Open Data – Can it actually help you do your job better?

We talk about the values of open data all the time — openness and transparency. But can it actually help you do your job better?

The makers behind opensource technology company Open Plans says yes.

Philip Ashlock is the program manager at OpenPlans. He told Chris Dorobek on the DorobekINSIDER program how OpenPlans works.

OpenPlans builds open source civic infrastructure.

  1. Helps create transparency – which holds people accountable.
  2. Opens up data for practical everyday purposes. Help feds actually do their job better by sharing best practices and programs government can do more with less.

Biggest Challenge: “In order to make open government successful you need a cultural shift. It takes time to spread understanding in a deep comprehensive way across the public sector,” said Ashlock.

“Government can only do so much on its own, it really has to be thought of as a community that involves all of us,” said Ashlock.

One of the big projects that Ashlock headed up was the Open311 program. He writes, “Open311 offers a way for cities across the country to adopt open, best-practice standards for collecting, managing, and sharing non-emergency information. At the core of this work is the belief that individual municipalities are often too silted, and that by creating platforms for technology sharing, cities can improve their residents’ quality of life.”

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Profile Photo Eric Koch

I agree with helps to create transparency to hold people accountable. If I’m not mistaken there is some legislation that’s already passed the House of Representatives and was in the Senate on ‘the DATA Act.’ I thought the functionality and idea seemed pretty cool, but was a little unsure about the traffic to the website where people would take time out of their day to identify questionable spending. Good post.

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