Data Solves Local Problems

February 2, 2017 12:00 pm PDT | Data News Roundup
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Cincinnati’s open data site offers residents a view into when streets will be plowed, while Montgomery, Alabama, shares data on everything from crime reports to construction permits. Florida’s CIO Jason Allison asserts that “transparency should be the guiding factor in the development of governance.” Read more open data news:

Montgomery opens city data to the internet

“One part of the site shows Montgomery street paving projects, with a way to break them down by district. Another shows construction projects, with the option to plot them on a map. Another city map shows demolitions, with larger dots for more expensive tear-downs. That’s just a small part of a Montgomery public data site that was launched Thursday by the city. The site — data.montgomeryal.gov — also includes 311 requests and crime reports. Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange said they plan to eventually add all of the city’s public data. The idea is to make it easier for the public to access information, but also to give everyone from city employees to contractors a way to do things more effectively. Read more from Montgomery Advertiser.

Cincinnati Open Data Portal Covers Snowplows, Heroin Incidents

“Through a new open data portal, constituents of Cincinnati can find out how many heroin incidents have occurred near their homes and how frequently local roads have been treated with salt. Cincinnati’s Office of Performance and Data Analytics (OPDA) recently launched CincyInsights, an open data portal with 15 dashboards containing city information. These dashboards include information on police response activity, snowplow movement, heroin incidents, and code enforcement.” Read more from 21st Century State and Local.

Transparency Requires Government Data to Be Available and Accessible

“Making government data ­available offers much value, to both citizens and an active democracy….Government transparency means financial and public information is readily understandable and readily found….When a government participates in social media and other technology, including a multitude of websites, that does not necessarily mean that it has implemented a transparency strategy. IT professionals should understand the importance of tracing needed privacy and transparency requirements when developing new systems, and take into account specific design and architectural considerations to achieve greater transparency.” Read more from StateTech.

Mulvaney: DATA Act crucial for sorting out federal spending

“After two Senate confirmation hearings Tuesday, it was clear that President Donald Trump’s nominee to head the Office of Management and Budget has DATA Act implementation in mind. Rep. Mick Mulvaney was peppered with questions Tuesday in two confirmation hearings on how he plans to advise Trump on reducing government spending. And while the South Carolina Republican offered ideas on everything from the defense budget to Social Security, he also made a point that structural changes like implementing the DATA Act are crucial to even fully understanding how federal money is being spent.” Read more from FedScoop.

How Cities Can Help Local Institutions Monetize Their Data

“Beyond its promise of transparency and accountability, open data has become a hallmark of good government because of its well documented return on investment for the public. In New York, where I work on implementing the city’s vision of “Open Data for All”, it is proving to be valuable information resource helping local small businesses compete with large companies. Government data is an asset whose value otherwise is capped at the operational value it produces internally. Opening it to the public redeploys this asset to encourage entrepreneurialism and innovation outside the four corners of city hall.” Read more from Governing.

Vital Data From More Than 100 Federal Statistical Agencies May Be At Risk

“Open data tells the public what the government is doing. Public data tells the government what the people are doing. Government officials need public data to make informed decisions. State and local governments businesses and nonprofit organizations all take advantage of public data gathered at the federal level. But public data doesn’t get the same level of attention or glamour as open data. Many users of public data aren’t even aware of the source; they get the information indirectly through the news, commercial vendors, reports from nonprofit agencies and other secondary sources.” Read more from Forbes.

A Road Map for Chief Data Officers

“The title of Chief Data Officer (CDO) is relatively new in city and state government, but one sign that the position is starting to mature and evolve is the formation of the Civic Analytics Network (CAN), a peer group of chief data officers from across the country. And a newly released white paper (PDF) from the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University’s Kennedy School — one of the first efforts to come out of CAN — identifies some common best practices the network identified as its members work to improve social outcomes through data-driven government.” Read more from Government Technology.

OPINION: In the Age of Trump, Open Data Matters Now More Than Ever

“City generated data points tend to be transparent and explicitly tied to services that citizens care about. I was reminded of this during a recent conversation with Kate Bender, a manager in Kansas City’s performance management office. Right about when Donald Trump was being inaugurated, her city was also marking a milestone — the fifth anniversary of KCStat. KCStat is the umbrella platform for what has become a fact-generating machine in this Midwestern city….since its creation [in 2011] city agencies, citizens and media alike have become far more attuned to local data that closely tracks the ups and downs of government services.” Read more from Next City.

How does FOIA fit under the Trump administration?

“In the absence of new directives from the Trump administration, open government advocates from the public and private sectors are continuing their work to strengthen and expand the use of the Freedom of Information Act.” Read more from FCW.


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