What is Socrata?

History

Socrata was originally known as Blist, and was founded in 2007. The primary goal is to allow non-experienced, or non-technical, users to access and analyze government data (also, healthcare, energy, education, environment, etc...)
Socrata is based in Seattle Washington.
UDOT's site can be accessed at:

General Information

Socrata is a web-based data repository with built in visualization functions. Users can import data into Socrata and other users can then see and use this data for their own purposes. Socrata allows organizations the ability to perform many tasks that were once quite difficult:
  • Data is made available to public and stakeholders
  • Measures can be designed to capture the performance of the organization (data-driven decision-making)
  • Allows organizations to be more transparent (regulatory agencies, public, legislators, business leaders, etc...)
  • Enhances the abilities of public service organizations to respond to the needs of the public
Users will primarily engage in three a few different Socrata functions:
  • Importing data
  • Creating visualizations
  • Creating data lens
  • Creating a story

Data

Socrata allows the user to perform a variety of data visualizations and manipulations. Some basic transformations are allowed with the data, however, most data cleansing and manipulations should be done before importing to Socrata, especially if the data manipulations/transformations are complex. Some procedures can be automated, but this requires extra effort. Socrata in its basic native form can be used extensively without the need of using other tools.
The user must be very knowledgeable about the data to ensure that the reporting is accurate and not misleading.

Importing Data

Importing data is pretty straightforward and simple. Once the data is imported into Socrata, it can be changed and modified according to the user's needs. New columns can be added, data can be replaced or appended, and privacy settings can be adjusted.

Visualizations

One of Socrata's biggest strengths is the capability to create visualizations. There are many to choose from, so most data types can be represented. Once the type of visualization is chosen, there are many different options for how the information is displayed.

Data Lens

Data lens offer a quick and easy way to summarize and explore datasets. They use what Socrata call cards, each containing their own visualization. The powerful aspect of data lens is the ability to filter on one card and have the results filter down to all of the other cards present in the data. If a user wants to compare a certain county with others, the data lens can be filtered to show the target county and how it compares to all of the others. The example below illustrates vehicle collisions in the Summer of 2016.

Socrata Stories

Socrata has enabled the use of stories. Stories are a way in which a user can summarize their data in a presentation form. Stories can use, images, videos, hyperlinks, as well as any output generated from Socrata (graphs, data lens, links to the data, etc...)