Getting Started on our Open Data Platform

Top Tips for Getting Started

With so many features, the Socrata platform can be overwhelming. However, each individual feature is relatively straightforward to start using. Here, we provide quick information to accomplish some common tasks. At the bottom, we provide links to more detailed documentation and step-by-step videos.
(1) Easily Find What You Need with our Data Catalog
At the top left of the page is a link to our Data Catalog. An image of the page is shown below. The catalog is a great "home base" for navigating the site. It is simply a list of all of our content on Socrata, including datasets, visualizations, stories, etc. You can click the categories, types, or tags on the left side of the screen to filter the list down to what you want. You can do the same thing, but with your own terms, in the search bar at the top.
(2) View Our Stories
Stories are a great way to see and interact with up-to-date data and understand context and trends using visualizations that we have created.
Stories are a way we can explain or analyze an issue through a combination of text and dynamic visuals. Below is a link to an example story. You can find all of our stories in the catalog. Click on "Stories" under "View Types."
(3) Previewing and Downloading Data
Once you click a dataset within the catalog, you will be taken to its "Primer" page, which contains all its metadata, a fancy word for "information about the data." Metadata describes the data; it provides an understanding of what the data is and how to use it. To download the data, at the top of the Primer page, click the "View Data" button. From there, you will see an "Export" button at the top right that will open a tab with many download options.
(4) Create Your Own Visualizations and Datasets
One of the more powerful features within Socrata is the ease with which anyone can start creating their own visualizations from the datasets. If you save your view to your own account, your unique view into the dataset will update automatically as we update the original data. Click here to view a collection of videos designed to teach you the basics of interacting with datasets, visualizations and more.
Links to How-To Videos and Helpful Articles
The Socrata platform is a powerful tool with many features that are beyond the scope of this article. To view a more detailed collection of how-to videos, see this page. However, we encourage you to just explore the site and what it can do. Most of the features and controls are intuitive and can be learned with just a bit of exploration. If you're stuck, please do not hesitate to contact us with questions. For the full Socrata help documentation, see this Socrata Support page. For developers looking to use the more advanced Socrata features for easy analytics or to build web or phone apps, see Socrata's developer documentation here.