By Josh Cohen.
In late January, the city of Los Angeles unveiled a new open data visualization tool called GeoHub. City officials say the project marks an evolution in municipal open data portals and will improve city government work and transparency.
GeoHub is a searchable directory of over 500 eclectic L.A. city datasets such as farmers markets, emergency services, construction projects, streams and rivers, volunteer opportunities, crime, performing arts centers, and many more.
The data still lives within a given department, but instead of having to find one set from the Department of Transportation and another from Health Services, GeoHub lets users navigate to all of it from one place. Perhaps most importantly, the tool presents the data as GIS maps rather than the spreadsheet lists and software files cities often provide.
“Traditionally, open data portals have just been tabular information. Data for data’s sake is never useful. You need to be able to analyze it or visual it,” says Lilian Coral, L.A.’s deputy chief data officer.
GeoHub is a big step forward for a city that was, until Mayor Eric Garcetti was elected, lagging behind its peers on the open data front.