities, researchers, the press and media, large and small companies, city employees, non-profits, app developers, and community organizations all which use the data in ways that have a direct impact on services to the public.
  2. It has improved government by increasing transparency, while also advancing public services.
  3. It has empowered citizens by giving them information to make informed decisions and to make it easier to mobilize socially, aided by new ways of communicating and accessing information.
  4. It has invigorated innovation, economic growth and job creation.
  5. It has played a role in giving citizens and policy makers new ways to assess problems while enabling civic engagement and enhancing collaboration.
    -- GovTech's Public CIO Magazine, Winter 2016

Get Started

We will cover several steps on this page. Afterward you feel much more confident on how to find data and get meaningful results.

  • Learn what a dataset is and how to locate the one you want.
  • View locations from the dataset on a map if location data is available.
  • Analyze the dataset on this site to discover answers to your questions.
  • Download a dataset to review on your computer.

Where to Start

Once on the website you can begin to explore data sets by clicking on the 'Content' menu tab, and then 'Datasets.' This will give you a list of all the datasets we publish, initially sorted by most recently updated. You can use the 'Sort by' drop down menu on the page to sort the list by Data Created or Title.

Dataset is a collection of 'unedited, machine readable data' - which just means that people should filter it as little as possible and it should be in a format that many software and machines can access. This isn't always the case though - for a number of reasons : Privacy, availability and many other factors affect the quality of the dataset. You will find data sets in a several different formats. The most common are:

  • .CSV which stand for 'Comma Separated Values' and can be opened in almost any spreadsheet application.
  • .ZIP which is a compressed archive that must be 'decompressed' prior to viewing the data.
  • .GZ which is another compressed archive that must be 'decompressed' prior to viewing the data.

Many computers already have the ability to uncompress archives. A brief internet search will provide useful guidance in this regard.

Searching

You can search the website by keyword at the top right of every page. This will return a page of results of datasets, resources, documents, and file that you can then:

  1. Filter results on the right by content type, topics, tags, format, or publisher.
  2. Sort results at the top of the page by data changed, date added, alphabetically, and in descending or ascending order.

Dataset details

Click a dataset link to view its details. Viewing a dataset lets you view metadata so you can understand it better, including a description, ownership, update frequency, and a data dictionary. This page also offers you the ability to download a file in a format that is useful to the right of every dataset name. You may also share a data set to social media, view its specific license, detail and past versions.

Exploring Data

One of the most interesting features is the ability to explore the dataset right on the page. Click a dataset name to see more details about it.

Initially you get a Grid view of the raw data. One of the most important is the 'Filter' option on the right beside the 'Search' field. Under filter you can choose which fields are important, how to focus on what you want to see, and in what order to view them. Explore the various options available to see how data can be shown in different ways.

Graphing Data

Data can be graphed. You are first greeting with a message instructing you on the next steps.

Choosing some data set fields and graph options on the far right side will display the results. You are able to change and reset as needed - it will not impact the dataset.

Mapping

Data that contains location information can be shown on a interactive map by clicking the Map tab. This view only shows up for a dataset that has latitude and longitude columns.

Developer Documentation

See our developer page for information on how to access the data on our site using APIs, and DKAN's official documentation for more details.

Open Source Tools

We work collaboratively with residents, researchers, other cities and companies on Github. Please see the tools and projects we publish there and jump in and help out if you can.

Thank You

We hope that helps you get you started. Now go explore the data! Take a look at our Gallery and submit your own project if you'd like it featured.

Contact the city's Data Officer on Twitter with questions, or use our Open Data Contact form.