Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the purpose of the data catalog?
The intent of the data catalog is to make City data sets available to the public. The availability of this information also supports the city’s commitment to transparency in government. The data catalog will grow over time as more datasets are added, requested and become available.

Is the City of Ann Arbor the first municipality to provide an online data catalog?
There are several other municipalities that provide an online data catalog. The City of Ann Arbor researched several of these sites, most notably Washington DCNYC and San Francisco, when creating the data catalog presented here. The data catalog will grow over time as more datasets are added, requested and become available.

How do I use the data catalog?
Each data set has a corresponding metadata link which describes the data set in detail. The table listing also features the file types in which the metadata is available.

What applications will I need in order to view the datasets?​

 CSV - File format that is used by spreadsheet, database, and statistical applications. Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, Open Office Calc and Lotus 1-2-3 
 PDF - Portable Document Format intended for sharing documents while maintaining a document's integrity. Adobe Acrobat Reader
 DOC - Microsoft word processing file format. Microsoft Word, Open Office Writer and AbiWord.
 RSS/GeoRSS - Web feed format used to publish frequently updated works in a standardized format.  GeoRSS extends the RSS standard and is used for encoding location as part of a web feed. Microsoft Outlook, Google Reader, Google Earth and Microsoft Bing.
 KML/KMZ - Keyhole Markup Language is an XML-based language schema for displaying geographic annotation. Google Earth, Microsoft Bing
 SHP - Geospatial vector shape file data format for geographic information systems software. ​


How frequently is the data updated?
The update frequency for each data set is defined in the data set's metadata.

Whom do I contact if I want a new dataset, or if I want an existing dataset provided in another format?
For questions or comments concerning the City of Ann Arbor Data Catalog, please contact the City's IT Director. If you have suggestions for new datasets or enhancements to existing datasets please send your request to [email protected].

Whom do I contact if I have a question about an existing dataset?
Each dataset is accompanied by a listing of the city agency/unit from which it originates, and includes contact information. Click on the link in the “Agency/Unit” column on the left side of the table for details.

Does this data catalog replace the need for FOIA requests; will FOIA requests still be accepted?
Some of the information provided in this data catalog was due to the interest expressed during the FOIA process.  If this information does not address your specific request, the City of Ann Arbor would encourage you to submit a FOIA request.  FOIA requests can be submitted here.

Is the city providing residents’ personal information within these datasets?
The City of Ann Arbor is committed to transparency in our transactions and with our information.  That being said, we have removed information that is generally not allowable under the Freedom of Information Act, or that may be deemed sensitive.

What types of datasets or information will be omitted from this catalog for security reasons?
Datasets that identify the City's critical infrastructure assets will not be published. Crime statistics will be aggregated to a city-block level and data that is considered personally identifiable information will not be published.  

Can someone at the city customize this information for me?
The data catalog is designed to provide detailed information in various formats.  Due to the wide-ranging nature of the information provided, it is not possible to design customized data sets for each individual request but the City encourages interested parties to design the data as they see fit for their own needs.  The City wants your feedback on improving this site and would like to know how we can expand the data provided.