Open data portals: A checklist for success

Open data portals: A checklist for success

When deciding which open data portal makes sense for a government agency, it is important to know what exactly makes for an effective platform.

According to a recent webinar led by Dale Lutz and Stewart Harper of Safe Software, agencies should think carefully about the type of data they will share, and the gauge whether a solution being considered can deliver on the following criteria:

Updating data

  • Provide data as a published feed, via either API or RSS so users don’t have to re-download Excel sheets or datasets
  • Connect the open data platform directly to the master database so a duplicate is not needed
  • Enlist the help of data integration software to sync master data stores with open data repositories for automated or scheduled configurations

Projection support

  • Provide a coordinate system for spatial data
  • Provide projection options for advanced users and GIS-type datasets
  • Provide local and global projections

Quality of data

  • Use a CSV quality checker (here)
  • Use or create a data quality check list (here)

Delivery mechanisms

  • Provide both machine- and human-readable data formats
  • Suggested tabular formats: CSV, JSON (API)
  • Suggested spatial formats: GeoJSON, ShapeFile
  • Other recommended formats:
    • Tabular: Excel, XML
    • Spatial: AutoCad, Esri File Geodatabase, KML, Mapinfo TAB

About the Author

Amanda Ziadeh is a former reporter/producer for GCN.


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