5 Ways to Get Plugged Into Austin’s Open Data Efforts in 2018
Did you make a data resolution this past new year? Maybe one to be more civically engaged? Or maybe you believe that open data is one way we can create a more accessible and transparent government?
If so, I’ve gathered some resources to help you get involved in Austin’s Open Data Initiative for the coming year. 2018 is just getting started so here are 5 ways you can get clued in on what the City of Austin is doing with open data.
1. Check Out Austin’s Open Data Portal
The City of Austin has it’s very own open data portal. This means that some city data is accessible, machine readable, and updated regularly. Not every city has this resource but this past year over one hundred data portals were in the Sunlight Foundation’s Open Data Census. These data portals give us some insight on how our city works and can be used for anything from research to civic application creation.
At the time of writing, the Austin Open Data Portal has 465 datasets and 194 GIS maps. Some datasets such as the 311 dataset get updated daily.
Here are a few things you can do on the data portal:
- You can check out data portal analytics to see what datasets get the most views.
- You can view a full list of available datasets by checking out the dataset inventory on the portal.
- You can also request or check out requested data sets on the portal.
Diving in and learning more about this resource is a good start for folks who are interested in the data resources our city currently provides.
2. Join and Contribute to the City’s Open Data Bloomfire
The City uses a knowledge sharing platform called Bloomfire. Once signed up you can check out articles, read notes and comments, and view other shared information on Open Data in Austin government.
I’m not how sure how many or which departments have one. The Communications and Technology Management (CTM for short) maintains the Open Data Bloomfire instance though.
You can sign up and create an account to follow the City’s Open Data Bloomfire today. Once you join you’re allowed to contribute, ask questions, and share knowledge with others!
3. Come to the Next Open Data Meetup Held by the City
The City hosts an Open Data Meetup each month. Anyone is welcome to join that is interested in learning more and getting involved with the City’s Open Data work.
When you attend you’ll find a fair amount of the City’s Open Data Liaisons, folks from CTM, a couple of Open Austin friends, and maybe a journalist or reporter.
The last meetup had the following:
- News on Austin’s placement as #1 on the Open Data Census. The Open Data Census is maintained by the Sunlight Foundation. Getting Austin ranked #1 was an effort made possible with help from Open Austin member, Jennifer Noinaj who acted as a community data reviewer. We’ll need reviewers for next year too if you’re interested!
- Updates on the the Open Data Team Sprints. Currently they are in Sprint 4.0. Sprints are the cycles that the Open Data Team work in to get their to-do’s done. You can read an overview of the last sprint on Bloomfire or read up about what is ahead for the team in Sprint 4.0.
- A roundtable discussion between the City’s Open Data Liaisons facilitated by Stefan Wray, Open Data liaison from Austin Public Health. Discussion was focused on how the liaisons could get better department director buy in for their open data efforts.
- New and upcoming features to the Open Data Portal that could help make doing open data related tasks easier for city employees. For those unaware our city’s data portal is a product by Socrata and they had several employees available to answers questions at this last meetup.
Joining the Open Data Bloomfire mentioned above will help you stay in the loop on the latest Open Data Meetup event, you could also check out this google doc with information on past events, and you can subscribe to the Open Austin Google calendar to stay up to date on these and similar events.
4. Follow ATX Go on Twitter
At this past Open Data meeting by the City, it was announced that the @ATXGO account would be getting more use this year. Follow AustinGO 2.0 on Twitter to stay informed on news and upcoming events.
5. Join Open Austin
The mission of Open Austin is to help community and government exchange ideas through the use of data, technology, and design. We work to facilitate meaningful community connections through events and projects related to open data, open government, and civic technology in Austin.
At our events you’re likely to run into developers, designers, policy wonks, city employees, and non-profits all looking for community and conversation. We believe in using technology to support civic engagement and community innovation in Austin. Say hello at one of our upcoming meetups.