Here's a little rundown of what you'll need in order to view and use Gilbert's data. Let me walk you through it!
What you’ll need
In order to access Gilbert's data, you'll need a few basic things that you probably already have if you're visiting this site. As I learn more about this data, I'll also be able to provide suggestions for how you can use the data.
- Internet access
- An up-to-date web browser (such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox)
- A spreadsheet application like Microsoft Excel or Apple's Numbers
Let’s give it a try!
Let's look at how to quickly find and download a data set and then open it in Microsoft Excel.
First, you'll want to choose the category of the data to look for. You can also use the search box on the homepage of my site to find data. For this example, we're going to choose the "Growth and Development" category.
Next, you'll want to choose a data set. Most categories will have some comparisons that I've done to tell information about Gilbert. Below those, you'll see links to access the raw data. Let's click on "Full-Time Employees". This data set is pretty small and it's easy to understand for first-time data geeks.
The first thing you'll see in the data set is probably the data itself. You should see the data in a table with a few different columns. This data set includes a column for an ID number, the department within the Town, the fiscal year that the count was taken, the number of full-time equivalent employees (or FTE), and an object ID. Feel free to browse the data here, but don't browse too long. We're going to download the data so we can see all of it together.
The second thing you'll see are a set of buttons to the upper right of the table. For our example, we're going to click on "Download" and, in the dropdown that pops up, we're going to choose the "Spreadsheet" option to download the full data set as a spreadsheet. This spreadsheet will be in a comma-separated format (or CSV file) that we can open in Excel or whatever spreadsheet program you prefer.
- If you're a real techie like me, you can also click on the "API" button to see web addresses that you can use in apps or web pages to pull data directly from the Open Data Portal. These APIs (or Application Programming Interfaces) give you the data in a format that computers can understand called JSON. If the data set is spatial, like a map, you'll also get GeoJSON data so that you can create your own maps from the data set.
- Let's take our downloaded CSV file and open it in Excel. Now we can take this data and use formulas and other functions to interpret the data. You can even make your own charts and graphs from the data set! Go ahead! Take a look at the data and see if you can figure out how many full-time employees worked for the town in 2012.
Here's a quick way to view and download some of the data that I know about right now.