Smart Open Data Powers Charlotte

A National Model for Smart Cities

In 2013, Charlotte City Manager Ron Carlee identified community engagement as a critical driver for the city to become a destination community where people want to live, work, and play. A new, smart city vision was born—one where engagement and collaboration center on open data technology and policy for the common good of Charlotte.

Smart city user Hyong Yi – Assistant City Manager, City of Charlotte
Smart city user Hyong Yi – Assistant City Manager, City of Charlotte 

The real role of government is to create a community that residents, visitors, and business people find to be a great place to live, work, and play.

Hyong Yi
Assistant City Manager, City of Charlotte

The city's foray into growing an open, smart city ecosystem started with the foundation of Open Charlotte, an open data portal that accommodates all operational data—both spatial and nonspatial. Open Charlotte supports the data needs of the city's departments and businesses, as well as the Code for Charlotte Brigade, a unique group of citizens, designers, and developers who use technology to help solve civic and social problems.

Today, Charlotte's smart community initiatives include an open data policy that sustains current and future efforts and a Smart City Cabinet program. Through the program, staff are pioneering the use of data, analytics, and business intelligence technology to make better data-driven decisions.

Charlotte’s GIS team spearheaded the open data initiative and set up the city for cross-departmental collaboration

Departments contributing spatial and nonspatial data to Open Charlotte

Live data feeds

Live data feeds on the city's open data portal

Web-based map automatically syncs the city data to the website

Views of Charlotte's street closures mapping app within 6 months of launch

Infrastructure Management

Livable + Safe

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utility Department must clear more than 1,000 miles of off-street water and sewer easements. To proactively address vegetation and debris before they threaten important utility assets, the department developed a new mobile app for field crews. Workers document conditions in the field with mobile devices, while office staff prioritize and plan clearings using that real-time data, keeping assets in peak condition and avoiding costly repairs.

See How
Charlotte street closure for running event Vegetation cleared as part of infrastructure management project in Charlotte Residents getting involved in green and sustainable initiatives in Charlotte

Open Data Enables Forward Thinking

The Solution

At the core of Charlotte's open data system is Esri's ArcGIS technology. The city's GIS team spearheaded the open data initiative and set up the city for cross-departmental collaboration. With a central GIS enterprise team in place, almost all city departments employ a GIS professional on their team who maintains spatial and nonspatial data and implements solutions that enhance operational efficiencies. In addition to ArcGIS Open Data, the city uses its enterprise license agreement with Esri to employ technology that helps communicate Charlotte's forward-thinking commitment to community engagement and innovation.

Avoiding Gridlock

Charlotte residents conquer traffic with real-time maps showing road closures, detours, and more.

View App


Charlotte created an open data ecosystem that connects the city with the public in its smart community mission.

What It Takes


Open Charlotte brings together 10 departments to share relevant and timely data throughout the enterprise.



Charlotte makes data-driven decisions to prioritize projects and boost operational intelligence.



Fieldworkers connect smart sensors, such as road condition sensors, to the city's open data ecosystem.



Charlotte's Smart City Cabinet program uses maps and apps to deliver services and engage with citizens.

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