Big cities deserve big databases -- and these places have 'em

Philadelphia and other major cities make searchable data available to public


While most of us see the Philadelphia skyline, others see lots of potential data.

Image credit: Flickr/ROB SHENK

Look at that skyline of Philadelphia in the photo above. In those buildings and parks, and on those streets, are stories: stories about people, stories about history, stories about excessive and sometimes irrational loyalty to local sports teams.

But there are Philadelphia stories to be found elsewhere. In the data. Specifically, in the more than 175 data sets, applications and APIs that comprise OpenDataPhilly, a portal run by the non-profit Philadelphia Public Interest Information Network, which says the project is "based on the idea that providing free and easy access to data information encourages better and more transparent government and a more engaged and knowledgeable citizenry."

OpenDataPhilly includes both municipal and non-municipal data broken into numerous categories such as Arts/Culture/History, Education, Elections/Politics, Food, Public Safety, Transportation and Real Estate. Click on category and you're presented with various data files to explore.

For example, under Environment you can get data from the Philadelphia Water Department on sewer flows or information from the U.S. Geological Survey on fault lines and topographical changes in the City of Brotherly Love.

And under Parks/Recreation, users can view a database of bicycle commuter routes from the Greater Philadelphia Bicycle Coalition, or a searchable listing of the city's happy hour and restaurant specials provided by Drink Philly.

Users also can search with keywords. The data, apps and APIs includes information about the original source, update frequency and other relevant details.

While Philadelphia makes a lot of data available to citizens, it's not alone. Many other cities also have made searchable data available to people. They include:

New York City
San Francisco
Washington DC

Now read this:

10 things that happen to our bodies during space flight

Spidernaut never got to enjoy its fame

Polar ice sheets continue to melt, but climate-change deniers remain thick as ever

Join us:






Spotlight on ...
Online Training

    Upgrade your skills and earn higher pay

    Readers to share their best tips for maximizing training dollars and getting the most out self-directed learning. Here’s what they said.


    Learn more

SoftwareWhite Papers & Webcasts

Webcast On Demand

Next Generation Firewall

Sponsor: PC Connection

See more White Papers | Webcasts

Answers - Powered by ITworld

ITworld Answers helps you solve problems and share expertise. Ask a question or take a crack at answering the new questions below.

Join us:






Ask a Question