Analysis Clearly Demonstrates that Open Data as a Program is Working for Socrata Customers

June 24, 2011 5:47 am PST | Effective Governing

For nearly two years, participants in the Open Data movement, have worked tirelessly to make unfettered access to public data, at all levels of government, a sustainable and irreversible reality. Open Data sites are springing up all around the world, while those who put Open Data on the map like, Medicare, NOAA, San Francisco, Washington DC and Seattle keep growing, innovating and engaging with their constituents. Thanks to the vision of Tim O’Reilly, the passion of Ellen Miller, and the bold action of government leaders like Vivek Kundra, Aneesh Chopra, Todd park, Seattle’s Bill Schrier or Oregon’s Dugan Petty, every day Open Data gains more momentum.

At Socrata, we see this momentum in the success of our customers. Thanks to their work, ordinary citizens are making more informed decisions about which hospital to choose based on medical outcomes, they’re finding out how safe their neighborhoods are in real-time, and they’re texting their county to find the nearest ballot box location, for the next election.

Open Data in the Trenches

Open Data is happening every day because people in the trenches make it happen. As Luke Fretwell said yesterday, “This is not a spectator sport.” Developers spend their weekends coding away at hackathons so they can build something useful with data. Project leaders in government go from agency to agency in their state/city/federal government evangelizing why Open Data is a practical necessity. Public servants fight to pass new legislation. IT folks pull extra hours to extract messy data from messy legacy systems and make it available to their constituents. And yes, in these trenches, you will also find Socrata engineers working day and night to solve some of Open Data’s hardest problems, from managing big data in the cloud, to making data universally accessible and reusable.

Unless you’re one of those people, you can’t really get a sense of the growing momentum behind Open Data. But if you’re Wally Rogers, e-government program manager at the state of Oregon, you’re not only making it happen, you’re also sharing that success for all to see.

So today, we’re happy to offer empirical evidence of this growing momentum. By publishing aggregate statistics from Socrata-powered Open Data sites, we are sharing with the Open Data community what Socrata customers already know: Your constituents are embracing your work, consuming your data, and even contributing to it.

Adoption Across Socrata-powered Open Data Sites

This chart shows that every month (Oct 2010 – May 2011), Socrata customers are expanding their reach and enjoying increasing adoption of their Open Data sites by their constituents. Pageviews is just one such proxy of adoption.

Growth in Published Datasets and User-created Views

This chart illustrates two important metrics in the Oct 2010 – May 2011 timeframe: The growth in datasets being published month to month, as well as the growth in user-created views (charts, maps, filters, roll-ups…) that constituents are contributing to their government’s Open Data site. Notice how there are almost an many user-created views as there are government-published datasets. Co-creation is also a demonstrable reality.

If you are thinking about Open Data as a way to engage your constituents and share data more easily and cost-effectively, talk to the Socrata customer nearest you. Their experience could save you time and money. If you’re already in the trenches, making Open Data happen, please know that your work is resonating where it counts: with constituents.

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