A major goal of open data programs is to increase transparency. Making data open is a way to provide citizens with a view into the activities and processes of public institutions. Open data can also improve collaboration between citizens and public agencies and increase the level of civic participation. However, transparency can be costly.
The City of Philadelphia released an open data strategic plan today, which Chief Data Officer Tim Wisniewski is billing as the city’s plan to ingrain open data into the culture of local city government. It’s a plan, he said, to scale the city’s open data efforts. It’s also a way to prioritize what data the city should release.
Houston Mayor Annise Parker recently introduced a new open data policy in the nation’s fourth-largest city. “First and foremost, this is about increasing transparency,” she said in the city’s announcement. “It is also about citizen engagement and increasing the pace of innovation in our city. We want to engage the talents of our strong science, technology, engineering and math community to help us solve the challenges of the 21st century.”
Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Dynamic Open Data "report to their offering. In the connected age, the flow of data through cities is becoming a key contributor to global competitiveness. European cities are taking advantage of public funds to experiment with open access to data and to assess the monetization potential for selected sources. Although estimating the full value of data in the public sector is difficult, government studies suggest tens of billions of euros could be realized.
Preliminary work on generating public and private interest in an open data centre in the City of Waterloo is well underway.Earlier this month, the city hosted a meeting at the Carnegie Library, 40 Albert St., and invited representatives from some of the region’s most recognizable organizations, including Canada’s Technology Triangle, the Accelerator Centre, the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University and the Golden Triangle Angel Network.
Open data does not yet evoke quite the same level of interest among businesses and investors as ‘big data’, for example. Nor do we have a clear understanding of which data sets really matter to our economy or to our social progress. The problem is that we are, in many ways, still stuck in a rut: we talk in quite abstract and technical language about data and the mechanics of making it open rather than engaging in a dialogue about the challenges and opportunities facing businesses and the public sector.