Washington DC Launches Open Data Chatbot

City data is now available literally at the public’s fingertips, no data analytics skills required.

1 minute read

March 31, 2024, 5:00 AM PDT

By Mary Hammon @marykhammon


View down Pennsylvania Avenue from above with Capitol dome in background.

Sergey Novikov / Adobe Stock

Washington, D.C. recently launched a generative AI tool trained on 2,000 open data sets, reports Jonathan Andrews for Cities Today. The beta version of DC Compass, a chatbot similar to ChatGPT, is now accessible to city staff and residents to ask data-oriented civic questions and generate maps at a keystroke.

The city worked with Esri, a giant in the geographic information systems space, on a private beta for six months to improve the software, which is powered by Esri’s cloud-based mapping and analysis platform ArcGIS Online.

“You no longer need to be a data scientist or a spreadsheet wizard to analyse DC’s vast open data catalogue,” DC’s Interim Chief Technology Officer Stephen Miller said in a press release.

The move is part of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Artificial Intelligence Values Statement and Strategic Plan, which lays out a framework for using AI to improve the functionality, efficiency, and effectiveness of the local government

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