Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan Announces City Open Data Portal

Today, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan made a monumental announcement, releasing the City’s first Open Data Portal. The portal will provide access to many datasets that have never been released publicly for download, including data on building permits and crime. This announcement marks an important development in city policies that encourage transparency and accessibility. It also coincides with this weekend’s International Open Data Day on Saturday, February 21.

For the last six years, Data Driven Detroit (D3) has been committed to providing accessible, high-quality data to drive informed decision-making, and we are excited to embrace the city’s new platform.

Mayor Duggan’s announcement significantly affects the open data landscape in Detroit, in which D3 has been actively involved since our inception. The addition of city datasets that are regularly updated will be an enormous asset in understanding local issues and promoting data-driven outcomes.

Since December 2013, we have worked with Esri, the supplier of ArcGIS and ArcGIS Online products, to create an Open Data Portal that houses much of our rich data inventory. Since then, we have uploaded more than 70 datasets, ranging from transit stops and routes to detailed parcel information to locations of amenities such as schools and libraries. The site includes a helpful interactive mapping feature, but for those who would like to dig into the data, all datasets are available for download in CSV, KML and Shapefile formats, along with an API feature that allows for integration with third-party applications. We see both portals working together, providing much needed data to those who need it.

As a member of the Urban Institute’s National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership (NNIP), D3 has benefitted from learning from other cities that have implemented open data policies and platforms. The NNIP network wholeheartedly believes that open data:

  • Increases transparency to help citizens hold government accountable,
  • Encourages civic engagement in government decision-making,
  • Enables access to a public good funded by taxpayers and
  • Generates economic value that fuels private sector activity.

Read NNIP’s July 2014 assessment of the open data landscape in Detroit here.

D3 has had the privilege of working with all types of organizations, from larger institutions to neighborhood block clubs, and we know how important good data is. We look forward to using our expertise in weaving together data sources to illustrate complex relationships and reveal the stories of our city.