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Analyze Boston officially released!


Published by:

Analytics Team

Today marks the official release of Analyze Boston, Boston's new open data hub.

We’re proud to announce the official release of Analyze Boston, Boston’s new open data hub. During our site's beta period, we shared how we want to re-imagine the open data experience. We asked for feedback to help us make our site as functional as possible for all our current and future users. The feedback streamed in this past month, including a nice note from Australia.  The feedback we received didn't go into a black hole. We've worked with our partners AppGeo and OpenGov to address over 60% of the issues raised to date. We also identified more longer term issues that we will continue to work on in the weeks and months to come.

So, you might be asking, what improvements will now be available on Analyze Boston? We will spotlight some of these features below to highlight the City's next generation open data experience.

Stay tuned for more information by signing up for our newsletter, or follow us on Twitter @AnalyzeBoston

Features coming to Analyze Boston

Implemented data dictionaries  

This feature is the most exciting to date. Instead of guessing the meaning of column headers, such as CTY_SCR_NAME or other database labels, we will pair data releases with data dictionaries. So in practice, whenever you are previewing a dataset you will be able to scan the accompanying dictionary below to see more intuitive definitions for such labels. For example, when viewing the CityScore Full Metric List, a user will now be able to see that CTY_SCR_Name refers to a “descriptive metric name.” We’ve implemented this feature for some of the most commonly viewed datasets and will continue to curate these dictionaries over time. This functionality should make the City’s datasets more user friendly.

More downloadable file formats 

We've extended the available downloadable formats beyond the comma separated values (CSV) files that you’ve become accustomed to seeing. Now, users will have the ability to download these files as tab separated value (TSV) and JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) files. They will be available via the “Data API” button for all tabular datasets. We are providing these file formats to give users even more access points to the City’s data.  

An enhanced data preview experience

The tabular data previewing experience is now improved. With this new feature, users will be able to export filtered or sorted views of a dataset via buttons labeled “Copy,” “Excel,” or “Print.” Also, like Excel, users will also be able to “Hide/Unhide” columns to condense a dataset to make it easier to preview. This functionality should enhance the preview experience for all users.

Improved content

We even improved the quality of the data that we’ve migrated over from our legacy open data portal. To enhance our data content, we added descriptive information to communicate their origins, noted their timeframes, and provided web links (when applicable) to more information. Our goal is to iterate and improve our content over time to make sure we can best meet your needs.

Official release and beyond

This official release is an important milestone for the Knight Foundation funded Open Data to Open Knowledge project. This next generation open data hub will support the City's goal of publishing open datasets of high quality with clear public value. As outlined in our February 2017 post, we will continue to host the City’s legacy open data portal until July 2017.

At this point, we will transition all of our efforts to Analyze Boston. Of course, there is much work and many more datasets that we want to publish. So stay tuned for more information by signing up for our newsletter, or follow us on Twitter @AnalyzeBoston. If you have time, join us this evening at General Assembly to help us celebrate this official launch and to learn more about the forthcoming Open Data challenge