Opendatasoft Helps Chapel Hill, NC Make Their Town’s Data More Accessible

BOSTON, MA - The open data portal established by Chapel Hill, NC and Boston-based Opendatasoft has succeeded in increasing government transparency and empowering its community. The portal now boasts 62 datasets, and places the city and its partners and residents at the center of a connected system. It is used by many of the Town’s demographic groups for research purposes, as well as being a useful tool for local government organizations. 

The Chapel Hill open data portal is managed by the Town’s Public Library. That makes sense, according to David Green, Library Systems Manager for the Town of Chapel Hill, because “people trust libraries: they are places of learning and critical thinking, and librarians provide information that is free of interpretation.” They also have valuable relationships, so the data provided comes with a built-in assumption of reliability. 

To ensure the data on the site can be trusted -- and that no data gets published that shouldn’t -  each department has an open data liaison, who in turn works with Green’s team. Data is then reviewed by the town’s executive director for technology, and legal representatives for pertinent departments, such as law enforcement. 

The police department was an early champion of open data, and that partnership works well. In fact, police and crime data are the most popular subsets on the site. Users can build maps and overlay datasets to discover, for example, how many pedestrian crashes were alcohol-related. 

In addition to incident reports, bicycle and pedestrian mishaps, users can sort through: 

- Local air quality 

- Zoning districts

- Fire hydrants 

- Town-owned property

- Streets/Neighborhoods

There are also budgets and actual spending data for the town of Chapel Hill. As the datasets grow, Green hopes that the rich array of information available will encourage more participation and a more robust catalogue in the future.  

About Opendatasoft

Opendatasoft offers its clients market-leading data sharing solutions that allow users to easily publish, manage, combine, analyze, visualize, and share data in a variety of formats on a single platform. Opendatasoft operates in 17 countries with clients ranging from small companies and towns (including the City and County of Durham, Town of Cary, NC Commerce, the City of Paris, Bristol, Eindhoven, etc) to large international companies (Schneider Electric, Indigo, Energias de Portugal (EDP), Veolia, Total, Air Liquide, Enedis, Saint-Gobain). For more information, visit http://www.opendatasoft.com/ or follow company news on Twitter via @Opendatasoft