What’s the biggest challenge for government leaders who want to leverage shared and open data to improve their communities and the lives of their citizens? It may be figuring out where to start. That’s because the possibilities are virtually unlimited.
Transportation, public safety, barking dogs, waste collection - these are just some of the common problems plaguing our cities.
Cities and other public entities, by their nature, collect all manner of information on just about anything and everything that happens within their purview – tax payments, marriage licenses, food safety inspections, transit ridership, crime reports, court records, library cards, pet licenses, abandoned properties, disease outbreaks, new businesses, energy and water consumption, building permits and on and on.
Most of this information has been collected over the years at taxpayer expense, and at least some of it has been available for public review. But accessing and sharing it efficiently was a challenge in the days of paper-based record-keeping. Now that we are in the era of cloud-based electronic record-keeping, a plethora of data sets are now at our finger tips. By unlocking these data sets and posting them online, they can be easily accessed, analysed, manipulated and shared.
So all of that data cities and other government agencies routinely collect is like the Mother Lode just waiting to be mined. The opportunity to generate greater social and economic value to citizens from this resource is endless. However, the barriers to unleashing this opportunity are often very pointed.
The sensitivity of data privacy, the concern about what the data tells us, the lack of knowledge and resources to effectively identify and then generate value from data assets. The barriers are many.
We believe that data leadership can help overcome these barriers, and unlock opportunity.