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A decade of open data, test your knowledge of Seattle data

On average, how many 911 calls were placed per day in Seattle in 2019? What was the most popular name of dogs licensed? Which direction do most bikes travel on the Fremont Bridge? You don’t have to look far to find the answers.

Since the launch of the City of Seattle’s open data program in 2010, the open data portal has served as a wealth of information, giving residents insight into how the City is operating and empowering them with a rich source of information spanning more than 500 datasets, each ranging in size from a few dozen spreadsheet rows to several million rows.

For the 10th annual International Open Data Day on March 7, our open data team is marking the occasion with a fun data quiz. You can make educated guesses or dive into some of the City’s most popular datasets for answers.

In 2016, an executive order created an official open data policy directing City departments to make their data accessible to the public after screening for privacy, security, and quality considerations. The move set in motion a long-term cultural shift making Seattle a leader in open data and a model of transparency and accountability.

For instance, Seattle was the first in the nation to publish 911 dispatch data in near real time.

Some datasets have a unique origin. The Seattle Public Library’s dataset “checkouts by title” captures every check out dating back to 2005. The source is an electronic installation and public artwork at the Central Library that has tracked more than 100 million records of checkouts to date. The most popular titles? Children’s books finished in the top three: “Are You Ready to Play Outside?” by Mo Willems (10,007 checkouts), Dr. Seuss classic “Green Eggs and Ham” (9,959 checkouts) and “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle (9,942 checkouts).

Seattle Animal Shelter data reveals the City’s reigning top dog is a Labrador Retriever. It’s top toy breed coming in at number three is a Chihuahua, exceeding the national ranking by 30 spots!

Open data is more than just a window into interesting city information and operations, it’s a valuable tool that over time can tell a story that has the potential to impact and influence public policy. The open data portal includes data across a wide range of topic areas, including traffic flow, public safety and city permitting.

The open data program makes the data generated by the City openly available to the public for the purpose of increasing the quality of life for our residents; increasing transparency, accountability and comparability; promoting economic development and research; and improving internal performance management. Open data also powers tools hosted on the City’s website such as Open BudgetPerformance Seattle, and the Seattle Department of Transportation’s Capital Projects Explorer