An Open Data Platform in an Open Data Aggregator

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So I just spent the last few hours tooling around on the open data aggregator site,

If you haven’t spent time on Enigma before, I’d recommend it. The site aggregates thousands of datasets from governments (local, state, national), international organizations and companies (like Crunchbase and interestingly, BP) into one slick and intuitive interface. There are a few things I would still like to see from Enigma but those petty complaints will be part of a later blog post comparing different free open data aggregators. Suffice to say, it’s hard to not be impressed by Enigma.

Today though, I was wondering what I could find in Enigma on the open data platform Socrata. Open data on open data, you know?

The answer interestingly was, not much. My search itself was easy because Enigma enables keyword search over all of its databases at once. So I could peruse any dataset that mentioned Socrata by name. First, I looked through the common company filings, IRS Form 5500 on Employee Benefit Plans, H1-B Visa Applications from the Department of Labor. Then, I found the expenditure reports from the cities and states that are Socrata’s clients and things got more intriguing.

There are three cities or states in Enigma’s datasets that have expenditure reports including how much they have paid Socrata: Austin, Missouri and Oregon. Comparing the spending data from the most recent year that they all have data on (2012), these governments are each spending around $30,000 a year on Socrata. That price seems completely reasonable for deployment or maintenance of an open data site.

What’s odd is that these three governments are a small fraction of Socrata’s customers. According to the customer spotlight on Socrata’s website, the governments of Seattle, Chicago, New Orleans, Oklahoma and San Francisco are all clients as well. This raises the question, why are so many of these open data portals missing expenditure data in Enigma? Stay tuned. I’ll be looking into this more in the next week.


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