Getting Started with Data.wa

Data.wa.gov is the State of Washington's general-purpose open data portal.  Any state employee can get an permissions to use the portal from the Office of the State CIO, for free, by following this checklist.

Look around the platform

Look around Data.wa.gov -- Browse the Data Catalog
Check out the "Tags" area in the lower left - this gives you an idea of the breadth of data available. Tags include things like "Salmon" or "Political Finance"
Sort the catalog with the menu at the right, to show Recently Updated or Most Accessed datasets to see what kinds of things people are using this platform for.

Get registered on the site

Go to https://data.wa.gov/signup and fill out the form
You'll get a new form where you can enter the rest of your contact info.
Please use your agency logo for the "image" on the account, and make sure to fill in your name and contact info so colleagues and administrators can reach you if you rn into problems.

Let your agency IT folks know

    • If your agency doesn't have data stewards or the IT group isn't set up to help with this service then just tell a couple of your colleagues
    • If you don't know who might be interested in this stuff, try your agency public records officer, your Results Washington person, the agency Research group and/or the CIO.
    • Then:  Send an email to the system administrator open-data-admin@ocio.wa.gov saying you'd like to publish some data
    • Look for a couple of automated messages within 24 hours confirming your account has become an "Editor"Log in and check for a new button on the "Hello [name]" page

Get your data ready

How to clean up and groom your dataset in Excel (or similar)
  • Try to get the whole dataset into one tab
  • Clean out all the decorative extra rows and columns that make an excel document look great, leaving just one set of column headings and no indents, asterisks, or merged cells.
  • Save the cleaned up file someplace easy to find
  • Get a colleague to review it - just to make sure you're not using any social security numbers or other category 3 or 4 data.

Upload your data

  1. Use the Create a new Dataset button on your data.wa.gov profile page and follow the wizard steps to find the file, upload and check it. Fair warning: it will take about 10 minutes to upload a file with thousands of rows.
  2. Fill in the metadata - including as much of the state metadata standard stuff as you can
  3. Once it's uploaded, adjust the column names, widths, field names etc. to suit the data, and click "Publish"
  4. Check it again to make sure you're not publishing something private
  5. Set the "Permissions" for the dataset to "Public" in the brown "Manage" tab.

Share it around

Share your data with other knowledgeable people in your field
  • You can copy the url from your browser and email it to colleagues
  • You can make charts and maps with the "Visualize" button and email the URL's for those also
  • You can "Embed" the table or the chart in your program's web page
  • Talk with the Open Data Guy at WaTech if you have questions / raves / rants

Make it public

After you have shared with colleagues, it's time to make it public for the world to see.

1, Log in with your socrata user ID and password

2. find your dataset and get into the View Data screen

3. from the "elipsis" or "..." menu, choose "Manage Viewers"

4. select "Public" and click "Save"

You did it! You're an open data publisher!