Scottsdale’s new open data portal offers public access to many of the same datasets that the city uses to monitor performance and make decisions.
The site currently hosts more than 30 datasets – from map-based data like street centerlines, trails and trolley routes to service-level data like graffiti reports, police and fire calls, code violations and building permits.
These datasets provide another window into the services Scottsdale provides and their impact, but they also allow people and organizations an opportunity to use the data to create civic-minded applications, visualizations and insights.
“This portal is not just about making Scottsdale government more transparent,” said Mayor W.J. “Jim” Lane, “We hope it will make us more effective, too, through the insights and applications that may result.”
Launching the portal is part of a work plan approved by the City Council in May 2016 when the city was selected to participate in What Works Cities, a national program that helps cities evaluate how they are using data and evidence to engage residents, make government more effective and improve lives.
Making city data more consumable, readily available and useful for decision-making was a key focus area in that plan. The city’s open data portal, developed with guidance from the Sunlight Foundation Open Data Policy Guidelines, is a key component of that effort.
Scottsdale’s open data portal was developed in-house with open source software at no out-of-pocket cost to the city.
How does the city use data?
Departments across the city use all sorts of data to track performance, gain insight and make decisions about service adjustments and priorities. Here are a few examples:
- By mapping call and response data, the Fire Department determined that moving Station 603 about 2 miles to the east will help them respond to emergency calls more quickly
- Ridership numbers on trolley and bus routes are routinely used to adjust routes and schedules
- Traffic counts on roadways drive signal timing and are part of deciding where new signals go
- Building permit review and issue timelines are used to monitor performance and deliver better customer service
- Mapping trails in Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve helps create trail maps for hikers, bikers & horse riders, and assists with search and rescue in the 48 square mile desert preserve
Datasets are maintained and refreshed regularly, so the public can count on current data being available in their area of interest – people can request datasets they would like to see via the site as well. The city will also be reviewing and adding new datasets as part of Scottsdale’s Open Data Initiative.
The city is also exploring opportunities to gather with the community and citizen data gurus to help people get the most out of the city’s datasets.
Visit the city’s open data portal and learn more at data.scottsdaleaz.gov.