How Open Is Your City? Check This Census of Civic Data

Illustration for article titled How Open Is Your City? Check This Census of Civic Data

More cities are making their data available, both in the name of political transparency and to allow residents to help chip away at civic problems. This lovely-looking chart measures 36 cities by how many civic datasets—from crime to transit to zoning—they've released to the public.


Not surprisingly, San Francisco is the most "open" city, with all data except for the city's property deeds readily available and searchable online. This is by no means a comprehensive list—yet. The list seems to be culled from places that Code for America, one of the site's creators, already operates its fellowships, so many big cities aren't listed, and some cities are listed without any information.

But, in the spirit of the data it hopes to collect, this site itself is open-source. Don't see your city listed, or maybe you can help fill in a blank? The site provides a step-by-step primer for how to go about gathering this information from your local government and share it here. Not only will having it all mapped out like this hopefully inspire more cities to throw open their data doors, but having similar datasets in one place can help anyone from geographers to researchers. It's a very good thing. [US City Open Data Census]

Share This Story

Get our newsletter


I question all of those Scores. They listed my hometown of Houston as a 0 and yet when I did a quick google search for public restraunt inspection information I found all of the records online.…

And here's all of the crime report information (it goes back to 2009):…

I'm thinking this report isn't complete yet because there is a lot of public data out there they they obviously haven't gotten into yet

Looking at the people who made this report their main objective is to have city data conform to universal standards so they can analyze it. They want it to be downloadable and machine readable. Many cities do provide this information, it just doesn't conform to their standards and as such when they do a report it comes up with a big fat 0 as their score.

They shouldn't include cities in their report that don't conform to their standards. If they want an report on all cities they need to be more proactive on gathering data that doesn't use their standards to give a more well balanced and comprehensive result.