Virginia Beach launches online open data portal

(Photo: Virginia Beach City Manager's Office)
(Photo: Virginia Beach City Manager's Office)

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The City of Virginia Beach on Monday launched an online open data portal, where residents can access information from the city’s datasets.

The city is developing an inventory of all its data resources and has opened a public online portal with the first 14 datasets, which are available for searching and downloading.

The new website includes these datasets:

  • Employee salaries
  • Restaurant inspection results
  • Code enforcement inspections
  • New business licenses
  • Police calls for service
  • Police incidents
  • Freedom of Information Act requests
  • Park property Inventory
  • Open space properties
  • EMS calls for service
  • Citizen Satisfaction Survey results
  • Agricultural Reserve Program properties
  • Workers Compensation claims
  • Emergency communications system interruptions

More datasets will be added.

The goal is to give citizens and employees access to as much information as possible. The city manager’s office says this portal is the first of its kind in Hampton Roads.

The project is part of the national “What Works Cities” initiative, which was started by Bloomberg Philanthropies in April 2015. What Works Cities announced 16 new participating cities on Monday, including Virginia Beach. The city was chosen and will join another 54 other cities throughout the country.

The effort began in February under City Manager Dave Hansen. Leaders from more than a dozen departments came together to determine to best way to open up the city’s information vaults. Since then, each city department has been looking through its computers for datasets to release. A governing board is laying down ground rules and making sure the datasets are accurate.

The second part of the What Works Cities project in Virginia Beach calls for city leaders from different departments to analyze data to improve city services. To support the effort, Hansen appointed Catheryn Whitesell, the city’s longtime budget director, to lead the new Strategy, Transparency, Innovation and Resiliency (STIR) Office.