The City of Scottsdale uses data to help provide the most effective services for our community.
As the city increases its efforts to make data more consumable, readily available, and useful for decision making across the organization, this open data portal offers similar access to the public, who may use datasets provided here to pursue similar insights and innovations.
This portal is part of a larger open data work plan approved by the City Council in August 2016.
While the initial priority is to release datasets that are used by the city for decision-making and support the City Council’s priorities, the city is continuing to identify other data that could be made available via this portal.
Open Data is a valuable resource meant for everyone. But if you’re not a data expert – using this information can be difficult, and using it correctly is even more difficult. Our goal is to empower all Scottsdale residents, from the most technology savvy to the least, to get and use the city’s data.
We want to help all users by removing the roadblocks we have run into ourselves as data users.
The first roadblock might be knowing how to use this data portal effectively. By reading the sections below, you’ll learn how the portal is organized, how to search for what you want, and how to access the data once you’ve found it.
What kinds of information can I find on this portal?
The main feature of this portal is a catalog of city data that is divided into topics. The catalog contains downloadable files, most of which are in a tabular format that can be opened in spreadsheet software such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets.
Files with the same kinds of records are grouped into a collection, called a dataset. The list of datasets is what you’ll see if you browse data in the catalog. Datasets may have multiple resources, and those resources may be related. For instance, a dataset may contain a resource that is a file of building permit records, as well as one or more corresponding resources that contain other details about the building permit records, such as the building inspection records for each building permit record.
Each of these downloadable files - found in section of the dataset page section called “Data and Resources” - has rows and rows of records. A record could be the transaction that occurs when a single business pays the city for its license, or a record could be an incident that the police responded to. A payment transaction and a police incident are very different events, so each of the records for those events will have different details. For example, one will have the name of the business as a detail, and one will have a name of a street where a public safety incident occurred. These details fill out the columns in the downloadable files.
Files with many rows can start to get large and difficult to work with. For this reason, the same kinds of records might be divided into multiple files that follow a logical break, such as month or year. Or, the data may be presented in a file that aggregates the individual records into counts or sums by day, month or other logical grouping for that data file.
How the portal is organized
To organize our data, we follow the Topic > Dataset > Data and Resources model briefly described above.
Topics are listed on the portal’s main page in the Topics section. This section categorizes types of data. Clicking on a Topic reveals the datasets available in that area.
Another way is to look for datasets on the portal’s Datasets section, which lists all the different types of datasets. Datasets can be ordered in different ways, such as by popularity, or alphabetical order. They can also be filtered by groups, tags or formats.
A dataset is a bucket for multiple views and formats of a single set of data and may also contain corresponding views of directly related data. Each of those permutations and formats is a resource, and all resources are linked from the same dataset page.
Data and Resources
Resources are the actual files, APIs or links that we are sharing. We only provide resources that are machine-readable and in an open format. Resource types include:
Organizing the data into resources contained in datasets allows us to offer the same data in different formats or at different granularities.
Each data and resource page contains at least three specific items about the data.
- 1. Location of the resource. Clicking on the location allows for immediate download of the resource file.
- 2. Field information. Descriptions of each data field in the file that include field name, type of field (simplified to text, number, datetime format), and a definition of the field.
- 3. Update frequency. Notes how often the data is refreshed, Daily, Weekly, Monthly, etc.
The Data and Resources page includes an interface that gives a preview of the data in the resource files. It is called “Grid”, and includes search, sort, and filtering capabilities.
The Data Explorer also includes a “graph” interface that provides the ability to graph pre-aggregated data. It is possible that a question could be answered just by taking advantage of this capability.
The final interface in the Data Explorer is “Map”. The Map interface will only pertain to resource files that contain Latitude/Longitude or X/Y data in them and will plot automatically.
How to navigate the portal
To view all the datasets currently available, navigate to the City of Scottsdale Open Data Portal home page, and click on Datasets at the top right of the page.
With the search bar on the homepage, users can search for data based on keywords in the dataset title or the name of the topic. Simply click on the Search field, and key in your desired search term. If you have a topical keyword in mind, try using this to find a dataset by title. You can also search by Topic. Below is are guided instructional steps, in which we:
1. Conduct a sample search for the dataset Fire Department CAD Events by typing “fire” in the Search Box.
2. Click on Fire Department CAD Events
3. Click on Fire Department Computer Aided Dispatch Events
4. Filter the results to include only those calls that were Cancelled by clicking on Filters, then click on Add Filter.
5. In the dropdown group, choose TypeGroup and click Add.
6. Type the word Cancelled and click Update.
7. Preview the results on the screen.
8. Download the data as a CSV file – Scroll back to the top of the page where the URL for the file is posted.
9. Click on the URL and a pop-up asking you to provide a name and a location to down load appears. Provide a Name and Location to save the file.
Want more data?
If you have any specific suggestions about other datasets you would find useful, let us know and we will see what we can do - drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.