The Data Portal (data.austintexas.gov) is your open government resource. The data portal's benefits include: transparency, user-friendly data presentation and opportunities for community app development.
What is 'Big Data'?
At its core, data.austintexas.gov consists datasets approved by a City department to be posted to the City Data Portal.
Big data isn’t a magic bullet — those are in short supply — but it presents very real opportunities to transform public service by driving dramatic improvements to both citizen-facing services and internal workflow. Federal, state and local governments alike are sitting on a treasure trove of information, but often don’t know what to do with it or how to use it.
Data.austintexas.gov allows the City to make data readily available for users. Texas municipal governments are required by the Texas Public Information Act to be transparent, and provide requested data and information to citizens. Now, some of that information is available without the need for you to fill out a Public Information Request to acquire it. Once data is posted, visitors can search for it or we can provide a direct link upon request.
Once data is on the Data Portal, it can be downloaded by users for use in their applications or visualized with tools on the portal and embedded on websites.
We can take these embeds even further by manipulating them into charts and maps. On the Austintexas.gov Feedback page, for example, we have embedded a chart of this month's top 10 searches on the website, along with links to the suggested resource for those searches.
We even won an award for our Dangerous and Vicious Dogs map embed on an Animal Services Office page. The interactive map allows you to zoom in to specific spots in Austin and learn the names and locations of dogs that have been declared dangerous.
Finally, we bring this data to the attention of volunteer citizen developers who are interested in using the data to create useful “apps” for residents. To promote this effort, the City participates in “Hack-a-thons”, all-day events where citizen developers come up with ideas for these apps.
At a recent hack-a-thon, a volunteer built an app for the Dangerous Dogs data. If you visit the website that hosts this application, your computer or phone will start barking when you are near one of the dangerous dogs.