Public data just became easier to obtain today following the launch of the city’s open data portal, DataLB, which allows datasets to be in one centralized location and in a geospatial data format, according to city officials.
“Long Beach’s DataLB portal is making the vast amount of City data useful for a wider variety of purposes,” said Mayor Robert Garcia said in a statement. “Not only will people be able to use DataLB and new apps available online to chart information like crime rates, but businesses can see the best areas to establish themselves and grow. This is a great tool for the City and the community.”
Instead of having to submit a public records request and receiving an excel sheet in response DataLB will enable the public to explore, visualize and download publicly available data, officials stated. This makes Long Beach one of the first to make open data more interactive in a geospatial manner and analyze and combine open data layers using a map viewer, as well as develop new web and mobile applications. More information and data sets are expected to be added continuously, officials added.
Right now, the public can obtain information on things such as Measure A projects and the city’s capital improvement program, Garcia said. In the future, he hopes to have data on the Port of Long Beach and the city’s water department among other agencies. DataLB can provide regional and global information, as opposed to redirecting the public to outside information.
The portal was created through a partnership between the city’s technology and innovation commission and the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI)—an international supplier of geographic information system (GIS) software, web GIS and geodatabase management applications, according to officials.
Screenshot of DataLB.
“Providing data online is not a new concept in government,” said Bryan M. Sastokas, chief information officer, in a statement. “However, the City of Long Beach wants to drive beyond presenting data online and our DataLB portal is an innovative approach that allows the public to operationalize data, making it more useful to the community and building on the city’s commitment to transparency.”
Costing the city about $180,000 annually to maintain, officials said the open data portal will in turn realize savings on staff time used to fulfill requests for public records. The new portal is part of the city’s Open Data Policy, adopted in December, that calls for modern citywide practices for sharing data.
Above, left photo: Mayor Robert Garcia launches DataLB on Monday, January 9, 2017.