How to Use This Site
Open Data is meant for everyone and this site is specifically developed to allow citizens without specialized
technology access to inspect the information here. 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
- First, it has improved government by increasing transparency, while also advancing public services.
- Second, 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.
- Third, it has invigorated innovation, economic growth and job creation.
- Lastly, 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
We will cover several steps on this page. Afterward you feel much more confident on how to find data and get
- 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 'Datasets' menu tab as shown below:
Locate the Datasets navigation tab.
Ideally, a 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.
Below is a screen shot of the subsequent page. Here you will be able to narrow your search for a particular dataset in several ways.
Narrow down datasets to those you are interested in viewing.
There are several methods to search for data:
- Filter by Tag (upper left) - Filter data set by the tags assigned to them. Tags are assigned by the dataset
- Filter by File Type (left side middle) - Look for data in a particular format such as JSON or KML
- Filter by Publisher (left side lower) - Find Data by which government group published it.
- Center content - Enter in a search term into the Search field. Terms can be one word or several. You may also
choose how the results are sorted when returned via the "Sort by" option on the right hand side of the Search
- Scrolling down will allow you to browse all datasets as long as no other search or filters are applied.
Viewing a dataset offer you the ability to download a file in a format that is useful. You may also share a data set
to social media, view it's specific license, detail and past version.
Explore, download or share the dataset.
One of the most interesting features is the ability to explore the dataset right on the page.
Let's Explore data
Once you are exploring a dataset you will have many options to filter and view the 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 and in what order to view them. Explore the various options available to see how data can be shown in different ways.
Data that contains location information can be shown on a interactive map.
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.