4 major cities launch shared data portal

Four major American cities have added a new layer of local government data to Data.gov, the federal government’s open data portal, in an effort to promote transparency and greater citizen engagement.

Cities.data.gov features data sets from Chicago, Seattle, New York and San Francisco, reports Noelle Knell in Government Technology.

The Data.gov site specifies that local government data sets aren’t subject to federal data policies. However, “the idea is that comparative data from different levels of government can be useful in informing the work of software developers,” Government Technology reports.

Related coverage:

White House opens the source code for Data.gov

Cities.data.gov is the first major endeavor of the seven big city CIOs, known as the Group of 7 or G7, who are informally collaborating on issues of mutual concern. Their shared interest and leadership in open data is driving the concept of a multi-jurisdictional clearinghouse of public data sets to the top of the group’s priority list, according to article.

The seven members of the G7 include Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Seattle.

San Francisco, which has about 90 percent of its data sets on Cities.data.gov, has released a diverse set of data including information about crime incidents, film locations, graffiti incidents, neighborhood planning, transit stops and schedules and zoning districts.

Chicago officials have posted information about crime incidents, building permits, budgets, city employee contacts, food inspection and police-related Freedom of Information Act requests logs.

Residents of the cities can check out the data provided by their government and the apps people have created with them. If developers have an idea for an app, they can find examples as well as information on open challenges. They also can view the policies relating to the release of data from the participating cities and the federal government.

City officials that have an open data site or catalog are encouraged to join the national platform for data innovation, according to members of Cities.data.gov.

It is becoming easier for cities, government agencies and organizations to create an open data site. The Open Government Platform, a collaboration effort between the U.S. and India launched in May 2012, offers a set of open source, open government platform code that allows organizations to develop an open data site.

OGPL is designed promote transparency and greater citizen engagement by making more government data, documents, tools, and processes publicly available through a freely available, open source platform.

Other recent efforts also are producing data that could benefit municipal governments. The Cenesus Bureau, for example, recently launched an application programming interface where developers can tap into Census data to create apps, with breakdowns to the city and county levels.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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Reader Comments

Fri, Aug 3, 2012 LeRoy Budnik Winfield, IL

An interesting that India treat government IT as a shared service. As a result, the individual states, which in many regards were a greenfield of IT, benefit from shared development. I had opportunity to meet with the head of theinternal consulting group, it is a very interesting model, treating the code as open source. The difficulty in replicating the model in the US would be that we depend on vendor packages on proprietary platforms; e.g., there are many AS400 systems running government packages that require retrofit and many machine/code tenders to keep them going - not designed for an open world. Unfortunately, shared development goes against the issues of control. Canada is do well at a slow but focused shared services model - we would do well to learn from both the India and Canada models.

Thu, Aug 2, 2012 Robert Steele Oakton, VA

Open Data ia a good start, but like Open Government, it is just lipstick on the pig UNLESS they/we get with the total Open Source Everything program. Below are three short links to the list, the daily Open Source Everything Highlights (the above article is in the Open Data section), and the book, cheapest at Amazon, that I just published. http://tinyurl.com/OSE-LIST http://tinyurl.com/OSE-ALL http://tinyurl.com/OSE-PAPER Palo Alto is toying with this idea. Imagine a Smart Safe City.

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