City Data Liaisons & Publishers

begin your open data journey here using this starter kit.

This section is for City of Austin Data Liaisons and Publishers. Open Data Liaisons and Publishers implement their department’s Open Data plans in relation to the City of Austin’s Open Data Initiative (ODI) and City Manager’s “open by default” directive.

Guide to Publishing Data

In order to publish data, you need to be a city employee with data ready to be used. Please follow the instructions to learn more, if you need assistance anytime during this guide please contact the open data team:

  1. Before publishing, you will need to identify datasets for publication.
  2. Learn about the roles and responsibilities as a Open Data Publisher/Liaisons and who are the other Open Data Publisher/Liaisons in the City.
  3. If you haven’t created an account please click here and follow these instructions on how to create an account.
  4. Once you have an account, go to the contact page and reach out to the Open Data team and you will be assigned the appropriate permissions.
  5. Identify the different methods of publishing data
  6. Follow the step-by-step tutorial provided by Socrata going through the stages of how to publish covering the following topics: importing a data file, selecting the data file to upload, reviewing the data scan stage to review the dataset schema and data types prior to performing a complete import, adding metadata such as a description, tags, licensing and attribution and configuring the default privacy settings.

Guide to Editing Data

  • Learn how to add <a href=”https://support.socrata.com/hc/en-us/articles/202949878-Editing-Datasets-Adding-a-new-column>new column</a> to a dataset and change the order of columns.
  • Learn how to <a href=”https://support.socrata.com/hc/en-us/articles/202949958-Editing-datasets-using-a-working-copy>edit datasets using a working copy,</a> the unpublished dataset set aside for you and your collaborators to make edits on.

What Open Data Liaisons and Publishers Do

  • Coordinate and manage departmental Open Data efforts in relation to the City of Austin’s ODI.
  • Identify new data sets to be published on the COA Open Data Portal.
  • Facilitate proper assessment, review and approvals for data to be published and ensure it complies with legal, ethical and security concerns.
  • Manage published data sets on the Open Data Portal ensuring data quality, standards and usability.
  • Identify various uses of department Open Data that promote transparency, innovation, advanced analytics and performance measurement.
  • Participate in City of Austin Open Data outreach, workshops, hackathons, projects and partnerships.

Meet the City of Open Data Liaisons and Publishers

The Open Data Liaison and Publisher may be a data owner, implementer or coordinator of departmental data and data-related resources. The Open Data Liaison and Publisher will be the single point of contact between the department and the Open Data Initiative team.

How to Identify Datasets for Publication

  • Consult Public Information Requests: If information is frequently requested by citizens or other agencies, publishing this information on the data portal may be very valuable to the public and decrease the amount of time spent on PIRs. Review reports your department provides to federal or state agencies. These reports (and their underlying data sources) can help identify data which can also be provided to the public.

  • Explore what other cities are doing: A number of other cities in the U.S. and around the world are releasing open data to external users. What are people in other cities looking for? What kinds of data are other governments making available? Chances are that if there is a high demand for certain kinds of data in other cities, there may be a high demand for it in Austin as well.

  • Search for data already posted on the Portal: Look at Microsoft Excel files or public facing applications, which allow visitors to search for records. The data may not necessarily be available in bulk or in a machine-readable format, but this is a good place to start.

  • Review published reports: Published reports are often populated with data that is either compiled or aggregated from internal applications. For example, a public record may indicate that the City has closed 100 projects this month. The application, which maintains information on each project, will likely have additional details (such as the type of project, location, budget, etc.) that could be made public.

  • Ask the public for ideas: If you want to find out what data people are looking for, one of the best ways to find out is simply to ask. Check to see on social media/other outlets to see if there are comments or tweets about data you might be able to make available. You can also check on the portal on our forum “Data suggestions”

Methods of Publishing Your Dataset

There are three methods for publishing datasets to data.austintexas.gov:

  • Manual : This method is generally used with datasets that are fairly uncomplicated and not updated frequently (refresh rate > 4 times/year).

  • Automation : When a dataset is updated more frequently, this method allows for automatic updates to Austin’s Open Data Portal. If you need wish to choose this route. Please contact the Austin Open Data Initiative team or feel free to explore Socrata’s tool, Data sync​, a tool that can be learned by technical and non-technical data publishers/Liaisons alike.

  • Programmatic (API to API) : If a dataset needs to be updated in real-time, the programmatic method is the best option. However, it requires some technical savvy.​

Using one of these publication methods, the next steps are to upload the data to Austin’s Portal. Please note a Data Liaison/Publisher along with his or her department is responsible for reviewing the datasets for its security, quality, and metadata.