Project of the Week: Open Colorado

In honor of our Denver GovUp coming up tomorrow evening, GovLoop wanted to shine a spotlight on a sweet project coming out of the Rocky Mountains called Open Colorado. Launched just a couple months ago by Colorado Smart Communities, Open Colorado “seeks to give a way into the wealth of government data…drawing on the expertise from those before us mainly data.gov.uk and data.gov.”

When creator Sean Hudson first contacted us about it, he described it this way:

“We are in early stages of working with many different Colorado government agencies to collaborate on a state-wide data catalog and developing tools that anyone can use to embed their own data on their own site.”

Here’s an interview Sean did with CivSource way back in May. Since that interview, they’ve been busy! Here’s a short list:
Here’s a bit more about the project below (largely taken from their website):

What is Colorado Smart Communities?

Our goal is to utilize technology to transform Colorado government at all levels (state, county, and city) to be more transparent, accountable, and accessible. We are comprised of both public and private sector professionals. We are like a think tank, educational resource, and open source technology community all rolled into one. If you are a government employee, concerned citizen, journalist, programmer, hacker, elected official, vendor, or techie interested in how you can participate in transforming government in Colorado, we encourage you to join our group.

What’s your approach?

That’s best stated in bullets:

  • Working with the web
  • Keeping things simple:
    • Make the smallest possible changes
    • Make the web work better
  • Working with the grain:
    • We are not looking to rebuild the world.
    • We appreciate that some things take time; others can be done relatively quickly.
    • Everything has it’s own time and pace;
  • Using open standards:
    • open source and open data
    • a modular, sustainable system
  • Building communities:
    • working with and through them
    • both inside government and outside

Over the coming months the site will be developing further as we incorporate visitor feedback and thoughts.

How can someone get involved?

There are a number of ways of getting involved in the project, dependent on your background or interest.

For example:

  • Ideas: let us know any ideas you would like to see someone build as applications? Tell the community via the Ideas page and someone might just pick up the challenge!
  • Applications: have you built something cool with our data? Share it with us through the Apps page. You never know who might get excited!
  • Visualisations: one of the challenges is making data come to life. Have you found a great way of displaying our data? Does it combine with other data to give a new insight? Show us your talent?
  • Architecture: would you like to help us make this site better? Get in touch!

What else should you know?

They’ve got some great resources that you should check out:

You can also follow and like them on Twitter and Facebook.

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David Fletcher

Being one of few (perhaps the only) states with a formal Chief Data Officer in Micheline Casey, Colorado is making great headway into understanding what a valuable asset state data is and can become. Keep up the good work.