May 2019 Community Night: Open Data with Keri Shearer

Community night is a new monthly event at Open Charlotte Brigade where we put the spotlight on our community partners then hold an open planning session to address future moves by our organization. In following our belief that public resources should be open and accessible to all residents, we created community night as a place for residents to connect with one another, learn about their city, and participate in our mission to create a more open and accessible Charlotte.

At Wednesday evening’s meeting, we welcomed our first community night presenter, Keri Shearer from the City of Charlotte’s innovation and technology department. Keri works as the IT Decision Analytics Manager where she plays a big role in providing citizens access to open data through the city’s recently re-designed open data portal.

In her presentation, Keri shared examples of available datasets and tools the city and its partners have collaborated on to utilize them. Residents can now explore a variety of map-based products to learn more about their neighborhoods in topics ranging from public safety to visualizing Charlotte’s community investment plan. The availability of parking data from the Charlotte Douglass International Airport has led to the creation of the airport parking map which lets travelers see close to real-time availability and pricing information at the airport’s lots and parking decks.

Further collaborative efforts include the Charlotte/Mecklenburg Quality of Life Explorer, developed in collaboration with Mecklenburg County, UNCC, and neighboring cities. The quality of life explorer maps over eighty datasets by area and can even chart certain metrics over time. Visitors can find information for each dataset underneath the map such as how the data is collected, why the selected metric is important, and additional related resources for further research and learning. More technical users can also download each dataset for their own analysis or copy code to embed a copy of the map on their own blog or website.

Keri also showed off Citygram, an application that Open Charlotte Brigade developed in partnership with the City of Charlotte which allows residents to subscribe to location-specific updates to datasets on the open data portal.

Residents looking for datasets not yet published on the city’s open data portal can also use the record lookup tool on the city’s website or fill out the City of Charlotte Public records request form.

In the organization planning meeting portion that followed, brigade leadership and participants discussed potential ideas for a speaker at our next community night. The consensus seemed to lean toward inviting additional speakers from various departments in the City of Charlotte. We’ll be working over the next few weeks to schedule a speaker for next week’s community month and welcome you to share your feedback or suggestions with us on Slack, or via email ( Thanks again to Keri Shearer for joining and sharing with us Wednesday, and we look forward to seeing everyone again at our next community night on June 12th!



Think volunteer fire brigade for the digital age. We are a volunteer citizen brigade. We use technology and advocacy as a tool for open government, open data and civic engagement.

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Andrew Natoli

Andrew Natoli


Software developer, citizen technologist, musician, cyclist, runner, and petter of animals.