By GCN Staff

Blog archive
Screen shot of Palo Alto Land Use Designation Google Fusion Map

Palo Alto harnesses Google Fusion for Open GIS datasets

In an effort to keep up with its Silicon Valley constituents, the city of Palo Alto, Calif., has released a set of open geospatial datasets, available for making maps and apps ranging from planning to public safety.

The city's Open GIS datasets are the first of hundreds of data layers the city plans to make available, which entail millions of point and line features marking the city's spatial footprint as well as information on ownership, census tract and size.

The datasets are being made available via Google Fusion Tables, a cloud-based service that integrates datasets and visualizes them via pie and bar charts, scatterplots and timelines. Developers can also use Fusion application programming interfaces to extend the uses of the databases.

The city initially will make available datasets related to location, road centerlines, land use, tree data, public projects and trench plates and add more data in the coming weeks.
Palo Alto chief information officer Jonathan Reichental said the OpenGIS project represented a "stepping up to our responsibility as the heart of Silicon Valley" and being a model for innovative government.

"Experimenting with the power of Google Fusion Tables provides us with a free platform to try new ways to extend the data back to those it belongs: our community," he said.

The GIS data sets will be added to the city's existing repository of open datasets that are available for public use, including OpenBudget, an interactive database of its fiscal 2012-2013 municipal budget and comprehensive financial reports from 2009 onward.

Using the service, visitors can see financial budget timelines covering city salaries and benefits, contract services, facilities and equipment purchase and other municipal accounts.

Palo Alto's open data projects represent a movement by cities across the country to develop applications to mine public datasets as well as to combine and share datasets.

Data.gov, the federal open data repository, has created a shared data portal featuring datasets from the so-called G7, seven big cities that are collaborating on common IT and program challenges. The G7 cities are Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Seattle.

Posted by Paul McCloskey on Apr 24, 2013 at 9:39 AM


  • Defense
    Ryan D. McCarthy being sworn in as Army Secretary Oct. 10, 2019. (Photo credit: Sgt. Dana Clarke/U.S. Army)

    Army wants to spend nearly $1B on cloud, data by 2025

    Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said lack of funding or a potential delay in the JEDI cloud bid "strikes to the heart of our concern."

  • Congress
    Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) at the Hack the Capitol conference Sept. 20, 2018

    Jim Langevin's view from the Hill

    As chairman of of the Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committe and a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rhode Island Democrat Jim Langevin is one of the most influential voices on cybersecurity in Congress.

Stay Connected

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.