The concept of open data is gaining popularity with the wide spread launch of government websites for open data. It is something that is freely available for everyone to use or republish, without the limitations of copyright, patents or other control mechanisms.
Recently it was reported that, the open data web portal of the city of Charlotte is planning to include information on real estate, transportation and the salaries of city employees. They are adopting digitization to convert paper-based documents and make them available online. Similarly, the cities of Chicago and New York have open data portals from the government that allows the public to develop analyses, applications and other tools to improve city government and the lives of residents.
Data.gov, the home page of the U.S government’s open data portal, contains federal, state and local data, tools and resources to conduct research, to build apps, to design data visualizations, and much more. A large number of cities, counties, and states have open data sites and many of them are encouraging these for a variety of reasons.
Reasons for Implementing Government Open Data Portals
- Governments usually have laws to provide the data citizens may be looking for. But the process can be slow, cumbersome, and ineffective. Following the tenets of open data allows information to be easily available and accessible to the general public.
- Freely accessible information can transform city, states, and countries, as industrious people can do smart things with it. With the reuse of transparent data, it is possible to bring new capabilities and procedures to work environments, processes and operations.
- It lets anyone dig into the required details and understand the happenings in a city. For instance, an architect curious about a new construction project can access the information on the present status of the project, the estimated time for its completion, and much more.
- In addition to citizens doing more with accessible information, the government can perform better by processing data. Hiring employees with data analysis skills can help in developing governing strategies and in decision making.
- The prime attraction of the concept is that the data access is really inexpensive.
Adequate access to data can avoid a lot of problems many governments are facing and help in smart decision making. Not only government officials, but the general public also can identify issues, form the right inferences and work towards effective solutions.