OpenDataPhilly Usability and Feature Enhancements
OpenDataPhilly is a regional open data catalog, providing a repository for information about open data available from the City of Philadelphia, non-profit organizations, university research projects, and other publishers of open data about the region. It was originally developed by Azavea and after periods of stewardship by AxisPhilly and Temple University, it has been maintained by Azavea, and since Azavea’s acquisition in February 2023, by Element 84.
While most open data catalogs are maintained by a single government entity, we believe that a diverse array of open data is more useful to the community than many repositories with discrete collections. We seek to maintain the regional character of OpenDataPhilly while growing the community of users and contributors to the catalog.
In order to reduce costs, simplify infrastructure, and improve security, OpenDataPhilly was recently migrated from CKAN to JKAN by Azavea and Element 84, moving it from a database-driven application to a static web site. This was successful, but the functionality and visual design have regressed from the previous version, and we seek support to improve these aspects of the project.
Azavea and Element 84 have provided support for OpenDataPhilly on a pro bono basis for more than a decade, but the acquisition of Azavea has highlighted the dependency on a single organization’s goodwill to sustain the project. In the long run, we seek to grow the community of contributors to the project in order to improve resilience and sustainability of the effort.
Our top goals include: 1. Visual Design - The new web site is not an attractive design and the home page could be significantly more visually appealing. Further, the interior pages should also be re-themed to match the home page. This work could reflect the original design of the CKAN OpenDataPhilly web site or could be a departure. 2. Search - Improve search by adding direct search access to the home page and by providing additional filters (particularly by organization and theme) to the interior search page 3. Data interoperability - the data.json page that is available for harvest by the federal data.gov project is not compliant with the current data.json specification. In addition, we would like to be able to harvest data catalog entries from DVRPC’s open data catalog’s data.json file.