Frequently Asked Questions

What is Open Data?
Open Data is data published on the internet that is free and publicly available. Norfolk’s open data portal contains datasets owned and managed by the city, as well as other organizations, such as Virginia agencies and the Census Bureau. Open Data seeks to spark innovation, encourage community collaboration, improve transparency, and assist with data-informed decision-making.

Can anyone view all of Norfolk's open data?
Yes!  Anyone can access and view every dataset made public by Norfolk.  Access the Catalog,  then use the filters on the left navigation pane to narrow your search by department, date posted, category, and most recent updates.

Do I need an account to view data on the Open Data Portal?
No! You do not need an account to view data. However, you will need to create an account if you want to create data visualizations and filter data.  Creating an account is simple: Sign up here!

What are data stories?
Data stories are a way to simplify and explain the data found in the open data portal.  Data stories are created using words, photographs, and data visualizations such as charts and maps.   

How do I request a dataset that I cannot find?
To request a new dataset, click on Request a Dataset in the blue navigation bar across the top of the Open Data Portal homepage. 

How do I know when a dataset was last updated?
After selecting a dataset, look for the word Updated, under the blue View Data button on the right side of the page, across from the description of the dataset.   

How can I sign up to receive updates on the Open Data Portal?
If you would like to receive regular updates on dataset changes, additions, and new content, please send an email to OpenData@norfolk.gov. We'll be sure to include your email address in our mailing list!

I believe I found an error in a dataset. Where should I report this? 
Data quality is our top priority. If you believe you have found an error, please contact us.  

What fun things can I do using datasets?
Click on a dataset that interests you.  Then, select the blue View Data button on the right side of the page, across from the description of the dataset.  This button will take you to a table view of the data, similar to an excel spreadsheet. From here, you can filter the data to narrow your search.  You can also select the Visualize button to create your own data visualizations including bar graphs, pie charts, maps, and more. Creating an account is simple: Sign up here!

We encourage the use of public data to spark innovation and community collaboration, improve transparency, and satisfy curiosity. 
For additional guidance navigating the open data portal, check out our welcome video.