Open Data showcase project WOW Boston leverages the portal’s data to visually link local properties and their owners across the globe.
A featured showcases section includes real projects, illustrating how public and internal users have leveraged the data beyond simply looking at raw information. “Citizens use this to get better ideas as to what they could do with the data,” Therriault said. A showcase project called WOW Boston is a tool that visually links properties and owners. Beantown Solar shows residents where the greatest opportunities are for using solar energy. Boston Garbage Atlas ties trash episodes with specific events, such as student move-in days at universities.
The ability to update information in near real-time makes it more relevant and useful for developers and the general public, alike. For instance, API integrations allow users to build applications and dynamic analyses. The City Hall electricity usage dataset, for example, provides near real-time energy monitoring of the measurements of electricity loads going into City buildings.
Therriault said the portal’s scalability is an exciting component of its functionality. “Over time, we can easily scale up to enable better performance to support growth in usage without interruption,” he said. He also noted that the team improved its back-end data processes and best practices, including taking proactive approaches to ensuring privacy and security reviews prior to publishing data, as well as integrating Boston Maps geospacial data sets to provide a single source of information for residents.
Boston Looks to Continue Growth and Momentum
Beyond the end of the grant, the City is sustaining Analyze Boston using a variety of innovative tactics. Librarians are continuing to connect the public with open data resources. The City is creating in-person and online training opportunities while expanding the portal’s functionality, outreach, and community collaboration.
Additional data, such as new transportation datasets and 911 dispatch information, will become available and existing data is kept fresh. Expanded outreach and collaboration will include an intentional presence in schools, along with new City and community partnerships. Therriault is excited about continued growth in functionality, including new features and more visualizations. These combined efforts will build on the City’s success in leveraging data to better inform and engage its stakeholders and power data-driven initiatives.