Open data and the City of San Diego

Andrell Bower

Open Data Program Coordinator

The city's open data policy, created in December 2014, aims to:

  • Promote civic engagement
  • Improve service delivery
  • Effectively communicate with the public
  • Promote economic development
  • Empower the public to help find efficient solutions for government
  • Make operation more transparent and effective

Today, the city's data is

  • Closed
  • Misunderstood
  • Hard to find
  • Unknown
  • Scattered

Previously, to create an interactive chart of budget data:

  • Download PDF
  • Select and extract table data using a tool such as Tabula
  • Import into Excel
  • Fix headers
  • Paste into viz tool
  • Visualize

Total time: 1 hour

With open data...

To be able to publish city data online using open standards, we first had to take an inventory of the datasets.


We found about 2,000.

Now that we know of at least a couple of thousand datasets, we have to:

  • Prioritize the datasets for publication
  • Create the process for connecting these datasets to an online portal and updating them automatically
  • Make sure residents know the data is available and encourage them to use it
  • Find the datasets that answer questions people really want to know, and create interactive visualizations that help explain the data

But we're already applying the principles behind open data to city operation.

  • Gathering the data that supports performance measurement
  • Developing visualizations and apps both internally and with Open San Diego
  • Getting excited about accessing and using data

And the portal will be live by July 1, 2016


Disaster response and assistance

Water use


Open data - hackathon

By sdcdo

Open data - hackathon

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