State of Hawai'i FAQs

Why is the State of Hawaii putting their data online?

Leading public sector innovators are leveraging cloud, platform and social technologies to deliver better citizen access to information, modernize online service delivery and improve internal efficiencies. We call the transformation of your data assets into productive information resources that people can easily access, share and reuse, Open Data. By sharing our data via in an open and transparent means we empower our citizens, ourselves and our customers to access information anywhere, anytime. provides a platform to promote our data to a common statewide location that is accessible to everyone.

What kind of data is available on this site?

Data was solicited from each Agency and Department throughout the State of Hawai'i, resulting in a rich and diverse set of data to explore. Everything from map able data regarding schools, libraries, health facilities, and shelters to census based data, ethics information, and capital improvement projects data.

How do I ask the owner of a dataset a question about their data?

To contact the dataset owner, follow the steps outlined in the following article:

How were the data sets selected? How do I request a new data set?

Open Data Coordinators from State Agencies and Departments selected Data sets. The Open Data Coordinators used criteria such as already publicly available, interest to the public, usefulness to the public, easily attainable, minimal risk in sharing, ability to support updates and queries.

What have other cities and states done with open data?

Examples of open data in other cities and states include Oregon (, Austin (, Chicago (, San Francisco ( and many others. (Reference:

What is "open data"?

To summarize the most important aspects of open data:

-- Availability and Access: the data must be available as a whole and at no more than a reasonable reproduction cost, preferably by downloading over the internet. The data must also be available in a convenient and modifiable form.

-- Reuse and Redistribution: the data must be provided under terms that permit reuse and redistribution including the intermixing with other datasets.

-- Universal Participation: everyone must be able to use, reuse and redistribute - there should be no discrimination against fields of endeavor or against persons or groups. For example, 'non-commercial' restrictions that would prevent 'commercial' use, or restrictions of use for certain purposes (e.g. only in education), are not allowed. (Reference:

Why are governments implementing open data?

Open data, especially open government data, is a tremendous resource that is as yet largely untapped. Many individuals and organizations collect a broad range of different types of data in order to perform their tasks. Government is particularly significant in this respect, both because of the quantity and centrality of the data it collects, but also because most of that government data is public data by law, and therefore could be made open and made available for others to use. (Reference:

Who benefits from open data?

While there are numerous instances of the ways in which open data is already creating both social and economic value, we don't yet know what new things will become possible. New combinations of data can create new knowledge and insights, which can lead to whole new fields of application that will benefit both the citizen as well as government. (Reference:

How current is the data?

Each data set is current to the last update interval. Data sets vary relative to the frequency of updates. Some data sets are updated as they change; others are updated quarterly, annually etc.

How accurate is the data?

While we can make no guarantees relative to the accuracy of the data, the State of Hawaii has put forth our best effort to assure that the data we provide on is accurate.

How often does the data get updated?

Data sets vary relative to the frequency of updates. Some data sets are updated as they change; others are updated quarterly, annually etc. The Metadata for the data set can provide additional information on the update frequency as determined by the data set owner.

Why do I need to create an account or sign-in?

You do not need to have an account to view the datasets, charts, maps, and other information on the site. However, if you create a chart, map, filtered view, or any other view of the data that you think other people might find useful, you will need to create an account in order to save that view for others to see.

Where do I find information about a dataset?

While viewing the dataset click the red About button on the right-hand side above the dataset view. This bar will display any information that has been included about that dataset.

My question isn't answered here, what do I do?

If you have further technical questions or want to know more about how to use this site, visit the Socrata Support site for Knowledge Base articles. If you have a technical issue or you notice something isn't working correctly, please submit a request ticket.

What is "metadata"?

Commonly referred to as 'data about data'. For the metadata includes information such as owner, agency, department, program, update frequency, date updated etc. The Metadata becomes useful when searching for data using parameters that may not be in the data itself.


Each Department or Agency can choose what they decide is the most appropriate licensing scheme for the data they load into To confirm the licensing settings one can refer to the About section of the data set view.

What is XML?

Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a markup language that defines a set of rules for encoding documents in a format that is both human-readable and machine-readable. It is defined in the XML 1.0 Specification produced by the W3C, and several other related specifications, all gratis open standards. (Reference:

What is JSON?

JSON, or JavaScript Object Notation, is a text-based open standard designed for human-readable data interchange. It is derived from the JavaScript scripting language for representing simple data structures and associative arrays, called objects. Despite its relationship to JavaScript, it is language-independent, with parsers available for many languages. (Reference:

Who owns the data?

The model the State of Hawaii is using is that each Agency or Department openly publishing data to owns the data. The Agency or Department owns the data in the sense that they are responsible for deciding what data to publish openly, when to publish the data, when to update their data, how to handle queries about the data and to document their data.

What is a mashup?

A mashup, in web development, is a web page, or web application, that uses and combines data, presentation or functionality from two or more sources to create new services. The term implies easy, fast integration, frequently using open Application programming interfaces (API) and data sources to produce enriched results that were not necessarily the original reason for producing the raw source data. (Reference:

What is an API?

An application programming interface (API) is a specification intended to be used as an interface by software components to communicate with each other. An API may include specifications for routines, data structures, object classes, and variables. An API specification can take many forms, including an International Standard such as POSIX or vendor documentation such as the Microsoft Windows API, or the libraries of a programming language, e.g. Standard Template Library in C++ or Java API. (Reference:

What are the terms of use of the site?

See Terms of Use Policy button on the site.

How do I publish my data?

This open data site contains State of Hawaii data, meaning only certain State employees have the ability to publish data to the website. If you have data you think should be a part of this site, or have a suggestion of the type of data that should be included, please suggest a dataset.

Definitions of Terms:

API: An Application Programming Interface is a set of specifications that work behind the scenes of a software program to communicate with other programs.

Metadata: It is the data that describes other data; a tag or keyword that allows the data to be easily searched.

Dataset: A dataset is a collection of data that is typically presented in a table. A dataset can include data of any type, such as numbers, text, hyperlinks and images.

Database: A database is a collection of data or datasets that is systematically organized for easy access and searching.