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2. ChattaData HowTo - Explore The Site
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Exploring the ChattaData Open Data Portal

The ChattaData website has a number of publicly available datasets that can be viewed and downloaded without a login but in order to create your own views and visualizations, you’ll need an account. To sign up, follow this guide on How To Sign Up 

Here are few key terms that will be useful while following this How To guide:

Assets - This is the overall term for every type of ‘thing’ that is hosted on the Open Data Portal. Assets included datasets, views, charts, files, maps, etc. When you create a new visualization, or filtered view, they are referred to throughout the site as ‘assets’.

Visualization - Visualizations are a catch-all term that explain different ways of turning data into interesting and presentable graphics. Some of our data contains locations and addresses, those can be used to make maps. Others contain dollar amounts for spending categories, those can be used to create charts or histograms showing average spending in an area over time. Visualizations are the real bread and butter of ChattaData, this is what you’ll make yourself to help make sense of the data on the portal.

Catalog - The catalog is the combination of all of the assets that you have access to. On more than one place on the portal you can click on the ‘Catalog’ button to be taken to a browsable page that shows different assets. You can filter this list to narrow down what you are browsing using the search tool or the filters on the left side of the page.

Socrata - Socrata is the name of the engine that the ChattaData portal runs on. We have a contract with the vendor, Tyler Technologies, to use their Socrata tool as our open data system. It’s worth noting who they are because they will be referenced in this guide and they offer much more expansive training on the website if you want to learn more.

Now let’s start exploring.

The Main Page

While some areas of the ChattaData Open Data Portal’s homepage are subject to change, there are 4 general areas that are worth understanding for navigating the site. Once logged in, you will see a page that looks like this:

  1. The bell icon shows if you have received any alerts. You can create your own alerts (such as notifications when a dataset is updated) by clicking on this icon, then ‘Settings’
  2. This is your Display Name you chose when you signed up. If clicked, it will take you to your profile as well as a ‘My Assets’ area that shows any views or visualizations you have created previously
  3. This section highlights recent data tools, stories and links to other areas of the site currently deemed important by the City and/or Open Data Team
  4. The links on this toolbar are somewhat self explanatory but it’s worth noting that the ‘Catalog’ will lead you to all publicly available datasets and ‘Suggest a Dataset’ will allow you to contact the City and request data. We’ll do our best to fill those requests!
  5. The all important search tool. Try keywords like ‘311’ ‘Fire’ ‘Permits’ or ‘Police’ to get started browsing the data we have available.

1. Notifications

As shown above, once you are logged in you may see a number indicator and a bell icon next to your display name on the main page. This part of the website will show you alerts for notifications that you have setup on the portal. There are none by default so each user must set up their own alerts.

Click the Bell icon and you will see a page that looks like this

Once you set up alerts, they will be displayed on this page.

Click on the ‘Settings’ button on the bottom right to see the selection of notifications you can create.

To set up notifications, use this screen to determine what you want to receive and how you want to receive them. For more details on Notifications, check out Socrata’s explanation of the Notification area here.

2. User Profile and My Assets

On the top right of the page, on the purple toolbar, you will see your Display Name. Clicking your name will bring up the option to view ‘My Profile’

There’s a lot of information and functionality on this page so you’ll want to explore on your own but here’s a quick overview of what you are looking at.

  1. This is your account profile information and avatar image if you have uploaded one. Feel free to upload a picture of yourself, your pet or your favorite place to personalize your profile.
  2. The ‘Edit Profile’ button leads to a page that will allow you to make changes to your user account details..
  3. The Socrata help section allows you to access various training, tutorial and help resources. These are external links from our vendor and provide a lot of information that is useful but they are not managed by the Open Data department.
  1. If you need our help, contact us at 
  1. This section is the easiest way to keep track of assets you have created. This portion of the page will show any Views, Charts, Maps, Graphs, etc. that you have created.
  1. The search bar is there because you may create many of your own assets and will need to find them later
  2. The Filter on the right side is another way to find a particular flavor of asset as opposed to using a keyword search

Edit Profile

If you click on the ‘Edit Profile’ button on the previous page, you will see a page like this:

The main usage of this page will be to upload an image to your profile, adjust your profile details and Display Name or update your password (under Account Settings option on the left).

For power users and developers, however, the ‘Developer Settings’ option on the left leads to a page that allows you to create API Keys and Tokens that can be used to access the Open Data API. If you are one of these user types and would like to access our data programmatically, here are some links for how to get started:

The Developer Page at Socrata is here

API Documentation can be found here

Details on API Keys can be found here and here

Each dataset also has a link to its specific API usage in the top right of the page as well

3. Data Highlights

This section changes over time based on recent activity at the City but some of the ‘cards’ on this page are static. For example

The remaining cards will change (though infrequently) based on recent occurrences in the City or when new data is added to the site.

4. Toolbar Navigation

The toolbar has links that lead to different areas within Chattadata

Apart from the Search bar covered in the next section, the items on the toolbar are what we expect our users to use most often. If you can think of others to add, send us feedback on the About page!

5. Search

The search tool is the most used functionality on the ChattaData Open Data Portal. The reason is, users (including us) don’t always know exactly what they are looking for and there’s too much data available to browse the entire catalog.

Instead explaining what a search bar is and what it does (it’s like Google, but for ChattaData) here are a few tips to help you find the data you are looking for.

There’s a quick rundown of the search tool on ChattaData. Don’t worry if you still have questions, there’s a more in depth How To guide explaining the Catalog and Search Results that you can find here

Hopefully this has helped demystify the ChattaData Open Data Portal main page. Please look through our other How To guides for more information about how to use the site.