The Value of Open Data in your Community

The Value of Open Data in your Community

Emily Cole
on Mar 23, 2012

The Akron Digital Media Center and the Akronist located in the Akron-Summit Public Library provides free citizen journalism training and free classes. They offer a series of classes, and have now chosen to make their course curriculum open data and accesible to the public. Wikipedia defines open data as: "the idea that certain data should be freely available to everyone to use and republish as they wish, without restrictions from copyright, patents or other mechanisms of control. The goals of the open data movement are similar to those of other "Open" movements such as open source, open content, and open access."

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What do you think?

Anonymous
on 2014-08-21T04:19:59+00:00
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Jessica Blaine
on Jun 25, 2013
" "How do you feel about data and do you feel that it's valuable for both local cities and..."
Jill Miller Zimon
on Apr 25, 2012
"I'll respond as both a taxpayer and an elected official: You asked, "How do you feel about data..."
Nancy Reeves
on Apr 25, 2012
"Not local (coincidentally, also NYC), but really cool. An open database of nearly 900,000..."

Emily Cole

Emily Cole - 2014-08-21T04:19:59+00:00 - "The Akron Digital Media Center and the Akronist located in the Akron-Summit Public Library..."

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Jessica Blaine
on Jun 25, 2013 - 10:14 am

 "How do you feel about data and do you feel that it's valuable for both local cities and municipalities to adopt open data policies like NYC?"

Open data policies are extremely important and beneficial for both local cities and municipalities, and should be encouraged and supported; however, opening the data is really just the first step towards empowering both public and private stakeholders. The key is not only to make more data available, but to make it easily accessible as well

There is already a wealth of information out there at county and municipality levels that could be providing some valuable insights to those looking to make positive changes in their communities; however, it is incredibly time-consuming to gather for analysis. It is distributed in hundreds of different formats (if it is even distributed at all) and is often buried throughout thousands of obscure sources and databases. This inaccessibility means that only those with years of training in data collection and analysis will be able to find it, let alone put it to good use. 

Even sources such as the Census Bureau's American Fact Finder, which was developed for easy navigation of census data, are incredibly difficult and time-consuming to utilize.

I fully support the idea of opening data up and encouraging consistent data reporting at local city and municipality levels. Opening the data will mean that more entrepreneurs like 360-Public.com, who developed free web tools that makes open community data easier to access and analyze,  will start to emerge and (hopefully) empower local municipality leaders / decision-makers, as well as the general public, to become more engaged and improve the quality of life in their communities.

We can't stop there though. We have to remember that data is only as good as the insights it provides, and unless we make sure it is distributed in a format that is both easily accessible and practical, there isn't much chance of it being put to good use.   

 
Nancy Reeves
on Apr 25, 2012 - 8:01 am

Not local (coincidentally, also NYC), but really cool.

An open database of nearly 900,000 photos beginning in the 1800s of New York City.

An article with about 20 images - some of them really amazing

 
Emily Cole
on Mar 23, 2012 - 10:12 am

The City of New York provides the public with hundreds of sets of public data from the cities agencies and City organizations. Locally the Akron Digital Media Center is an awesome example of providing open data for the cities residents. How do you feel about data and do you feel that it's valuable for both local cities and municipalities to adopt open data policies like NYC?

 

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Jill Miller Zimon
on Apr 25, 2012

I'll respond as both a taxpayer and an elected official: You asked, "How do you feel about data and do you feel that it's valuable for both local cities and municipalities to adopt open data policies like NYC?"

I love data, I feel that it's INvaluable for cities & municipalities to adopt open data policies like NYC, and there are a few tiny baby steps being taken around our region to do so but absolutely nothing near what it needs to be.  And our elected officials need to be pressed on this. Cuyahoga County and others have made statements prioirtizing the idea of open data and has made strides in actually treating data as open. But in general, our region has a LONG way to go in culture, mindset and action on this front. I hope we can have another TAP Summit - I know some area folks are going to Transparency Camp in about 10 days - I was invited and would have love to have gone but just couldn't make it happen this year.

 
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