Events >

#526 Online: Better Data Portal: Making Public Data More Public


Anthony Moser he/him

What does it take to make public data truly accessible? Chicago has a remarkably full featured city data portal that can make maps, filter, and combine a lot of different information. But like all tools, its design reflects implicit assumptions about who it’s for and how they’ll use it. Often finding something interesting requires already knowing you’re looking for, then figuring out what dataset might contain it, then deciding what fields to use for filtering.

But what if you just want to know what kinds of records might exist for a given person, company, address, building? Folk technologist Anthony Moser built the website using Streamlit as a simple wrapper for the city data portal to let people search for keywords across all city data sets, with results de-duplicated and ready to download in a single click. It’s a quick and simple way to get a snapshot of what’s available - a lot of information with a low barrier to entry.

Join Anthony for this talk about the tools and philosophy behind BetterDataPortal and other public data tools (like the CPS FOIA Archive, Position History, and Demographics Dashboard; the Chicago TIF map generator and precinct map generator; and the 311 Air Pollution Dashboard) and what it means to think of data as a kind of embodied storytelling, instead of an objective view from nowhere.

ASL This event will not have an American Sign Language interpreter.