Not everyone knows how to work with data in the most effective and efficient way possible. That’s OK! We’re big nerds and we love our tools, so we decided to put together a page to get you going in the right direction.

Just a warning here - we’re going to keep it simple and to the point. There is always more than one way to do a thing. We want to give just a little boost to beginners, and this what this page is for.

Working with geospatial data

We’re a city, so a lot of the data you are seeing us publish is geospatial data. Geospatial data is different than most other kinds of data because it’s inherently multidimentional.

We have used Carto to build complex applications like StreetsSD and simple visualizations that you see on this portal. It’s our tool of choice for quick geospatial work, and we think it’s perfect for beginners.

If you’re not digging the web interface, or don’t want to make yet another account somehwere else, check out QGis. It’s an open source desktop software that lets you work with geospatial data. ESRI also provides a Geo Data Explorer.

Working with tabular data

Tabular data on our portal comes in CSV form. Most people who have Excel on their computers will use that to open up CSV files. If you’re not an Excel user, Google Docs or LibreOffice Calc will do the trick.

For larger CSVs, you can use Open Refine to manipulate and clean the data. More adventurous users and hackers might want to try the R or Python programming languages. Python has a Pandas library for manipulating and analyzing tabular data.

Finding additional data

The portal doesn’t yet have everything we will publish. We’re working on it as outlined in the City’s Open Data Policy. The Data Inventory Dataset has our schedule.

You may also be looking for data that belongs to another agency or that complements the data we offer on this portal. The list below has some other places to find data. If we don’t have something you think we should include, please add it!

County data

San Diego County
The County keeps health statistics, property records and parcel maps, and air quality data, among other information.

San Diego Association of Governments has demographic, transportation and crime data for the San Diego region.

San Diego Geographic Information Source is a repository of GIS data for the city and county of San Diego. The data is free, but a login is required for access.

Automated Regional Justice Information System collects crime data from police agencies in San Diego and Imperial counties. The crime data available here is monthly totals by agency of property and violent crimes as defined by the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program.

State data

California Open Data Portal

Open Justice
The California Department of Justice publishes crime statistics and a dashboard here.

Traffic records
The California Highway Patrol collects collision data from all agencies in California.

National and international data



USGS National Map

U.S. Census Bureau American FactFinder

Census Reporter

World Bank

Requesting unpublished city data

The California Public Records Act gives citizens the right to request government records. The City of San Diego has made the process easier by offering a way to request records online. You can also search previous requests for documents that have already been released.

Open Data Policy

Curious about what guides our Open Data program? Check out the Open Data Policy.