Code for America Summit Inspires Open Data Community

October 18, 2013 11:00 am PST | Data as a Service

“To my fellow CIOs: the game has changed. You’ve got to get on board.” said Gail Roper, CIO of Raleigh, NC, at the Code for America (CfA) Summit in San Francisco this week. Roper presented a City Spotlight of Raleigh, discussing how her city uses open data to “deploy ubiquitous access in [Raleigh].” Her talk shared strategies for deploying open data and open access. Roper was one of 30 speakers for an event that brought together more than 300 people to think about the possibilities for open data around the world.

The CfA Summit gathered together a mix of civic technology leaders. Some were entrepreneurs, some were government officials, and all are believers in the importance of open data to change and improve government. In his keynote speech, Redesigning Government, Mike Bracken, UK Government Digital Director, said, “We should work on things that matter to people but also that only government can do.”

Beth Blauer, Director of GovStat for Socrata, spoke at the Summit. As part of the Moving Beyond Transparency panel, Blauer shared stories of success from her time as Director of StateStat in Maryland, especially how she and her colleagues freed data from the silos of government and used it to address persistent problems like childhood hunger and crime. She emphasized the important role technology will play in the shift to data-driven government.

“You are trying to solve problems in government on the common platform of data—whether that’s data in a spreadsheet, data in a map, wherever you can find it, you’re trying to free that data and create a dialogue,” Blauer said. Follow this link to watch her session.

New Book Released

In addition to many outstanding presentations, the Summit included the release of “Beyond Transparency.” The book features essays from leaders in the open data and open government fields. Presented by former City of Chicago Chief Data Officer Brett Goldstein, the book is intended to capture open data stories from cities, technologists, community organizers, and activists. “It became more than just about open data,” Goldstein says. He continues, “It became releasing the data, how to do it, how to use it, how to push it forward, how to take it farther. There were so many different angles that were beyond what we expected…a much more holistic story of the movement.”

Looking Ahead

Code for America also announced the 2014 Fellowship Launch. To read more about the cities and fellows for 2014, follow this link. To watch video of sessions from the Summit, click here.

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