By Data-Smart City Solutions • March 21, 2017

This guide highlights resources to help answer questions that a new Chief Data Officer or other government data leader might have about the best way to move toward a data-driven enterprise. This guide will evolve over time; please email us with questions you would like answered or resources to add to this list.

Before You Start



The University of Chicago’s Center for Data Science and Public Policy has developed a data maturity framework for both data/tech and organizational readiness to help an organization assess its readiness for a data-driven project.

Jane Wiseman’s paper, “Lessons from Leading CDOs: A Framework for Better Civic Analytics,” discusses lessons learned from pioneering CDOs. An additional resource published with the paper are profiles of seven city data offices.

Johns Hopkins’ Center for Government Excellence has published a Data Inventory Guide with guidance on how to conduct an inventory.

San Francisco’s DataSF has also released Data Inventory Guidance with detailed information about their inventory process.

Our piece, Who Are America's City Chief Data Officers includes information, as well as an interactive map of and about city CDOs.

We also have profiles of the data organizations of seven cities who are members of the Civic Analytics Network.

Laura Adler’s overview of city data planning efforts highlights leading examples and summarizes best practices for planning.
In the "Seven Steps to Creating Better Data Stories", the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership features lessons from DataSpark, a program at the University of Rhode Island, that teaches cities the data-story model. Learning best practices for the communication and visualization of data work is important for cities to who are just starting data and analytics projects. 

Opening Data


Johns Hopkins’ Center for Government Excellence has produced an Open Data Metadata Guide with helpful information about how to provide good metadata.

San Francisco’s DataSF has shared their Metadata Standard, which includes an inventory of federal, state, and local metadata standards and research on metadata best practices. 


Johns Hopkins’ Center for Government Excellence has published an Open Data Getting Started Guide to help cities start opening data. They also have an international open data standards directory.

The Sunlight Foundation has guidelines on formulating an open data policy as well as a site to browse all existing open data policies and an Open Data Policy Wizard that creates a sample policy to work from.  


The National Neighborhood Indicators Project has a guide to local data sharing, which includes sample data sharing agreements.

The Sunlight Foundation has a post on “Sharing sensitive data within government,” which includes many helpful links.

The National Association of State Chief Information Officers has a report, written for state Chief Information Officers, that provides guidelines for internal data-sharing between agencies and external sharing between states.


The City of Seattle’s Privacy Initiative, one of the most comprehensive municipal efforts in this area, has published its Privacy Policy and a presentation on the program.

In addition, the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard published an Open Data Privacy Playbook with recommendations and case studies. Finally, San Francisco’s DataSF published an Open Data Release Toolkit, which includes steps for assessing the risk and value of releasing a sensitive dataset.


The National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership has a resource guide on data governance and privacy that outlines a security plan and makes recommendations for data handling, compliance monitoring, and security breaches.

The Sunlight Foundation’s Tactical Data Engagement guide provides a framework for cities to incorporate community participation in outcome-driven open data efforts.

Living Cities’ Public Engagement Roadmap shares a toolkit, guide, and case studies from their City Accelerator program.

Johns Hopkins’ Center for Government Excellence has published a Community Engagement Playbook with advice on elevating community engagement work.

Our Civic Engagement in Focus guide includes additional helpful news, resources, and case studies.


Cambridge, MA began requiring departments to include problem statements along with every open data release, developing a Civic Innovation Challenge Inventory.

NYU’s GovLab has a Data Collaboratives project, which inventories and provides guides for public-private collaboration with data.

Code for America Brigades often work with cities' data.

The Urban Institute's National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership is a network of local data intermediaries in many U.S. cities. 


Getting Started with Analytics


Jane Wiseman’s paper, “Analytics Excellence Roadmap: A Four-Stage Maturity Model for Data-Driven Government,” presents a model for how a city can mature in its data use. Reviewing the highest-maturity stages can provide inspiration for where a city will go in its capabilities.


Jane Wiseman’s paper, “Lessons from Leading CDOs: A Framework for Better Civic Analytics,” includes discussions of different ways that data teams engage with departments.

New York City’s Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics (MODA) has also published a Process Map of the way they work with departments.


New Orleans developed an analytics typology and presentation to help engage departments in data.

Sean Thornton’s “Why Civic Analytics” is a helpful introductory explanation to use.

NYC’s Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics (MODA) published a two-page overview of their work that they share with departments.


Our Catalog of Civic Data Use Cases highlights the broad range of questions that cities might answer with data across policy areas.

NYC’s Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics (MODA) has a guide to their work that includes an overview of categories of analytics projects.  


The Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity published "A Data Analytic Framework for Cities to Fight Fraud, Cut Costs, and Promote Integrity", the result of their Data Analytics Working Group's year-long study into using data to fight public corruption. 


The University of Chicago’s Center for Data Science and Public Policy has developed a project scoping guide and accompanying worksheet to help refine and scope a data project.


Jane Wiseman’s paper, “Lessons from Leading CDOs: A Framework for Better Civic Analytics,” includes discussion of team roles and composition based on a review of leading data teams.


San Francisco’s SF Data Academy is a leading example of training city staff in data use; their course materials are available on the individual class pages.

Datapolitan offers analytics classes for NYC employees; the materials are on Github.