Socrata Contributes to Civic Data Standards

October 17, 2013 8:58 am PST | Data as a Service

By Ian Kalin



Socrata is excited to help cities develop and implement open data standards that improve government efficiency and accelerate business growth. With Socrata’s platform, cities can immediately join the growing ecosystem of open data standards such as HouseFacts, LIVES, and Open 311 — standards supported by the national nonprofit, Code for America.

People benefit from technical standards every day. They are what allow drivers to buy gas from any station without fear of using incompatible fuels and standards are what allow a text message from a Verizon phone to be transmitted to an AT&T phone. Civic data standards operate in a similar manner, but their use within modern applications is relatively new. The most popular one in use today is the General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS). GTFS allows users of Google Maps to know when the next bus is going to arrive within participating cities. To help create and scale adoption of civic data standards, Socrata has created a new Civic Data Standards Playbook. The Playbook, a development and implementation how-to guide, is being made freely available.

“Data standards are the technical languages that allow innovative products from one city to expand to another city,” says Jack Madans, Code for America’s Government Partnerships Manager. “But it’s often difficult for technology departments to implement a new standard. That’s why we are excited to work with Socrata as one of our data standards partners.”

The Code for America Peer Network facilitates the adoption of civic data standards through trainings and direct support. They see open data standards as one of the surest ways to scale the value of open data – and the Peer Network is ready to help troubleshoot the implementation process for local governments.

According to Ian Kalin, Socrata’s Director of Open Data, “Implementing data standards has a strong return on investment for cities. However, every city has a unique set of challenges integrating data for public use. This new civic data standards program is designed to simplify the entire process.”

Socrata held a session at the Code for America Summit, taking place this week in San Francisco, CA, to share more about this new opportunity. Current customers of Socrata can start using this program today and should use the contact links above to get started.

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