Open Data Is Engaging the Community and Driving Collaboration in Nashville

Robyn Mace, the first Chief Data Officer of Metro Nashville, spoke at Socrata Connect in May 2017.

Mace is responsible for helping data coordinators identify, classify, and value their data assets. She also identifies data for performance measurements and metrics.

When Mace arrived in Nashville, they had a data portal, but there was little coordination with employees who were responsible for data quality. Mace helped establish a Data Coordinators Network that helps members learn about each other's assets and find ways to collaborate.

The Socrata platform has helped different departments post commonly requested data, saving time in answering frequent requests. The media has used the portal to report on what the government is doing. Looking ahead, citizens will be able to take part in a citizens data academy to learn how to use the portal and other data analysis tools.

Mace feels that sharing open data, even when the data is not positive, has increased the legitimacy and respect people have for the government.

Socrata has been an easy-to-use, mobile platform for citizens, as well as a crucial partner in technical support of the platform. A recent hackathon showed off the platform and helped citizens learn about the tools, and more hackathons are planned for the future. The portal has been very well received by the community.

The city will soon be reporting on the number and types of datasets they are publishing on a quarterly basis. Mace is excited to expand the assets available on the portal. Her personal dream, "Metro 2027," is to reach a critical mass of data literacy and fluency within the government and among citizens.

Several citizens have volunteered to help manage the open data portal, and the city is working on a way to use their expertise to support the city's needs. The city is also looking forward to a Data Academy and other ways to build modern data literacy skills in the community.

Explore Nashville's open data site at data.nashville.gov