[OSM-talk] presenting the case for open data to local government?

Michal Migurski mike at teczno.com
Wed Oct 16 18:44:17 UTC 2013

On Oct 15, 2013, at 10:20 AM, Michal Migurski wrote:

>> I want to put together a succinct and well-documented argument that I can send along to a city council member/ mayor/ city manager/ etc.
>> Anything you're willing to pass along (comments, suggestions, something you've written up, research, etc) would be much appreciated.
> The cities we work with at Code for America are already pretty much on-board with open data, but the GIS departments and data owners often have reservations. They worry about how the inevitable mistakes in the data will be perceived, about liability, and about a wider community of data users complaining to them.
> ...

Just to follow up on this, last night we got some newsworthy closure on open data policy in Oakland:


"Tonight, the Oakland City Council unanimously approved Councilmember Libby Schaaf’s Open Data Policy, requiring Oakland’s public data to be proactively made available in useable formats, which will empower the citizens of Oakland to better access information and work to improve government."

The pass by consent with no discussion or concern is part of a longer story. Last year, Oakland city council voted on a similar resolution, and ended up eviscerating it. All resolutions were replaced with a decision to kick the can down the road by studying costs (that's bad).


What happened in the intervening year? The cost estimate for putting up a Socrata-run open data site came back low enough that no further city council approval was required. People inside city hall continued to push for open data. Developers and activists outside city hall (http://openoakland.org) met regularly and demonstrated the value and applications of open data. This success was not the result of any particularly documented argument, but the sustained push of a community group.


michal migurski- contact info and pgp key:
sf/ca            http://mike.teczno.com/contact.html

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