On September 9th, 2013, Montgomery County’s Government Operations (GO) committee held a work session to discuss the best practices in open data initiatives in Montgomery County. Montgomery County’s open data policy involves providing the public a portal of open datasets for viewing. Also discussed was how this data can be manipulated to benefit the three groups that usually seek out public data, which are residents, businesses, and software developers. The program dataMontgomery releases these datasets, and it is important that they are useful to residents. These public datasets could be applied to current Innovation projects, such as the interactive touchscreen kiosk project, because they can provide data to residents or visitors on command.
The Office of Legislative Oversight (OLO) released a report on July 9th, 2013, regarding best practices in open data. Open data is “making information publicly and easily available to individuals without the need for a government request.” Montgomery County and many other local governments nationwide are adhering to this idea ever since President Obama released new policy initiatives and raised the standards. Government data should be publicly available and accessible, not only available upon request.
In order for the open data policy to be successful, the benefits need to outweigh the costs. Money, time, and effort are required to publish and maintain these datasets. Some current apps running in different cities throughout the country were discussed at the meeting. For example, in New York an app located the available wireless hotspots. In Chicago, an app maps available commercial properties.
The main intent of this session was to get the status of implementation of the open data initiative. Click here to read a summary of the September 9th meeting.