What is Open Data?
Open data is machine-readable data (e.g. in a format that can be easily consumed and summarized by a variety of applications) that is free of charge and anyone is free to use, reuse, and redistribute it. Many cities and counties across the world provide open data to increase government transparency, accountability, and access to government programs and information.
City of Boulder’s open data is available online, in an open format, with no logins or fees required for use The City’s open data team and data stewards are responsible for publishing and maintaining these datasets, per the 2017 Open Data Policy.
How to Navigate and Search the Open Data Site
Browse by Popular Topic
All datasets are assigned a category (e.g., arts and culture or government operations). On the open data catalog homepage, scroll down to the middle of the page and click on any popular topic category to browse datasets related to that topic.
Browse by Sustainability and Resilience Framework Category
All datasets are assigned a Sustainability and Resilience Framework category. On the open data catalog homepage, scroll down to the middle of the page and click on any of these categories to browse datasets related to that strategic framework area.
Browse by Department
Every dataset published on the open data catalog is sponsored or owned by one or more City of Boulder department(s). A list of datasets classified by department can be found at the bottom of the open data catalog homepage. Note that all city departments are listed here, but a given department may not have any datasets published yet.
Search by Keyword
The open data catalog homepage and all internal open data pages have a keyword search box.
Note that this keyword search is specific to open data pages and published datasets; it does NOT search the entire City of Boulder website and does NOT search within actual data files.
For example, if you search for ‘homeless’ you will be directed to datasets that have the word ‘homeless’ in the dataset title, description, and/or other tags. The search results will not include datasets that may only have the word ‘homeless’ within the actual data file.
The City of Boulder grants you a world-wide, royalty-free, non-exclusive license to use, modify, and distribute the datasets in all current and future media and formats for any lawful purpose. The City of Boulder Open Data Catalog provides open data licensed under the Creative Commons CC Zero license (CC0 1.0). The full legal code explains your rights and responsibilities.
You are free to copy, distribute, transmit and adapt the data without attribution as long as you clearly indicate the license terms of this work (CC0 1.0). When using or citing the datasets provided herein, you should not imply endorsement by the City of Boulder.
The City of Boulder has provided the data as a public service and offers no guarantees or warranties, expressed or implied, as to the accuracy and/or completeness of the information contained herein. The City of Boulder makes no warranties about the datasets and disclaims liability for all uses of the datasets, to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law.
How to Request or Suggest Data
How to Request Data or Information via CORA / public records request
The Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) requires that most public records be accessible to the public. Anyone can request information that the office possesses, and this can include raw or summary data on a City of Boulder program or activity. The open data program is not involved in CORA or public records requests. Visit Central Records for more information on the CORA request process.
How to Suggest a Dataset
The City of Boulder open data team is always adding new datasets and would love suggestions from the public for new topics and data. You can fill out our online form to suggest a dataset.
Please note that suggesting a dataset does NOT necessarily mean that city staff will be able to provide and post the data on our open data catalog. It does help us demonstrate public interest and demand to city departments and assists with our prioritization for data publishing pipelines. If you have a specific data request or urgent timeline, submitting a CORA/ public records request is the more appropriate course of action.
Partnering on a Data Project
The City of Boulder regularly partners with other public, private, and academic or research organizations for specific data analysis projects. The City’s Open Data Program and Innovation and Technology Department, can help facilitate these requests with interested city departments. Contact the open data team and provide more information about your proposed partnership or project.
Share Work Products using Boulder Open Data
We love to hear about how Boulder Open Data is used by the public! Please contact the open data team to share any analyses, visualizations, reports, or other work products that use our data. At a minimum we would like to share it with the relevant department(s) and data owner(s), and we may feature a link and summary on our Showcase page.
How to Find Data for Other Geographic Areas
Boulder County Open Data
Visit Boulder County Open Data for county-wide information, which may contain city-level information for Boulder specifically.
Collaborate with the City of Boulder’s Open Data Resources
The City of Boulder’s open data team are happy to learn from and share resources and templates with other governments. For other resources and templates such as data inventories and prioritization, contact the open data team for more information.
How to Get Involved in the Boulder Civic Data Community
Art of Data
Boulder, Colorado is well-known for its innovative community. There are several local groups with a civic data focus and the open data program partners with many of them for data-oriented community engagement activities.
The City of Boulder open data program and the Boulder Public Library co-sponsor a bi-annual Art of Data exhibition, which first ran from December 2018 through February 2019. Community members are encouraged to use local data as inspiration for their artwork.
Code for Boulder
Code for Boulder is the Boulder brigade of the national Code for America organization. Code for Boulder is a volunteer-driven organization that partners with local non-profits and governments such as the City of Boulder in order to improve city and community services. Members have partnered with the City of Boulder Open Data Program on specific analysis projects and are co-hosts of the bi-annual Art of Data exhibition at the Boulder Public Library’s Canyon Gallery. Meetings are open to the public and are posted on their Meetup page . Contact their organization if you have a new idea or want to help with existing projects.
Analyze Boulder is a community of people interested in all things data. They host monthly data- and idea-inspired talks in Boulder that are always free and open to the public. Meetings include time for networking and sharing job and project opportunities with others. Sign up on their Meetup page to be notified of future talks and topics.
Data for Democracy
The Boulder chapter of Data for Democracy communicates primarily via a channel on Slack and through occasional in-person meetings. Similar to Code for Boulder, Data for Democracy is volunteer-driven and works on data projects related to the Boulder community. Contact their organization for data analysis ideas or to help with existing projects.
University of Colorado
The City of Boulder partners with a variety of civic innovation and data-oriented groups within the CU system, including the data services branch of the University Libraries and individual professors who want to use open data as part of a class project or lecture. Contact the open data team if you want to get connected in this area.