Civic Awesome: Open Data In The News For September 19, 2014

September 19, 2014 7:47 am PST | Data as a Service

There were lots of great open data stories this week, so we chose to focus on a theme. That theme is “experimentation” a word not commonly associated with government , which is why it’s all the more [civic] awesome.

An Experiment in Government Innovation – Legal Hackers In Residence

In what we believe to be a first for America, DC’s Chief Counsel announced plans to hire an in-house civic hacker for the District. Though the actual job title is Free Law Innovation Fellow. The admittedly experimental job posting seeks a developer who will be charged with “making government data more accessible – through proactive disclosure of data sets and through smarter internal policies.”

France Announces An Ambitious New Data Strategy

Speaking of hiring, the French government announced plans to hire a Chief Data Officer. The move will make France the first European government to have a CDO. Whoever gets the job will have official power to work with French ministries and effect policy to ensure more data sets in the public interest are opened. Simultaneous to the CDO announcement, France also said it would invest €125 million in public sector infrastructure improvements.

The Finodex Accelerator

The Future Internet Open Data Expansion (Finodex) accelerator is currently taking pitches for projects using FIWARE technologies and open data. In addition to the usual accelerator-provided-support-services, Finodex will award between €10,000 to €170,000 to the 100 selected small to medium sized companies applying open data solutions to health, transportation, environment, finance, and other areas.

A $23 Million Venture Fund for Government Tech Set

Similar to Europe’s plans to invest in open data startups, Ron Bougamin and Tim O’Reilly announced the Govtech Fund, which will invest in companies improving “technology infrastructure that runs the day-to-day of government, from the federal government down to to the smallest of towns.” At launch, the fund has $23 million of investment monies available.

Chattanooga Launches Website To Track City Goals

Rounding out this week’s stories in open data experimentation, Chattanooga launched an open data portal to track how well the city is meeting its monthly goals. The portal will publicly demonstrate how effectively the city is meeting the mayor’s outlined plans to reduce violent crime and improve job growth, economic development, neighborhood investments, and literacy.

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