Open Data Progress in the Mid-Atlantic and Beyond

October 27, 2016 12:00 pm PST | Data as a Service

This week, What Works Cities announces new participants, including Salt Lake City, Nashville, and Virginia Beach. The state of Delaware advances their open data efforts, while Strathcona County earns more open data accolades. Read on for more news in this week’s Open Data Download:

The local projects that are making police complaint data open and accessible

“Access to civilian complaints about police behavior make it possible for the public to help hold problematic individuals accountable, leading to a better quality of policing and improvements in police-community relations. While we’re starting from a low point in public access to this information, several current projects give hope that this situation is in the process of changing.” Read more from the Sunlight Foundation.

Benchmarking Study Provides Wakeup Call for City Websites

“City websites still leave much to be desired, according to a new study. Civic website developer OpenCities conducted a benchmarking study of websites of the 3,035 U.S. municipalities with populations of more than 10,000 citizens — and found they still lag considerably behind their commercial counterparts.” Read more from GovTech.

Timing Glitch in DATA Act Makes It Impossible for IGs to Meet Reporting Deadline

“In a little-noticed letter to lawmakers last December, the inspectors general council gave notice that IGs will be unable to meet a deadline looming next month for reporting progress under 2014 Digital Accountability and Transparency Act.” Read more from Government Executive.

Data policy for a new administration

“When the next administration takes office in January, the president will immediately be inundated with a bevy of managerial tasks, such as filling about 4,000 political positions and getting his or her agenda off the ground. The 45th president will need to tackle open government data on a larger scale than ever before. Max Stier, president of the Partnership for Public Service, said the best way to start would be to build on the previous administration’s progress.” Read more from FCW.                                                                                                           

County’s Open Data receives award

“The awards just keep coming for Strathcona County. Last week, the county won the ‘Small City, Big Impact’ award in the Public Sector Digest’s 2016 Open Cities Index. This is the second time the county has won an award for its Open Data initiative, as it took home the Open Data Value Award at the Canadian Open Data Summit 2016 in April. Strathcona County was in the top 10 of all municipalities in the nation for 2016 — ahead of big cities like Vancouver and Ottawa. The county also went up three ranks this year, placing sixth out of 68 municipalities.” Read more from Sherwood Park News.

16 New Cities Join Bloomberg’s Open Data Initiative

A year and a half after its launch, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities initiative is more than halfway to its goal of supporting 100 mid-sized cities’ data ambitions, according to a Bloomberg press release. With 16 new cities announced Monday, 55 cities across the U.S. are now participating in the network of municipalities aiming to utilize data to improve city services and inform local decision-making.” Read more from Next City.

New open-data portal increases transparency in Virginia Beach

“You don’t have to be a journalist or a Freedom of Information Act expert to access public records in Virginia Beach, thanks to a new open-data portal that launched Monday. The portal provides Virginia Beach residents easy access to many public records normally available through a FOIA request. The idea is to cut the middle man, putting information at residents’ fingertips and encouraging city employees to look at ways to improve services, said Virginia Beach Director of Management Services Catheryn Whitesell.” Read more from

Delaware publishes 30 data sets on new open data portal

“….Delaware Gov. Jack Markell confirmed the official launch of the state’s new open data portal,….The portal, built by the open data vendor Socrata, delivers 30 data sets and 35 maps to the public from various agencies. A sampling of these include statistics on births, deaths, vehicle traffic, state financial transactions with vendors, and state employee credit card transactions for accountability’s sake. This non-identifiable purchase data can be analyzed with another set of map, chart, and graph tools provided by Socrata.” Read more from State Scoop.

Making open election data more accessible to voters

“Having access to timely and comprehensive election data is fundamental to democracy. Knowing when and where to vote, as well as what your ballot options are is critical to being fully informed. Google’s Civic Information API, in partnership with the Voter Information Project and The Pew Charitable Trusts, makes this data easy for third parties to access and build applications on.” Read more from GovFresh.

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