Charlotte Launches Its New Open Data Portal

City of Charlotte / YouTube

 

Connecting state and local government leaders

Watch how Code for America helped North Carolina’s largest city unlock its information.

Last year, Code for America selected Charlotte as one of 10 cities for its 2014 fellowship program.

This week, North Carolina’s largest city unveiled the product of its partnership with the non-profit organization that helps governments across the nation build open-source technology and improve public services through digital innovation and unlocking the power of open data.

On Monday, local officials in Charlotte officially launched OpenCharlotte.net, the city’s new open data portal.

“The city believes we should not sequester the public’s information and the public has a right—this is a democratic society—to view that information and use it,” Twyla McDermott, Charlotte’s corporate technology program manager, said in a city-produced video about the new open data portal.

Code for America fellows worked with the city to integrate Citygram—a tool that allows users to select a specific geographic area of the city and receive real-time updates from a variety of information sets—with the open data portal.

“Knowing about changes to your neighborhood or the place you work ahead of time is really useful in anticipation of shifting populations in the city or new businesses coming up in your neighborhood,” Danny Whalen, a Code for America developer and fellow, said in the video.

Watch this Citygram demonstration of how a user of Charlotte’s open data portal could set up an traffic incident alert for a particular section of the city.

(Citygram demo from tchu on Vimeo.)

“We’re getting to the point now that we have the information, we have the technology and we have the capabilities with the help from our friends from Code for America to be able to deliver this information in real time to our citizens. It’s a fantastic day that we’ve been looking forward to for quite awhile,” said Charlotte Chief Information Officer Jeffrey Stovall in the video.

Like other open data initiatives, Charlotte’s is more than just about transparency. It’s also about boosting the local economy.

“We think this will be an economic development driver for our city as new businesses harvest that data, connect to it and develop applications so we may have new business startups in the tech field, the science field,” McDermott said.