NYC Open Data was hailed as a huge step forward, and for good reason. Not many cities have anything that comes close. A few clicks will produce spreadsheets full of everything from restaurant inspection scores to school attendance rates and rodent infestations.
Accessible open data about government spending and services remains a pipe dream across most of the world, an 86-country survey by the World Wide Web Foundation has found. The second edition of the Open Data Barometer showed that fewer than 8 percent of surveyed countries publish datasets on things like government budgets, spending and contracts, and on the ownership of companies, in bulk machine-readable formats and under open re-use licenses.
A recent article describes how Chicago simplified the release and updating of open data by building an OpenData ETL Utility Kit. Before the kit, the process was onerous. Open data sets required manual updates made mostly with custom-written Java code.
Last September, the French government appointed Henri Verdier as its first “Chief Data Officer”. Four months after his appointment, LSE student Marine Gossa looks back at the debates that Verdier’s new function sparked in France and what a Chief Data Officer could mean for French democracy.