OpenSF: Film Commission Opens Data Trove to App Developers

San Francisco’s always been a special place for movie buffs. And now the City’s Film Commission is opening up its treasure trove of historical information to application developers.

As part of the City’s signature “open data” initiative, the commission this week posted information on more than 800 San Francisco locations used in movie shoots from 1915 to the present.

This latest release from the Film Commission is already one of the most popular datasets on the front page of DataSF, and the commission is hoping that innovative developers will create fun apps based on the data. The possibilities seem nearly limitless, from audio- and video-enhanced movie tours of San Francisco with a smart phone, to GPS check-in tours following in the steps of some of the City’s most familiar actors. The dataset includes movie titles, release dates, specific locations, historic notes, director, and up to three starring actors.

From Lauren Bacal to Goldie Hawn, Clint Eastwood to Robin Williams, Sean Penn and Jet Li, the dataset presents a fun walk through San Francisco film history even in raw spreadsheet form. James Bond was here, in “View to a Kill,” and along with legendary films such as “Vertigo,” “Bullitt,” and the “Dirty Harry” series, San Francisco and its beautiful neighborhoods and landscapes have also played in “Forrest Gump,” “Herbie Rides Again,” “So I Married an Axe Murderer,” “The Candidate,” “The Princess Diaries” and hundreds more films.

The City’s open data hub,, hosts government data in machine-readable format, and was enshrined in law this fall. The Department of Technology and innovations manager Jay Nath administer the site, and applications developers have built dozens of civic apps based on the data. City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s Office also plays a role, with departmental counsel vetting data sets for private citizen information before release. Applications built on City data are featured in the City’s App Showcase – and hopefully we’ll be seeing new additions for movie fans there in the near future.

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