Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Data

  • How do I use Arvada OpenData?
    Arvada OpenData includes searchable catalogs that provide access to "raw" datasets and various tools. You may access data in XML, Text/CSV, KML/KMZ, Feeds, XLS, or ESRI Shapefile formats. The catalog of tools links you to sites that include data mining and extraction tools and widgets. Datasets and tools available on Arvada OpenData are searchable by category and keyword. Once in the catalog, click on the "title" (i.e, the name of the dataset or tool of interest) and you will be taken to a page with more details and metadata on that specific dataset or tool. If there are additional datasets that you would like to see included on this site, please suggest more datasets here.
  • What is data?
    Data is a value or set of values representing a specific concept or concepts. Data becomes "information" when analyzed and possibly combined with other data in order to extract meaning, and to provide context. The meaning of data can vary according to its context (Source: Federal Enterprise Architecture Data Reference Model)
  • How were the datasets in Arvada OpenData selected?
    Arvada OpenData is being launched with a limited number of datasets and tools. These initial entries in the catalog were nominated by internal departments as examples of raw datasets that already enjoy a high degree of consensus around definitions, are in formats that are readily usable, include the availability of metadata, and provide support for machine-to-machine data transfer. In addition to raw datasets, some departments offered data extraction and mining tools, and widgets.
  • What is the plan for expanding the number of datasets made available through Arvada OpenData?
    Additional datasets and tools will be added to Arvada OpenData regularly as a result of departmental submissions and to specific requests made by users of this site. Furthermore, the content, structure, and scope of the site will evolve over time and the catalogs will continue to grow as datasets are added.
  • Who developed Arvada OpenData?
    Arvada OpenData was collaboratively developed internally through the cooperation of the GeoData Services and Information Services divisions. The City of Arvada participates in Open Colorado which is a state-wide data repository and community promoting all publically available data.
  • What is metadata?
    Metadata is "data about data." Metadata includes data associated with either an information system or an information object for purposes of description, administration, legal requirements, technical functionality, use and usage, and preservation (Source: Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI)).
  • Will my comments be read?
    Messages that you send through the 'Suggest a Dataset' and 'Submit an App' pages will be sent to the relevant personel for review. If a response is required, someone will respond directly to your message as time allows.
  • What are some resources for viewing geospatial datasets?
    The geospatial datasets available on Arvada OpenData are provided in up to three open file formats: Keyhole Markup Language (KML), Compressed Keyhole Markup Language (KMZ) and ESRI Shapefile. These datasets are all viewable in many commercial and freely available applications. More information about Geographic Information System (GIS) software can be found by doing a web search.
  • What if I am having difficulty downloading a dataset from the catalog?
    Some web browser configurations, particularly those that are designed for high security computing environments, can interfere with access to certain datasets from the catalog. This is most commonly related to government websites that use security certificates, and end user browsers that are not configured to recognize those certificates as being authoritative. If you are having difficulty downloading one or more datasets from the Arvada OpenData catalog, please contact your local IT support staff to determine whether browser configuration issues can be addressed for your workstation.