Local News

Raleigh to launch open data hub

Posted March 15, 2013

The sun falls in line with Martin Street, Downtown Raleigh, in the early morning of March 14, 2013. On this day the sun will line up with Martin Street for a possible Raleigh henge. (Photo by John West)

— Data geeks can rejoice as the City of Raleigh makes more public information available through its new website.

This week the City will launch Open Raleigh, a new platform for storing, accessing and visualizing public data. It’s appropriate timing, considering March 10-16 is Sunshine Week, a celebration of open government.

City officials hired a company that specializes in open data, to host the site, which will include various forms of public information. The city will spend $10,000 on a four-month pilot and then $50,000 for a full year after the pilot is over.

When Open Raleigh launches in a beta version Friday, residents will have access to fire, police, census and building permit data as well as some financial data. More data will continue to be added as the public requests it.

The data will be in a readable and downloadable format so it can be manipulated or visualized in a number of means. For example, neighborhood leaders can create crime maps for their communities, or mobile application developers can create an app that tells users where to find the nearest greenway.

A full launch will be done in late September and will include a full financial ledger.

Eventually, Open Raleigh will be compatible with other regional municipalities and include data from county, state and the federal government.

City IT staff and members of the Technology and Communications Committee this week discussed ways the City could measure the return on investment and track how the data is being used, but more work will need to be done before that is possible.


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  • dgcreech Mar 18, 2013

    I am a bit concerned at the cost. If it is $10k for 4 months, and $50K for the next 12, they will be spending another $20k for no reason (if it is 10k for 4 months, 3 sets of 4 would be 12 months, so that would be 30k but they are spending 50k). Maybe my math is a little off at my old age, but I think I am correct here.

  • Ex-Republican Mar 15, 2013

    Hmmm, considering the accidental discolures or SS numbers by financial and other institutions this sounds like a potential disaster. Transparency in government is great, but what are the guidelines here? What are the risks? Who's benefiting from this?