With Burgh’s Eye View, city residents now have an in-depth way to see what’s going on in their neighborhoods.

Yesterday, Mayor Bill Peduto announced the launch of Burgh’s Eye View, a mobile app that delivers open city data to the public. In a statement, Peduto said the online tool provides “transparency directly to the citizens of Pittsburgh, and more importantly transforms the experience of open government—by making it truly accessible to everyone.”

Built by the Department of Innovation and Performance’s Analytics and Strategy team, Burgh’s Eye View serves as a “one-stop-shop” for details on everything from pothole locations to building permits. The easy-to-use app allows users to type in an address or zip code to pull up maps showing public records and reported activity in certain areas. They can also narrow searches by using drop-down menus listing specific details.

The Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center will update the app daily with data provided by the City.

“Most of this information was already public and available,” says Chief Innovation and Performance Officer Debra Lam. “What we’ve done is integrate the information and put it on a spatial platform.”

Lam says the app falls in line with the goals of the Pittsburgh Roadmap for Inclusive Innovation. Launched last year, the strategic plan sets out to support equitable access to technology, City resources, and data.

Burgh’s Eye View also comes on the heels of last month’s White House Frontiers Conference, where the issue of using tech to promote inclusion dominated numerous panels and talks. During the event, the City of Pittsburgh announced that they would join forces with the federal government’s Police Data Initiative, which “supports efforts of local law enforcement to build trust with the communities they serve by using data to increase transparency and accountability.” The app holds true to that vow by providing access to public safety information, including incidents of crime, arrests and non-traffic citations.

To protect residents’ privacy, certain types of public safety data, such as the locations of arrests, are generalized to a block or neighborhood level.

The app also gives insight to 311 requests, city assets such as recycling locations, and information on buildings and businesses, including permits and code violations. Over time, the City will increase the amount and variety of data Burgh’s Eye View publishes.

The Analytics and Strategy team also plans to open source the code used to build Burgh’s Eye View so that other cities can create similar apps for their residents.

“The whole idea is that we want to share our experience and practice with everyone,” says Lam. “We’re really proud of the fact that this was built in-house by our own team, because what that means is we’re building capacity and expertise within the City of Pittsburgh.”

About The Author

Business + Tech editor

Amanda Waltz is a freelance journalist and film critic whose work has appeared locally in numerous publications. She writes for The Film Stage and is the founder and editor of Steel Cinema, a blog dedicated to covering Pittsburgh film culture. She currently lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and oversized house cat.

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