Palo Alto makes city data public

'Open Data' initiative aims to inform residents and spur app developers to make programs residents can use

Palo Alto's data-hungry residents and app-makers now have something new to feast on. The City of Palo Alto has unveiled the latest step in its "Open Data" initiative -- an effort that officials say aims to make the government more transparent.

Following the lead of other cities, including San Francisco and New York City, the city has partnered with the Palo Alto company Junar to create a new platform to display a variety of data sets, including ones pertaining to rainfall, Census data, street trees, bike paths and park locations.

The new cloud-based platform "has enhancement and visualization capabilities that make the data useful even before it is downloaded or consumed by a software application," Jonathan Reichental, the city's chief information officer, said in a statement.

City Manager James Keene called the new platform "a natural complement to our goal of becoming a leading digital city and a connected community."

But he also hopes the data can have practical applications, as was seen in February when a group of Stanford hackers used city data to make a searchable online index of Palo Alto's street conditions.

"Using this data, through challenges and hackathons, non-city employees can develop applications that can be of use to the community at no cost to the city," Keene said at the July 23 meeting of the City Council.

The new platform is available at

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Like this comment
Posted by Wayne Martin
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 31, 2012 at 11:15 am

Trying the link provided in the article:

Web Link

I got--

Oops! Google Chrome could not find

Like this comment
Posted by Wayne Martin
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 31, 2012 at 11:19 am

I tried the streetview web-page--

Web Link

Tried two streets that are near downtown--Bryant Street and Addison, getting the following --

No matching or nearby location found!

Like this comment
Posted by Paco
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Jul 31, 2012 at 12:35 pm

they provided the website but never guarenteed it would work. maybe thats part of the plan is to have residents fix the site at "no cost to the city" according to Keene.

Like this comment
Posted by David Pepperdine
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 1, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Shameless incompetence on the part of overpaid bureaucrats.

Like this comment
Posted by Dennis
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 1, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Pretty close - only one street off. I suggest the City open a competition between Gunn & Paly students to design and produce Palo Alto's next assault on the web.

Like this comment
Posted by Jerryl
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 1, 2012 at 5:47 pm

The "geographic" selection enticed me until I saw it was just
Google Maps and Street Maps all over again.
I fully expected, given the fanfare, that we were going to be
given access to the CPA GIS database.

I would like to create a neighborhood map of our neighborhood
but not yet I see.

Like this comment
Posted by paloaltotreewatch
a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on Aug 1, 2012 at 6:59 pm

Do you think the city is going to fix the issues you raised?
Y'all being used for crowd-sourced debugging.

Like this comment
Posted by John C. Tran
a resident of University South
on Aug 2, 2012 at 4:20 am


Thank you for the comments regarding the Open Data site. It is incorrectly linked in the article and I've notified the editor. The correct link is: Web Link.

We hope you take the opportunity to explore the available data sets (linked at the bottom of the page) and your feedback is always welcomed. Also, feel free to contact the City of Palo Alto directly with requests for additional data sets. They are truly working hard to engage with the community to improve transparency, collaboration, and services.


John C. Tran
Senior Marketing Manager

Like this comment
Posted by Paco
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Aug 2, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Another flawed outsourced city project costing Palo Alto taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. Thanks go out to city manager Keene and city council members!

Like this comment
Posted by vladrad
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 14, 2012 at 3:23 am

WOW this is Awesome!!
I just would like to see more detail in finance data. Tax collection etc. :)
Good work!

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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