How Seattle Built an Economy of Service

In 2010, Seattle launched under the leadership of Chief Technology Officer, Bill Schrier, one of GovTech’s 25 “Doers, Dreamers, and Drivers”  (2008) and a Computerworld Premier 100 Leader (2010). The website increased public access to high value, machine-readable datasets generated by various departments of Seattle’s City Government. A growing number of businesses and government agencies now use the website to create everyday products and services like the bike rack locator VeloRacks and the construction comparison tool screenshots

“Very early on, we understood the power of APIs to simplify access to data for web and mobile applications developers. Certainly offers a simple, easy, interactive online experience for Seattle’s residents and others, but where we really want to push the envelope is in API enabling our data. In fact by making our city data easily available via APIs, we widen potential access for residents and businesses and make it possible for them reuse our services in unprecedented ways.

We’re just at the beginning of a government transformation enabled by Open Data as a platform. With new, constrained, government budgets, we’re able to leverage a large community of people outside government to make government and the information it collects more accessible to everyone. ”

Bill Schrier, Seattle’s Chief Technology Officer

Featured Dataset


Live Since
February 25, 2010



Let There Be Light: Code for Seattle Civic Hack Night
by Athlan Lathan, Socrata, January 10, 2014

Open Data a Boon for Entrepreneurs
by Angus Loten, Wall Street Journal, January 8, 2014

Congress of Cities and Expo Unites City Leaders
by Patrick Hasseries, Socrata, November 13, 2013

A Million Stories in the [redacted] City: How Seattle Handles Open Crime Data
by Nick Judd, Tech President, February 9, 2011

Civic Developers Gather to Code for America at Data Camps
by Alex Howard, GovFresh, February 19, 2011

TechFlash: Q&A with Seattle’s Chief Geek Bill Schrier
by Alyssa Kleven,, March 28, 2011

Seattle Announces Open Data Web Site
by Andy Opsahl, SOURCE, Government Technology, March 1, 2010


Since 2009, the Seattle Department of Information Technology has published 101 public datasets in machine-readable formats from the location of bicycle racks to real time 911 fire calls. That’s a number that most cities don’t come close to reaching.