The Best Open Data Releases of 2012.

The year 2012 is over. But it’s important to occasionally look back and see what we did well, and not so well, as a society over the last 12 months. One particular item that has become increasingly more significant in planning our cities is open data. From tracking crime in Philadelphia, bikeshare activity in Boston, transit usage in Atlanta, green roofs in Chicago, to rat sightings in New York City…open data has gone viral. More from The Atlantic on the top 10 open data releases of 2012:

Last year, Atlantic Cities named ten of its favorite metro datasets of 2011 from cities across North America, illustrating the breadth of what we might learn (regarding mosquito traps! misplaced vehicles! energy consumption!) in the still relatively young field of urban open data. For this year’s installment, we’re going one step further. Sure, raw data is great. But useful tools, maps and data visualizations built with said data are even better.

In this story, you’ll find our picks for 2012’s best open data releases from municipal vaults, with an emphasis on tools that can be used by anyone, not just developers and data geeks.