When I first took office in 2014, government reform and innovation were at the top of my priority list. Previously, there was no centralized place to gather, store, and access critical city data. After prioritizing the passage of open data legislation in the first months of our administration, and with the newly formed Department of Innovation & Performance at the helm, the City established an innovative partnership with Allegheny County, the University of Pittsburgh, and the local foundation community to create the Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center (WPRDC) – an open data platform for the entire region.
The Data Center not only changed how the City organizes and manages its own data, but its regional structure, community focus as a data intermediary, and inventive approach to partnerships have made it a national model for open data platforms.
After making significant progress in advancing the availability of open data, more elusive goals remained: expanding access and the thoughtful use of data released by local governments beyond a handful of researchers and civic data enthusiasts.
Because, as I like to say, if it’s not for all, it’s not for us.
With these goals in mind, we built Burgh’s Eye View, our “one stop shop” for accessing City data. The mobile web application allows Pittsburgh residents, for the first time, to gain visual insight into a broad range of citywide and neighborhood data — including crime and 311 requests. A year later and with over 28,000 users, we can confidently say that we’ve been able to transform the experience of open government.
When the WPRDC launched, there were only a handful of City datasets online. Today, we’ve made nearly one hundred datasets available, with many more to come. Our goal is for this information to empower all of Pittsburgh – from researchers at our esteemed universities, to neighborhood block watch groups – to make positive changes in all of our communities.
Mayor, City of Pittsburgh