A Guide to Local Cleveland Open Data by Will Skora

22 September 2017

A Guide to Local Cleveland Open Data

What is open civic data? Open Civic Data (generally just referred as Open Data) is quantative data about a municipality’s functions, qualities, services, its people, and physical infrastructure. The Sunlight Foundation and Open Knowledge International’s Open Data Handbook are two sources that explain more.

If you want to do anything useful with the data, the data has to be “open”: able to be obtained freely and in bulk (no saving a file six hundred times) , “machine-readable” - in a file format that is friendly to work with and whose content can be deciphered by computer programs easily and to be legally able to use and share with minimal or no restrictions.

When we want data about our city, where do we start? First, ASK the agency that you think would have the data (Advice on that in a later post).

The US Census is a comprehensive source of data about our city specifically on our population and demographics.

Some cities across the USA have dedicated websites (data portals). Cleveland doesn’t have one yet. In this absence, different entities have aggregated or collected this data or perhaps the govt agency that produces or acts as a steward for this data may publish it themselves.



  • collection of spatial boundaries that Will Skora from Open Cleveland manually georeferenced or individually obtained; City of Cleveland’s police districts, wards, landmark districts, neighborhood boundaries.


  • downtown Cleveland car parking available to the public; Will Skora from Open Cleveland and the OpenStreetMap community create and maintain it. It does not include curbside parking.

Cuyahoga County Open Data


  • Cuyahoga County geospatial data (roads, railroads, addresses, parcels; natural resources like streams)



  • Demographics, crime, property data, census for cuyahoga county; also property transactions; the most comprehensive source of civic data in Cleveland/Cuyahoga County
  • Requires registration




  • Bus and subway routes and locations of stops; in GTFS format;

Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA)


  • Data on Transportation, Freight on highways, Bicycle Infrastructure, and Urban Planning
  • Data Accessible by clicking on pie-chart icon on right side of screen


Cuyahoga County Board of Elections


  • Campaign finance reports available in PDF format


Healthy NEO


  • Health data for Cleveland and Cuyahoga county


For all of Ohio:

Ohio Geographically Referenced Information Program (OGRIP)


  • State-wide geographic data (roads, railroads, addresses, parcels)
  • May not be the most up to date, search the particular county’s GIS website for an updated data set.


National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)


  • Weather, climate, satellites, fisheries, coasts, and oceans

Former National Climatic Data Center (NCDC)


  • Climate and historical weather data and information
  • Now affiliated with NOAA


Still unsure where it is or can’t find it?

  • Ask us by opencleveland@gmail.com or on twitter @opencleveland and we'll try put you in touch with who has it.
  • ask your local librarian at your local public library. :)

We’ll try to keep this up to date and encourage you to share by email (opencleveland@gmail.com)

Next step: How to ask for the data if it’s not publicly available.