Portland, open data, and CivicApps: 101 open datasets for your geeking pleasure

Enter CivicApps. A contest sponsored by the City of Portland designed to help stimulate and motivate the development community to mix and match all the awesome datasets

Remember back when the City of Portland opened up its data to developers? Sure you do. But you know what? All the accessible data in the world isn’t of much use unless someone is doing something with it. And that’s why the City is interested in getting people to come up with ideas for using the data—to improve the city and our way of life.

Enter CivicApps. A contest sponsored by the City of Portland designed to help stimulate and motivate the development community to mix and match all the awesome datasets—more than 100 different types—available from the City.

CivicApps.org is a groundbreaking “first” in its attempts to facilitate civic engagement by relating ideas, apps, and datasets into an ongoing conversation between government and the community. In fact, other governments in the U.S. and Canada have taken notice and are inquiring about adopting this same Drupal framework for their open initiatives. The gist of the effort is for government to build and maintain a data platform and push innovation to the citizens to solve and share solutions to some of their most pressing issues/problems.

The contest (Ideas Challenge and Apps Challenge) is an annual event designed to reinvigorate this ongoing conversation or discussion between regional government and the community. Governments need to know what citizens care about, and what datasets they need to provide for citizens to develop interesting solutions. Citizens need to share their energy, insights, ideas, and ultimately their code. This can only happen through active participation on the site in the form of submissions, comments, and voting for submissions.

Now is the time for ideas. Ideas that provide new ways of looking at the data. Mashups that reveal new things about Portland. Applications that make use of the massive repository of data in new and interesting ways.

What sort of data, you ask? Well as it turns out, there are about 101 datasets at your disposal. And here they are A-Z.

  1. 911 Dispatch Incidents (KML)
  2. 911 Dispatch Incidents (geoRSS)
  3. 9-1-1 Joint Tracking Incident System
  4. Address Points (region)
  5. Address Points
  6. Aerial Photographs (2005)
  7. Before and After School Care Programs
  8. Bicycle Network
  9. Bicycle Parking
  10. Bridges
  11. Building Permits
  12. Business Association Boundaries
  13. Business Licenses
  14. Capital Improvement Projects
  15. City Boundaries
  16. City Boundaries (region)
  17. City Halls (region)
  18. Corners
  19. County Boundaries
  20. County Boundaries (region)
  21. Crime Incidents
  22. CrimeStats
  23. Curb Ramps
  24. Curbs
  25. Development Opportunity Areas
  26. Elevation Map
  27. Enterprise and E-Commerce Zones
  28. Fire Stations (region)
  29. Freight Districts
  30. Freight Facilities
  31. Garbage Hauler Boundaries
  32. Ground Slope
  33. Groundwater Maps
  34. Guardrails
  35. Heritage Trees
  36. Hillshade (region)
  37. Home Buyer Opportunity Areas
  38. Hospitals (region)
  39. ITS Cameras (Intelligent Transportation System)
  40. ITS Signs (Intelligent Transportation System)
  41. Leaf Pickup
  42. Libraries (region)
  43. Light Rail
  44. Light Rail Stops
  45. Liquor License Applications
  46. Local Improvement Districts
  47. Metro Council Districts
  48. Neighborhood Associations
  49. Neighborhood Associations (region)
  50. Parking Meters
  51. Parks – City of Portland
  52. Parks Desired Future Conditions
  53. Parks Easements
  54. Parks (region)
  55. Parks Taxlots
  56. Parks Trails
  57. Parks Vegetation Survey
  58. Pavement (maintained, not maintained)
  59. Pavement Moratorium Streets
  60. Pedestrian Districts
  61. Portland City Council Agenda
  62. Portland Streetcar Routes & Arrivals
  63. School Report Card and AYP Data
  64. Schools (region)
  65. Sidewalks
  66. Signage & Lighting Improvement Program
  67. Snow & Ice Routes
  68. Streets (region)
  69. Street Centerlines
  70. Streets – Jobs (permit jobs – line)
  71. Streets – Jobs (permit jobs – points)
  72. Streets – Jobs (permit jobs – polygon)
  73. Streets – Jobs (contract jobs – points)
  74. Streets – Jobs (contract jobs – line)
  75. Streets – Local Improvement District
  76. Street Sweeping Routes
  77. Storefront Improvement Areas
  78. Traffic Calming Devices
  79. Traffic Signals
  80. Transit District (poly)
  81. Transit Stations
  82. Transportation System Plan Classifications
  83. Transportation System Plan District Boundaries
  84. Transportation System Plan Intermodal Facilities
  85. TriMet Bus System (routes)
  86. TriMet Bus System (stops)
  87. TriMet – Complete Schedule
  88. TriMet – Current Detours
  89. TriMet Park and Ride Lots
  90. TriMet – Trip Planner
  91. TriMet – Real Time Arrival Predictions
  92. TriMet – Route Configuration
  93. TriMet Transit Centers
  94. Urban Renewal Areas
  95. Vegetation
  96. Watershed / Sub Watershed Info
  97. Wellhead Protection Area
  98. Zip Codes
  99. Zip Codes (region)
  100. Zoning (region)
  101. Zoning

Oh. I see that light in your eyes. You’ve got an inkling of something to do with this data, don’t you? I knew I could count on you. And you know what else? It’s a really really good idea. No, I’m not just saying that. It is. Brilliant even.

So why not submit the idea to CivicApps? I mean, you don’t even have to build it. You just have to conceive it. What could be easier? Go. Scoot. Go submit it.

And hurry! There’s no telling when this thing might close. And your idea really deserves a shot. So go.

For more information, visit CivicApps or follow @CivicApps on Twitter.

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  11. Gee, I’d love to poke around over at CivicApps.org, but the damn site won’t let you look around very much without going one helluva authentication mechanism.

    I authenticated via Facebook. Now, can I look around? Noooo… gotta give ’em an email.

    Gave ’em an email. Now, can I look around? Nooo… gotta authenticate that email.

    OK, authenticated the email. Now, can I look around? Nooo… gotta make up a password. (What was the point of authenticating via Facebook?!)

    OK, gave ’em one of my usual passwords. What? Not acceptable? Oh, this is one of those “gotta include caps, lowercase, numbers, letters, and punctuation” passwords. What are we protecting here? Nuclear secrets?

    For cryin’ out loud, all I wanted to see was the “Add Your Own Idea” page. I didn’t even want to submit an idea. I just wanted to see what the form looked like.

    Sigh. For a project predicated on open government, transparency, and participation, they sure are making it hard to participate and figure out what’s going on.

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  14. I created an OLCC api a few weeks ago if anyone’s interested:


    Would love to see more datasets available on CivicApps, seems like it’s kind of limited right now.

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