Open311 Dashboard: Visualizing the Power of the Platform

The Open311 platform is one of Civic Commons’ core initiatives; it’s an Application Programming Interface (API) and a growing set of software tools that help cities manage service and information requests from citizens. We see it as a core element of an “open” city IT backbone.

Open311 is also a rapidly growing, collaborative, open source project — contributions to the current specification have come from many cities and companies, and cities across the US and internationally are currently working to implement the standard (including Baltimore, which just announced its Open311 support this week).

So far, much of the work on Open311 has been invisible — a lot of focus has gone into the technical development of the API (which is now at version 2). This technical foundation is of course critical, but it’s a means to end — Open311 will become increasingly useful and effective as applications are built on top of it.

This week, our friends at Code for America gave a sneak peek at one application they’re building on Open311: the Open311 Dashboard.  The Dashboard is an analytics tool that reads Open311 data, and will work in any jurisdiction that implements the standard.  Here are a few screenshots to give an idea of what it can do:

Even as an early prototype, this really starts to get at the inherent power of the Open311 platform, and it’s certainly a testament to the awesomeness of the community that’s growing around Open311.

For the technically-minded, the Open311 Dashboard uses GeoDjango and Polymaps, among other open source tools, and is available on github.  For more on Open311 development, check out the developer resources page.

Kudos to Michael Evans, Chris Barna and the rest of the Code for America team for their work on this project!


About Nick Grossman

Nick Grossman is the Executive Director of Civic Commons. Follow him @nickgrossman and on his blog.
  • Nick Grossman

    Alex Howard rightly notes on twitter this Wired article which does a sweet open311 visualization (and also features our own Philip Ashlock)

  • Ari Herzog

    Can you share (if known) any statistics on user demography? Would I be assuming too much that the majority of people participating are under age 40?

  • Nick Grossman

    Hey Ari–

    Demography of which tool? The Code for America dashboard is still in development and hasn’t launched yet. Online 311 systems (including open311) are in use all across the country, and I don’t know of an easy way to get demographics across them all. FWIW, online 311 systems can/should integrate with phone-based issue reporting / Q&A systems.


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