Sunday, February 2, 2014

Minneapolis sees civic push for open data; Minneapolis Star Tribune, 2/1/14

Eric Roper, Minneapolis Star Tribune; Minneapolis sees civic push for open data:
"Residents of Chicago can track their city’s plows and pothole repairs in real time. In Seattle, 911 calls are quickly detailed online. New Yorkers can sift through city contracts with a simple mouse click.
Minneapolis has kept a tight grip on the information it collects even as cities across the country open up streams of public data to developers, journalists and the public. But this past November’s election has spurred calls at City Hall to liberate that data, from food inspections to landlord violations, so it can be analyzed and manipulated for the public good.
“I figured when I came to Minneapolis that I was going to find a liberal, open place — very progressive, etcetera,” Otto Doll, the city’s chief information officer, told a gathering of data enthusiasts last week. “And we are, in certain ways, but not with our data.”...
“Really what this is doing is it’s transforming the way in which a government performs,” says Ian Kalin, open data manager for Socrata, a Seattle-based company that works with governments across the country to open data sets and store them online. He estimates that more than 100 governments in the U.S. have launched open data initiatives, mostly in the past five years.
Socrata works with Chicago, which has released nearly 1,000 data sets. Developers there have created apps that allow the public to dig into detailed crime statistics, research the most active lobbyists, locate vacant buildings and track city legislation."

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