OpenDataVote – a cooperative effort between Azavea, TechImpact, Media, Code for Philly, the City of Philadelphia and others – gives social service and advocacy groups a platform to nominate and vote for what they see as the most important datasets that City government should share publicly. As a partner in the OpenDataVote contest, the City’s Office of Open Data and Digital Transformation (ODDT) will use the public’s nominations and votes as guideposts in prioritizing what datasets to pursue for future release.

Nomination and Voting Timeline

Launch: Friday, 03/03/17 Azavea launches the website and contest and begins accepting dataset nominations online.
Nominations Close: Friday, 03/31/17 The website stops accepting nominations.
Voting Begins: Monday, 04/10/17 The website now allows the public to vote on the dataset they’d most like to see released.
Voting Ends: Thursday, 05/04/17 The website stops accepting votes.  
Winners Announced: Friday, 05/05/17 Azavea announces the top 3 winners, who will each receive a small cash prize.


Get out the Vote – on Open Data!

ODDT encourages area nonprofits to nominate and vote for datasets to help the City understand what data this sector of the public would find useful in achieving their social missions. Through the website, nonprofits can submit dataset nominations, and later the public will be able to vote for which datasets should win. Three nonprofits whose datasets receive the most votes will receive a small cash prize from event sponsors.

OpenDataVote is organized into three phases:

  • Nomination: Nonprofit organizations nominate one or more existing datasets that would be useful to the organization, but aren’t currently available to the public.
  • Voting: The general public votes for either their favorite organization or the dataset they want to see released.
  • Data Release: Nonprofits will be awarded prize money from OpenDataVote Sponsors if their data nomination wins. OpenDataVote Partners will work with government representatives to publish the datasets that receive the most votes from the public.

Organizations based in Philadelphia or regional organizations with service area that significantly overlaps with Philadelphia have until Friday, March 31, 12:00PM to nominate datasets they need to strengthen their programs and improve their services.

Azavea, a local geospatial software company, is running the OpenDataVote contest in collaboration with Media, TechImpact, Code for Philly and the City of Philadelphia. Back in 2011, as a way to promote the website, Azavea worked with TechImpact and Media to organize the same contest by another name – the ‘OpenDataRace,’ – and, since then, nearly all the nominated datasets have been released by City government.  

This collaboration between private businesses, non-profit organizations, and City Government demonstrates momentum, broad support, and long-term sustainability for open data policies.

“We believe that communities of knowledge, culture, and innovation are improved when outcomes are shared, enabling others to more effectively build on past work. Raw data is not meaningful on its own. With initiatives like OpenDataPhilly and OpenDataVote, we want to encourage the technology community in Philadelphia to transform rows of text, numbers, and shapes into applications and visualizations that inform the public about our region’s well-being, inspire action, and contribute to a more dynamic community,” said Tim Wisniewski, Chief Data Officer for the City of Philadelphia and director of ODDT.

You can see the list of datasets that the City of Philadelphia has currently released on If you’re looking for ideas of datasets you’d like to nominate, check out a partial inventory of datasets housed in nine City departments that could be pursued for public release. Please don’t limit yourself to this list, however –  there are many more datasets beyond what’s been catalogued in the inventory to date.

While the cash prizes are limited to the nonprofits that receive the most votes, ODDT will use the entire pool of nominated datasets as guidance for what data to pursue going forward. So once you’ve nominated a dataset, be sure to spread the word to people you know in other nonprofits!


Keep in Touch

There’s lots of ways to get involved. For information about City datasets and others, go to Visit this resources page for video tutorials and links to tools to help analyze data. Follow @PHLInnovation on Twitter to get alerts on future data releases, share how you plan to use open data with, and join us on the public open data google forum.