Stories indexed with the term ‘government data’

Column: Chartering a Course Through Data

At the Ann Arbor city council’s Feb. 16 budget committee meeting, committee members were introduced to the city’s new data catalog. Even though it is only February, I think this will be the most significant project undertaken by the city in all of 2010.

Ann Arbor police service calls for Jan. 3, 2010. This map was built by The Chronicle in about 15 minutes using data from the city's online catalog. (Image links to fully interactive map hosted at

At the same meeting, the budget committee also continued its discussion about the content of the monthly financial reports that the city charter requires the city administrator to provide to the council.

What ties these issues together is the idea that there’s information the city will be routinely pushing out, without anyone needing to make a special request for it.

In the case of the data catalog, it appears at first glance that the project is a kind of bonus for the citizens of Ann Arbor. That is, it could be thought of as something the city is not required by law to do, but which it’s doing anyway in the interest of transparent government.

That’s different from the monthly financial statement, which the charter explicitly requires. That issue came to the surface during the budget committee meeting, during a verbal exchange between Christopher Taylor (Ward 3) and the city’s chief financial officer, Tom Crawford. The exchange found Taylor appealing to an English word only rarely deployed as a verb: “I guess I’d stickle.” [Full Story]

Ann Arbor’s Year in Crime

The map below depicts the better part of the year in crime for Ann Arbor in 2008. The first two weeks of January and the last two weeks of December are not included. So the data presented here should not be considered complete or official. The zooming slider allows a closer examination of individual neighborhoods. Clicking on the markers causes a balloon to appear that includes the date and category of the crime. The map itself appears after the jump. [Full Story]