Chattanooga's open data portal logs 1.3 million views in 2016

Chattanooga's open data portal logs 1.3 million views in 2016

September 27th, 2016 by Paul Leach in Local Regional News

This is a screenshot of Chattanooga's open data portal website.

Photo by data.chattlibrary.org

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To visit the Chattanooga Open data portal (and to suggest a dataset), go to data.chattlibrary.org.

Document: 2015 State of Open Data

2015 State of Open Data In Chattanooga Report.

Document: 2016 State of Open Data

2016 State of Open Data In Chattanooga Report.

Usage has improved for Chattanooga's open data portal, which provides information about public safety incidents, bike trails, traffic citations and more.

The portal logged 1.3 million views in 2016, more than a million more than the previous year, according to a report for the site for the 2016 fiscal year.

"The main point is to offer transparency, provide information and engage the community," said Tim Moreland, director of performance management and open data for the city's information technology department.

This data portal is provided by the Chattanooga Public Library through partnership with the City of Chattanooga, as well as the Open Chattanooga Brigade.

Moreland pointed to the increasing number of datasets, which has grown to 202. An example of a dataset includes fire incident reports that show where and when fires have occurred, he said.

As part of that growth, the city plans to make more policing data available, including information about officer-involved shootings, assaults against officers and use-of-force incidents, in the near future, Moreland said. The planned datasets likely will encompass multiple years of reporting.

"This is not our data," police Chief of Staff David Roddy said in May. "This is the community's data. It's the community's actions, victimization, response — we just happen to be the ones responsible for writing that information down."

Moreland said no hard deadline has been set regarding the planned datasets, citing a comprehensive quality control process that includes translating emergency call codes into understandable incident descriptions and deciding how best to protect the privacy of citizens involved in the incidents. For instance, fire incident address data is typically limited to a street block instead of a specific address.

Crime data searches topped the 2015 report with 1,559 views, followed by Bike Chattanooga 2013 trip data at 1,303 views.

While crime data dropped to fourth place in 2016, the number of views more than doubled to 3,341 views. Hamilton County E911 Active Calls category topped the 2016 report at 4,639. The two public safety categories combined accounted for 8,019 views.

Bike Chattanooga views increased to 2,996, although the category fell to fifth place, and 311 service requests ranked second at 4,073.

The numbers do show the open data portal is sustaining an increased level of traffic, he said.

Before a spike of 83,000 views in May, the portal averaged 5,000 views a month. Since then, the monthly average ranges between 10,000 and 15,000 views.

Moreland could not pinpoint what caused the May spike.

Users of the site have requested data on taxi cabs, beer and alcohol permits and Chattanooga zoo animals to be added.

Deborah Fisher, executive director of the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government, calls open data government portals a good thing, if they are maintained.

"What is important is if people are able to use data in a way that allows them to participate more effectively in open government," Fisher said.

Contact staff writer Paul Leach at 423-757-6481 or pleach@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @pleach_tfp.


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