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Bureau of Technology Services

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A Brief History of Open Data at the City of Portland


The City of Portland has been a leader in eGovernment and open data. This post provides a brief look at past, present, and future efforts to show how the City's commitment to open data has evolved, from the original resolution passed by City Council in 2009 to today.


  • 2009    City Council adopts resolution no. 36735 in the fall of 2009, formally committing the City of Portland to meeting the challenges of open data.

  • 2010    CivicApps is launched -- a first-of-its-kind data portal, containing over 120 datasets from the City of Portland and regional partners.
    The CivicApps app contest garners great publicity for the project, and receives over 40 submissions of applications built on open data, many of which are still in use today.

  • 2011     PDX CitySync is created as a way to take open data to the next level, positioning government as a platform, by not only providing developers a new platform to build civic apps on, but to provide data in context to non-technical users, through personalization and data visualization.

  • 2012    The CivicApps API is launched to give developers more easier access to open data releases to facilitate and encourage application development.

Current Efforts

Leading by Example
By building applications and widgets for various bureaus using open data, we hope to show the possibilities, utility, and value of providing datasets for public use. Some examples include:

  • Police / Fire Incident mapping
  • PBOT street maintenance dashboard
  • Water district lookup tool and drinking water advisory mapping
  • 'Jobs in the City' found on the Mayor and BHR homepages

CivicApps 2.0
A refresh of the CivicApps platform is currently under development with the following objectives:

  • Facilitate collaboration between developers and non-developers
  • Increase participation through release of high-value or compelling datasets
  • Provide developers with full-featured API access to a majority of data catalog