About

Who: a team of changemakers

A small, scrappy team backed by California Community Foundation, we work to catalog and coalesce open data for and about the 10 million people who call Los Angeles County home.

Since 2013, we have explored, imagined, investigated, researched, and dreamed about the possibilities and power of open data combined with meaningful stories, all with the aim of establishing the first and only platform to gather all of Los Angeles County's open data into one place.

We've interviewed data journalists and data practitioners, surveyed and spoken with data publishers, performed a landscape analysis of data-focused initiatives, assembled and curated thousands of datasets, connected with other open data proponents, explored opportunities for partnerships, highlighted important open data projects across the county, constructed an initial test site, run through a series of beta tests, and established the open source, open data tool for change that you're looking at right now.

What: our technology

LA Counts site is built with CKAN, a powerful open-source platform. If you’d like to contribute to LA Counts’ CKAN software development, please visit our GitHub repository.

LA Counts' current harvesting process limits which datasets we can inventory. We're working to expand our coverage. Do you own data that you'd like to share? Have you made FOIA requests for data? Is there a public dataset you love and wish we featured? Please suggest a dataset!

When: The time is now

LA Counts is a community tool—built, managed and strengthened by the people who use it. In these critical early days, your participation will determine the success of this effort. Help us identify new resources and datasets. Drop us a note to recommend ways we could make this platform useful to you. We'd love to hear from you.

We believe open data offers opportunities for insight. With publicly available data, our community can hold data providers accountable, and advocates, activists, funders and policymakers can make better, more well-informed decisions.

Where: Los Angeles County

How much do you know about Los Angeles County? Sprawling over 4000 square miles, LA County is home to over 10 million residents—our population is greater than 42 different states. Collectively we speak over 200 languages.

LA County boasts 88 cities and unincorporated areas. That means we have 88 mayors and 88 separate governments—all tucked into one county.

Los Angeles County can sometimes feel like a bureaucratic maze, filled with hundreds of disconnected, overlapping, and sometimes competing government agencies.

Many residents are familiar with the seemingly ubiquitous Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). In addition to LAUSD, Los Angeles County includes 92 other school districts, most of which receive much less county-wide attention.

But how does any of this information relate to open data? Read on.

Why: our needs

Despite its massive population, size and level of need, Los Angeles County is arguably the least funded major metropolitan area in the United States. We simply don’t know enough about our county, nor do we have enough open data about it to tell its complete story. Without accessible and defensible data, funders and decision-makers are hesitant to invest in issues affecting our county. As a result, everyone misses out.

We believe we can change this situation. Demographic data, poverty statistics, educational needs, sub-ethnicities, housing, and healthcare scarcity remain hidden—masked by the aggregate data of a huge population. The size, complexity and diversity of Los Angeles County can be a barrier for funders, policy-makers, journalists, and activists.

While we know a good deal about Los Angeles County, there is much we don't yet know, or can't yet share with our community. Some of the hurdles we face are technological, and some of them (perhaps most of them) are bureaucratic. The governments of Los Angeles County and the cities within it generate huge amounts of data but a surprising amount of it is not publicly available. We, along with our community, aim to change that.

How: a community of datanauts

As a community and as a site, we're a work in progress. We're invested in building and supporting the data-focused local community.

See something you like? Please let us know! Think something needs work? Please tell us. Want to make change in your neighborhood? Please get in touch.