We’ve posted here about how we use data to make decisions and why making data publicly available is important. With DataCuse, people in the community have access to a growing list of data that is collected and created by the City.
We are releasing this data for a few reasons:
Transparency - if we are making decisions using data, you should be able to see the data that informs the decisions.
Crowdsourcing ideas - There is a lot of data, and a lot of questions to be asked of it. We don’t know all the questions to ask, but think you might have some ideas. The data is now there to be analyzed.
Breaking down silos - Data from one department is sometimes inaccessible to other departments within the City. Useful data is often inaccessible to organizations external to City government. Making the data publicly accessible breaks down these silos.
When you visit data.syrgov.net, you can search for data. This data is accessible in the form of spreadsheets. For those that love looking at thousands of rows of data, this is for you.
For those that are interested in analyzing the data, but don’t know how, we have put together some tutorials to get you started on downloading the data and creating some simple charts and maps.
Some may not be interested in the spreadsheets, and instead only want to see charts, graphs, and maps. We have created these visualizations to give a high level view of what is going on in the city, so you can see number of potholes filled, or where vacant housing exists, or just what council district you live in.
Knowing that the City government is not the only entity that collects data about Syracuse, we have also linked to other organizations and levels of government that have publicly available data. So you’ll find data from the State or the Census or organizations like HealtheConnections.
This is a program that we will continue to build. Right now, there is data focused on infrastructure and housing - two focus areas for the Mayor. We will continue to add data, and need your help and recommendations. At the bottom of every page on the site, we ask for recommendations. Please share which data you would like to see made available, and we will work on making that happen.
Additionally, we want to see what you do with the data. If you have a project that uses data from DataCuse, please let us know! There is a form on the website asking how you have used the data. We will share some of the projects that are created.
This is an exciting initiative for the City, and we hope you are excited about it, too. We are always open to hearing constructive criticism or suggestions and will incorporate them as well as we can.
Finally, many people helped to get this portal launched. Mayor Miner’s support of Open Data and DataCuse has been critical. Current and former innovation team members, Adria Finch, Susannah Bartlett, Samantha Linnett, Jonnell Robinson, Andrew Maxwell, and Addison Spears all helped to move this forward. Also thanks to Ethan March who interned here and helped build the site and write the programs that keep the data updated. Community members like Mark Headd, Hack Upstate organizers Mitchell Patterson and Doug Crescenzi, and community organization leaders like Frank Ridzi and Jamison Crawford at the Community Foundation (along with the data users group that meets bi-weekly) helped to give context for why City data is useful to the community. The What Works Cities initiative from Bloomberg Philanthropies helped to craft the Open Data policy and structure the site - thanks to people including Andel Koester, Rebecca Williams, Emily Shaw, Alyssa Doom, Zach Markovitz from the Sunlight Foundation and the Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University. Advice from other data leaders from cities around the country was critical as well. The Innovation Teams program from Bloomberg Philanthropies helped make this initiative, among others, possible. So thanks to Katie Appel Duda, Stephanie Wade, Roland Persaud, and our coaches Sarah Graizbord, Bjorn Whitmore, and Ahmed Muneeb.
Thank you to all who helped make DataCuse a reality! Let’s get to analyzing.