The Office of Civic Innovation has been hard at work to push forward open data policies in the city. Below is just a taste of what we’ve been working on.
The next phase of Open Data:
- In October of 2012, Mayor Lee announced proposed revisions of San Francisco’s historic 2009 Open Data legislation. This proposed legislation will help inform new standards for how the City handles data contracts with vendors to ensure that the data remains open for all San Franciscans to access and build open.
- Another key of the new legislation is the creation of the position of a Chief Data Officer. The Chief Data Officer will lead San Francisco’s Open Data efforts, interfacing between City departments, private companies, and the public. San Francisco becomes only one of three cities in the U.S. to have the position of a Chief Data Officer. In addition to the Chief Data Officer, each City department will have a data coordinator to champion Open Data efforts within their department.
- Mayor Lee also announced a new ground-breaking collaboration between City government and private industry partners. Motionloft, a real-world analytics company, will contribute a portion of their rich datasets to the City’s Open Data portal, DataSF. They are the first private business to partner with San Francisco in opening City-related data to the public.
- The proposed legislation is available on github.
Ongoing and past efforts:
- Mayor Gavin Newsom enacted the nation’s first open data legislation in 2009 (Executive Directive 09-06), and the Board of Supervisors expanded on this work in 2010 with the passage of the City’s Open Data Policy (Ordinance 293-10).
- Created open data portal, DataSF, for publicly available City data sets. To date, over 200 data sets have been uploaded, and developers have created dozens of applications making use of them.
- As directed by the 2010 ordinance, we have drafted open data policies and standards for all City departments to follow. Throughout the drafting process, we worked with and solicited feedback from COIT and our Working Group (see below), and are now pursuing a legislative path. These policies will be opened for public review and feedback and presented as an ordinance before the Board of Supervisors.
- MOCI convened a working group with representation from the Mayor’s office, the Board of Supervisors, SPUR, Code for America, the Department of Technology and other groups to further open data efforts across the City and to work on the Open Data Policies and Standards.
- The Department of Technology is working with Socrata to create tools to standardize and automate some of the current processes for uploading data sets to our online open data portal, DataSF. Additionally, they are looking at additional educational tools to help users more efficiently and effectively share their data.
- MOCI is working with the City Attorney’s office to draft language to update our software contracts and purchasing requirements to ensure that any new software purchased by the City be capable of storing and publishing data to DataSF and that the city retains rights to the data.
- MOCI is working with the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors to transition to searchable PDF formats for all meeting agendas, minutes, and associated documents posted on the Board of Supervisors’ website.
Why Open Data is good for government and good for citizens:
- Open and accessible government is fundamental to successful representative democracy.
- The Internet has become a powerful tool for improving government’s transparency through the release of government documents and data, as well as improved communication channels between government officials and citizens.
- An open data policy provides numerous benefits for both government and the public, such as enhanced government transparency and accountability, development of new analyses, applications, and civic tools based on City data, increased civic engagement, social and economic benefits as a result of innovative resident interaction with government, empowerment of citizens through democratization of information, increased government efficiency and delivery of services, and more.
We’d like to thank two of our summer fellows, Kristina Redgrave and Kat Lau, for their hard work on these projects. We’d also like to acknowledge the work of the Sunlight Foundation, the Open Government Working Group, New York City’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT), and our working group partners, all of which greatly informed our efforts.