January 18, 2013 By Noelle Knell
Nearly every major city in the U.S. has gotten attention for open data efforts. Government Technology has covered initiatives in Philadelphia, San Francisco and Chicago, as well as smaller cities like Tucson, Ariz., and Madison, Wis., to name just a few.
While few would dispute the benefits of more transparent government operations, the Center for Technology in Government (CTG) in Albany, N.Y., is taking a look at what governments need to consider before releasing data sets for public consumption.
”The idea that it’s a good idea to know what your government is doing is fundamental to democracy, so we think opening government is a phenomenon that needs to be expanded, advanced and encouraged, and has the potential to make our democracy stronger and make our governments more effective,” said CTG Senior Fellow Tony Cresswell.
The Dynamics of Opening Government Data, released last month, looks at what it actually means to release government data sets to the public. Sponsored by software company SAP, the paper evaluates two open data releases – restaurant inspection data in New York City, and road construction information in Edmonton, Alberta.
According to the CTG, governments would be wise to thoughtfully consider which data sets they release. “Picking data resources that have a value proposition both internal to government and externally in the community seem to be the ones with the biggest payoff,” Cresswell explained.
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.