Open Data Portals in NC

Open Data Portals in NC

Cary, NC – The open data movement is gaining traction in North Carolina. This month both the Durham City/County portal and the Wake County portal have come on line. Here is a summary of the open data portals currently in operation in North Carolina.

Asheville was the first city in North Carolina with an open data portal. The portal was developed in 2012 in support of Asheville’s first Open Data Day. The Asheville portal is powered by Azavea, a B-Corporation out of Philadelphia that specializes in the creation of geographic web and mobile software.

Cary put up an open data site in support of Cary Open Data Day in 2013. This site consisted of 6 datasets in .csv format and was kept updated for some time following the event. The site is no longer active but we understand that Cary is undertaking an open data program soon so we will wait to see what portal Cary uses.


Charlotte launched their open data portal in late 2014 in conjunction with their Code for America Fellowship program. The Charlotte portal is powered by ESRI, a US company providing geospacial mapping tools.

Durham City and Durham County
Durham City and Durham County released their open data portal in time for Triangle Open Data Day 2015. The Durham portal is powered by OpenDataSoft, a French company providing open data portals.

Raleigh launched their open data portal early 2013 which has been recognized with a 2013 Web 2.0 Award from the Public Technology Institute (PTI). The Raleigh open data portal is powered by Socrata, a US company that provides open data portals.

Wake County
Wake County has just released a Beta open data portal and is looking for public feedback. The Wake County portal is powered by ESRI, a US company providing geospacial mapping tools.

Open NC is a catalog of digital public data created by state and local governments in North Carolina. It was created by Ryan Thornburg, an Associate Professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with funding from a Knight Foundation News Challenge grant.

NC Datapalooza
NC Datapalooza is a 6 month long open data competition in NC with 2015 being the third year of this program. The NC Datapalooza open data portal is powered by Socrata, a US company that provides open data portals.

Open Data Portal Location Visualizations

We wanted to give our readers some idea of the power of embedding visualizations into their stories. First we created a simple .csv file that included the pertinent data about the open data portals in NC. We used the geocordinates from GeoHack. Since the writer has access to a Socrata and OpenDataSoft portal, the csv file was uploaded to the portals and the resulting visualizations were embedded in this post.

Changes to the underlying data set in the portal will be immediately available to the visualizations on your post. This means that your visualization will always be current and there will be no need to republish based on updated information. Of course if you want a snapshot in time you can always embed a screen shot of the visualization.



Previous Articles on Open Data

Disclosure: The writer is an organizer of NC Datapalooza (which has a full Socrata portal) and a Brigade Captain of Code for Cary (which has a full OpenDataSoft Portal as well as a brigade level Socrata portal)

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Code for America in NC 2015

Research Triangle, NC – 2014 was a very busy year in NC for the Code for America Brigades. In 2015, NC will continue to have a large percentage of the Code for America activities in the US.

NC Cities with Code for America Brigades 

Check out the brigade websites to see all of the cool projects that are being worked on. The best thing is that the projects are all open source and open data so they can be reused in other cities or expanded to regional efforts.

In the Triangle, the brigades take turns hosting big hack events including Triangle Open Data Day, CityCamp NC and Hack Duke while also supporting many other events during the year.

What is Code for America?

Code for America is a 501(c)3 non-profit that envisions a government by the people, for the people, that works in the 21st century.

Our programs change how we participate in government by:

  • connecting citizens and governments to design better services,
  • encouraging low-risk settings for innovation; and,
  • supporting a competitive civic tech marketplace.

What is a Code for America Brigade?

The Brigade network is an ongoing effort to deploy, maintain and sustain civic technology and open data infrastructures. Each Brigade is comprised of local volunteers and government employees who connect for regular hack nights, discussions and app development.

How Do I Get Involved?

Code for America is an open group and all can join. We need a diverse voice to be effective. Please join your local Meetup Group:

If you don’t live in any of these areas, please contact Ian Henshaw, Brigade Captain for Code for Cary and Managing Partner of Tech Tank, and he will get you connected!

Previous Tech Tank Articles on Code for America

MSA Areas for NC - Technology Density

Tech Meetup Density in NC – Updated

Cary, NC – This is an update of our post of January 3, 2014 to reflect additional population centers in North Carolina. We have added the MSA’s of Asheville, Fayetteville and Wilmington.

Meetup Groups are collections of people looking to proactively learn and interact about a specific topic. The focus of Tech Meetup Groups are fairly specific about an underlying program, platform or methodology. Those attending Tech Meetup Groups are not usually the type of person who could be called “9 to 5” developers, designers, etc.

Our analysis of Tech Meetup Group Density shows a large difference between the major population centers in North Carolina. The density of Tech meetup groups could be a useful indicator about the number of people in an area that are active in Tech fields and may be useful for companies looking to locate Tech labs or Tech related facilities.

Tech Meetup Group Density

Tech Meetup Group Density in North Carolina (Meetup groups per million population)

  • Triangle – 50.1
  • Asheville – 25.6
  • Charlotte – 21.0
  • Wilmington – 19.4
  • Triad – 9.9
  • Fayetteville – 8.0


For the number of meetup groups in an area, we used the Tech Tank summaries of the Tech Meetup groups in the Triangle, Triad and Charlotte areas. We felt that there was a large difference in the number of Tech meetup groups in the 3 areas, so we looked to normalize the data and used the population of the Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA’s).

For population we went to the Wikipedia page for North Carolina Statistical Areas. The population numbers are as of July 1, 2011, as estimated by the United States Census Bureau, and the Core-based Statistical Areas are defined per the United States Office of Management and Budget. For the Triangle, we combined the MSA’s for Raleigh-Cary and Durham. For the Triad, we combined the MSA’s for Greensboro-High Point and Winston-Salem. The population data is not exhaustively collected and we used the Wikipedia summary page for convenience rather than rigor, but we feel that the numbers provide a good basis for our evaluation.

The number of Tech Meetup Groups is developed by a review of all groups on within 50 miles of a City. We selected the groups that we feel are Tech based and also included a few others that we are aware of that do not use Our experience is that Tech groups list their meetings on since this is where Techies look for interesting meetings to attend. Chapters of possibly Tech related trade organizations do not appear in the numbers.

What Do You Think?

We are interested in what you think about this analysis or if we are missing out on a number of Tech meetup groups (eg. maybe an area uses something other than Leave your comments below or contact Ian Henshaw directly.