Getting Started

and need a little help understanding how to use the open data portal?

Open data is data that can be freely used, re-used and redistributed by anyone-the requirement to attribute and sharealike. - Defined by the Open Definition

New to data? Whether you’re new to open data or learning more about how to use data, we’re here to help guide you through your data journey! We’ll identify what datasets are, highlight types of data, how to sort or download data and provide additional resources on how you can create maps and graphs, structure data, etc.

Video Guides

To help you get started with our tools, we have a series of videos designed to teach you the basics about interacting with this data site. More video guides

Creating an Account

To create or not to create an account? That is the question. It depends on what you’re trying to accomplish.To create an account, click on sign-in, under Menu on mobile or beneath the search bar on desktop.

  • If you simply want to browse, save your visualizations and download datasets? You may do so without an account.
  • To suggest a dataset, you must be signed-in.

What is a Dataset

A dataset is an organized collection of data elements. Datasets can be presented in tabular or non-tabular formats.

How datasets are created

According to the Open Data Glossary handbook, datasets are created by collecting data in different ways: from manual or automatic measurements (e.g. weather data), surveys (census data), records of decisions (budget data) or ongoing transactions (spending data), aggregation of many records (crime data), mathematical modeling (population projections), etc.

How to Download and Export Data

Maybe you’ve filtered a dataset, and instead of saving it as a view, you’d like to take that data offline. Let’s walk you through the process of downloading a dataset.

Click the Export tab, next to the Visualize tab. This will pull up the Export pane which offers a number of formats for exporting.

You can download the files as a:

  • CSV
  • CSV for Excel
  • JSON
  • RDF
  • RSS
  • XML
  • CSV for Excel (Europe)
  • TSV for Excel

If you are Exporting for a maps, here are your formatting options:

  • KML
  • KMZ
  • Shapefile
  • Original
  • GeoJSON

After the download is finished, it can be opened in an appropriate software package. If the dataset you are requesting is large, it may take a while to download.

How to Suggest a Dataset

Still can’t find that particular dataset you are looking for after searching through the portal? you can suggest the data using the ‘Suggest Dataset’ feature on the portal. The feature allows you to place public requests for data the portal doesn’t have, which the community can vote up or down. The City of Austin’s open data team will be notified when a new data suggestion has been made then view and reply with the appropriate information. Please note you will need to create an account or login to suggest a dataset.

To Suggest a Dataset you can:

  • Follow this link and click “Suggest a Dataset” on the top right side of the page.
  • You can also find this link under the browse all datasets pages. Please see below.

How to Contact a Dataset Owner

Do you have questions about a particular dataset? On the Open Data portal you have a great opportunity to contact the dataset owner, the City staff who would know best about the dataset.

You can can use the following features:

  • You can contact a dataset owner on the main dataset page, please see photo below:
  • You also contact a dataset owner through the about feature, see photo below:

Socrata Knowledge Base

Socrata is the software company that drives the data portal. Please visit the Socrata Knowledge Base where you will find video tutorials on how to use various tools on the Open Data portal and how to instructions such as…

  • Create maps, graphs, etc.
  • Structure Data
  • Filter Data
  • many more