[Imports] presenting the case for open data to local government?

Serge Wroclawski emacsen at gmail.com
Sat Oct 12 13:47:30 UTC 2013

On Sat, Oct 12, 2013 at 9:20 AM, Daniel Joseph <dan.b.joseph at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi everyone,
> I was wondering if anyone had experience conveying to local government all
> the reasons for opening up data.

This is one of those situations where you have to choose the
person/people you talk to carefully, depending on where you live.

If you live in a large city, then you're going to run up against
different obstacles than you would if you were dealing with a small
town or county government.

In a large city, you want to look for someone in a position such as
public advocate or ombudsman. These people may be more open to hearing
an argument about government transparency and open data. You may also
want to talk to your local city representatives.

The arguments to be made are fairly good, and actually fairly
non-partisan in that you can argue them to either side. For a liberal,
you may want to argue this is the public's data and paid for by public
funds. And for a conservative, or a libertarian, you may want to argue
that this is a matter of government transparency. Obviously the exact
method you use will depend on the individual.

If you live in a small suburban or rural area, you may want to talk to
the GIS department head, or even the mayor about it. In some cases,
you may find that they think the data is already in the public domain.
Or you may find that they are unwilling to modify the license but
would be willing to license the data out to OSM.

- Serge

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