Civic Awesome: Open Data News For October 17, 2014

October 17, 2014 6:42 am PDT | Data as a Service

The impact of open data continues to be felt around the world. This week includes reports on how to improve the quality, availability, and use of open data, plus a couple of exciting new data releases. 

Putting Government Data To Work

“Realizing The Potential of Open Government Data” summarizes the June 18, 2014 Open Data Roundtable, co-hosted by The GovLab and the White House Office of Science and Technology with the U.S. Department of Commerce. The report details the Roundtable’s key finding for improvements including data discovery, access, quality, sharing, interoperability, dissemination; and considering data users as customers. The report also describes commitments that the Department of Commerce has already made in response to the Roundtable, and opportunities for the private sector and civil society organizations to contribute solutions as well.

Chicago’s Smart City: From Open Data to Rat Control

Open data is the basis of Chicago’s smarter city effort. The city has built a platform called WindyGrid to layer data including emergency calls, maps, and tweets to understand where issues will arise. Those data are being applied to predicative models to hep deliver city services before complaints are even phone into City Hall. As it leverages open source technologies, WindyGrid has cost Chicago less than $100,000 to build and $50,000 a year to operate.

Met Office Looks To Enhance Weather Services By Publishing More Open Data

The Met Office announced a partnership with the Open Data Institute (ODI) which will help the UK’s central weather bureau improve and expand the data it is now releasing to the public. While the Met Office currently uses an API to publish data, the collaboration with ODI will “make open data more useful and widely used by existing and potential re-users” and hopefully increase the number of new applications which leverage these data sets.

Slashing Shipping Emissions Needs Open Data, IMO Told

A coalition of environmentally-concerned groups are calling on the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a UN body, to open shipping efficiency data so that the maritime industry can cut emissions. The argument is being made as the IMO’s environmental committee meets this week and on the heals of IMO’s own study suggesting emissions are likely to grow by 50% to 250% within the next forty years, unless the issue is addressed. The IMO would not comment on the call for open data ahead of its meeting. 

New Data Provides Detailed Look At Military Gear Held By NY Law Enforcement

In response to an August 2014 FOIL request, the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services released data on which law enforcement agencies received excess military equipment under the Pentagons’s 1033 program. The data, which were requested after standoffs in Ferguson, MO, reveal numerous Empire State cities which have acquired military surplus — from Syracuse receiving mine-resistant vehicles to the 6,000 person village of Albion adding a bomb robot and Humvees to its police force.


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