LIVES Open Data Standard

Restaurant Inspection Scores Anywhere, Accurately

LIVES Data Standard Information for Data Producers, Public Health, & Data Users


1 in 6 Americans contracts food poisoning each year. Over 3,000 die from the illness. While foodborne illness rates vary globally, the importance of helping consumers (especially vulnerable populations) make informed dining decisions is constant. The LIVES data standard is a simple, affordable, and modern way to post restaurant inspection information accurately across information technologies.


In 2012, the City of San Francisco's innovation office partnered with New York and Code for America to create a shared data standard for publishing restaurant inspection information as data. LIVES, the Local Inspector Value Entry System, came out of that effort. Yelp, a prominent American consumer review site, was engaged as the first to ingest this data. Since 2012, Yelp has posted inspection scores via LIVES data (which meets Yelp's unique ingest needs) adjacent to consumer's restaurant reviews. While Yelp remains the most prominent user of LIVES data, many other restaurant information providers could ingest and republish LIVES data. Currently, 17 governments (cities, counties, states), in the US and Canada publish LIVES to Yelp. Many others publish LIVES data without publishing to Yelp, because of nuances in their scoring system and how Yelp prefers the data of its own uses.

In 2015, in a partnership with Socrata, Sarah Schacht (then a consultant to Socrata, serving as their Public Health Data Advisor), collaborated with Socrata and Yelp staff to create a version 2.0 of the LIVES standard, allowing for a wider range of environmental and public health organizations to publish their data in LIVES.

Standards Governance

Currently, LIVES has no governing body. While Yelp has certain internal needs for how LIVES is ingested by Yelp's toolset (requiring ZIP files), this is a Yelp requirement and not one created by the collaborative of governments and civil society who created LIVES 1.0.

To provide LIVES a low-cost governance body, Sarah Schacht is working to establish a LIVES stakeholder group with users and producers of LIVES data contributing modifications and agreed upon improvements on a yearly basis. Schacht hopes the stakeholders, after the first year of coordination, can form a stakeholder group on their own. To become a LIVES stakeholder, please contact Ms. Schacht at

For Governments: Why Launch LIVES?

  • Serve high-risk populations
  • Meet a changing "food tech" market
  • Drive down foodborne illness rates
  • Increase citizen reporting of potential outbreaks

LIVES for App Builders & Restaurant Information Resources

  • Spur faster decisions and purchased carts
  • Demonstrate commitment to food safety
  • Differentiate your product by being a comprehensive source of restaurant information
  • Use LIVES data internally to determine restaurant partners, meal suppliers
  • Generate earned media through launching LIVES

Resources for LIVES: Schema, Best Practices Guide, Making the Case

The Network Effect- Getting Data Into All the Right Hands

About Us: This LIVES page is a service of Smarter Civic