News Release News Release The City of Palo Alto
Communications Department
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301


PRESS RELEASE 04/19/2013
Subject :

City of Palo Alto Breaks Open Government Ground Again with Launch of "Open GIS"
Contact : Jonathan Reichental, Ph.D., Chief Information Officer, Information Technology    650-329-2121
Palo Alto, California -- The City of Palo Alto today again stepped up its commitment to open government by releasing the first sets of City Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) data as open data through the innovative use of Google Fusion Tables. Called Open GIS, this release joins Palo Alto's existing open data sets at, and the award-winning site for City budget information, Open Budget, available here:

The new service, accessible via will, over time, make hundreds of data layers easily available. The data will contain a large volume of geographically-referenced features which have been created and catalogued over the past 20 years in Palo Alto's GIS.  Coupled with these features is attribute data—additional information about each of the features such as size, material, owner, census tract, and other characteristics.  

Open GIS was created through the innovative use of Google Fusion Tables, an experimental data visualization Web application to gather, visualize, and share large data tables. Developers can extend the power of Fusion Tables using the Fusion Tables API and by using FusionTablesLayers in the Google Maps API.

Palo Alto City Manager James Keene commented, "Open GIS continues our rapid pace to unleash the value of data stored on our servers so it can serve our community in completely new ways. Geospatial data is particularly valuable to a large range of stakeholders as it is the underlying physical blueprint of every community."

Jonathan Reichental, Palo Alto Chief Information Officer said, “We’re stepping up to our responsibility as the heart of Silicon Valley by not just being a model for open government, but for doing it in the most innovative way. Experimenting with the power of Google Fusion Tables provides us with a free platform to try new ways to extend the data back to those it belongs: our community.”

Development Services Director Peter Pirnejad said, “Geospatial data is valuable to a wide range of stakeholders such as city planning, construction, architects, utilities, and public safety. I’ve already seen innovative start-ups use our open city permit data to create useful apps so I’m confident by making more and more of our GIS data easily available, we’ll see useful innovation for the community happen.”

The initial data sets on Open GIS include location data, road centerlines, land use, tree data, public projects, and trench plate data. More data will be added in the weeks ahead, so City staff recommends visiting the site often.