Opportunity Project

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A Better Way to Release Your City’s Data

Chris Bousquet | Data-Smart City Solultions | May 23, 2017

Open data has immense potential to catalyze creative problem solving by practitioners and policymakers, but troves of vaguely-labeled spreadsheets will do little to inspire interest or facilitate innovative solutions. To unlock the value of open data, governments have begun to launch open datasets in themed releases, which contain data and additional context about a specific policy area. These open datasets have two distinct advantages: a more useful and navigable platform for users and better marketing appeal to practitioners focused on the policy area...

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What Can You do with Open Data?

Play a word association game and the word "open" will almost surely be followed by "source." And open source is certainly an important force for preserving user freedoms and access to computing. However, code isn't the only form of openness that's important. Open data has been discussed for at least a decade. At the OSCON conference in 2007, Tim O'Reilly kicked off a bit of a ruckus when he suggested that open data might actually be more important than open code. Open data in this context mostly referred to the ability to export the user-created "Web 2.0" data, which was becoming important at that time. Tim Bray, then at Sun Microsystems, highlighted the issue when he wrote...