Open Data project invites residents to use city data to solve problems

Open Data KC, a project to make data more accessible to city residents, recently created a map of community gardens in Kansas City, based on data provided by Kansas City Community Gardens. The Open Data project is making city data sets available to the community, and is also taking requests for information the public would like to see.

Would you like to see data on traffic counts at various intersections, a map of 3-1-1 requests filed with the city, or the line items in next year’s city budget? All of that data is now available from the city’s Open Data project.

Open data is a concept that is increasingly embraced across the country. It’s simple, according to the new KC Open Data blog.

Governments collect, create and maintain information and data. Since taxpayers paid for the data, it should be theirs to use, but in order to use it they need to be able to access it without an advanced degree. Kansas City, like many other cities, has taken steps to make its data more open and transparent.

“The idea is to make our data available to people so citizens, researchers and businesses can learn and create with our information and become a partner with us,” says Millie Crossland, 
 Technology Project Liaison, with the city manager’s office.

For example, all sorts of people ask the city of traffic counts for various intersections. Now the Open Data project has put all that information online. Just click on the intersection on a map and the traffic count information pops up so you can read or download it.

The first information the city put on the site was the 2013-2014 budget. Since then, council boundary maps, census reports, and weekly updates of 3-1-1- calls have been posted there.

In addition to the data the city is putting on the site, residents are also encouraged to make requests for sets of data they would like to see.

“Our hope is we can provide information the community wants or didn’t know about, and residents will see issues they hadn’t seen before or figure out how you solve problems using the data,” Crossland says.

The open data website includes instructions for residents to make their own sets of data and save them. For example, Crossland says a neighborhood could make a map that shows all of its traffic signals, 311 calls, community gardens, and other information, and show the information on its website.


Open Data KC 

Open Data KC blog 

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