Residents now have city data sets at their fingertips to improve neighborhoods, build businesses, and stay informed.
The City of Norfolk’s new open data portal, called NorfolkOpenData, offers a world of information anytime, free of charge, with easy, centralized access. City data sets including call center information, permits and city employee salaries are available with a few simple keystrokes. Find a link to the portal at Norfolk.gov.
Norfolk is also proud to announce that it will immediately begin working with residents to find concrete uses for this data. The City of Norfolk and Austin, Texas have been selected from among cities across the country to work with the Sunlight Foundation. This group will assist Norfolk in creating a pilot project for Tactical Data Engagement – a way for the city and residents to mine open data for solutions to locally pressing issues.
“Norfolk is excited to participate in the next Tactical Data Engagement pilot,” said Douglas L. Smith, Norfolk City Manager. “As we roll out our open data platform, Sunlight’s support will ensure we deliver data that’s important to our residents. I believe in a connected, collaborative and creative community and increasing citizen engagement through data sharing ensures we’re working together to improve our community.”
Both the portal and the collaboration reflect Norfolk’s commitment to providing data that’s useful to everyone. The NorfolkOpenData portal offers data sets that can be sorted, filtered and customized – create and save your own searches to keep tabs on your neighborhood. Residents may also view data with charts, graphs and maps. Need help? View one of the easy to use tutorials on the NorfolkOpenData portal.
Among the countless uses for these data sets, the City of Norfolk hopes residents can more easily find information about the work of the city, to enhance coordination and efficiency among City departments, and that these data will serve as a catalyst for innovation by businesses and education institutions.
Efforts to open this portal began last year when Norfolk developed its Open Data policy and program with assistance from What Works Cities, an initiative of Bloomberg Philanthropies. City staff sprinted through 120 days to create the policy and program framework. These provided the foundation for the marathon of identifying data sets and preparing them for release.
The NorfolkOpenData Portal currently contains the following 4 data sets:
- Norfolk Cares Call Center
- Employee Salaries
- Electronic Permits
- STORM – System to Track, Organize, Record and Map incidents as a result of inclement weather, such as flooded streets, damaged trees, disabled vehicles, and damaged utilities.
It also includes links to Crime Mapping, which allows residents to search by address to find incidents, and to restaurant inspections.
The release of these data sets and the opening of the portal mark an important milestone in the City of Norfolk’s Open Data journey. Staff continues to work with city leadership and the Open Data Advisory committee to populate the portal with additional datasets. These groups oversee the collection and dissemination of data and ensure its accuracy as well as identifying and approving datasets for release.
City staff will continue a series of training events for employees and residents in how to use the portal. And the City of Norfolk will embrace its partnership with the Sunlight Foundation to encourage community engagement around NorfolkOpenData to create real world opportunities for data to make a difference.