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Press Release: City of Oakland Launches Open Data Platform to Spur Civic Innovation

From Karen Boyd, Office of the Oakland City Administrator
Friday February 08, 2013 - 04:57:00 PM

Oakland, CA — Announcing the launch of its open data platform today, the City of Oakland has joined the ranks of other forward-thinking government organizations around the world that are using Open Data as a platform for increased civic engagement and government transparency, improved decision making, and more efficient and effective service delivery. 

The newly launched website will serve as the central repository of the City of Oakland’s public data. The new website allows users to access, visualize and download City data. In addition, programmers will appreciate the site’s Application Programming Interface (API), which enables direct access to tap into City data to build software applications. also provides the public with the opportunity to engage with the City and contribute feedback and ideas. The site allows users to request additional datasets and create their own unique maps and charts that they can then share via social media, or embed on blogs and websites. 

The City of Oakland collects a broad range of data in order to perform its tasks. By making the data easily accessible to both staff and the public alike, it has the potential to transform how the City does business. The platform gives the community a better view into the inner workings of local government, and encourages the community to develop applications that enhance City services. 

The data catalog will grow over time as City employees discover or aggregate new data, or as data is suggested by the pubic. An initial offering of over 50 datasets is available on the site, including: 

  • Crime statistics
  • City infrastructure
  • 2010 census data
  • Parks and Recreation facilities
  • Spatial data

The Open Data platform is the latest in a series of recent efforts by the City to engage with citizens through the use of free, third-party apps, social media and Open Data. 

  • Last year, the City of Oakland’s Public Works Agency opened up its service request data and integrated with SeeClickFix, an online and mobile tool that helps residents report, track and monitor non-emergency problems, such as graffiti, illegal dumping or potholes.
  • The Oakland Police Department began using Nixle and Twitter to send out neighborhood-specific crime alerts.
  • Citizens have long had the ability to track and monitor crime through websites such as and, as a result of efforts by the Oakland Police Department and the Department of Information Technology to open Crime Data to the public.
  • The City has been working with OpenOakland—the Code for America Brigade—to launch “Adopt-A-Drain,” a map-based, web app that allows for individuals, small businesses and community organizations to volunteer to clear the City’s storm-drains.
  • Last fall the City launched a community engagement web site called The platform encourages community ideas, feedback and suggestions to help shape, grow and sustain the healthy future of Oakland. The site is sponsored by the City to help advance innovative ideas and improve service delivery.
Oakland is a dynamic hub of innovation and visionary thinkers. The City of Oakland is fortunate to have creative, committed and tech-savvy residents and community partners. By opening City data, the City of Oakland hopes to spark innovation and allow for the creation of dozens more free or low-cost customized apps that would create value for citizens and promote civic engagement.  

The launch of the open data platform comes as Oakland welcomes three innovative Code for America fellows to start their one-year fellowship. Their role will be to work with City staff and the community to develop new apps and technology tools to bring greater openness, efficiency and participation to local government. The goal of Code for America is to help bridge the digital divide between the public and private sectors by helping local governments create new tools and demonstrate new ways of resolving local challenges. 


Open Data Day Hackathon 


On February 23, 2013, the City of Oakland will co-host a hackathon with OpenOakland to celebrate International Open Data Day. Join volunteer programmers, coders and community members at the 81st Avenue Branch Library to explore, visualize and build apps using government data. To suggest ideas for apps and needed data, visit For more information and to register for the event, visit: