MINNEAPOLIS (Aug. 1, 2014) — The Minneapolis City Council and Mayor Betsy Hodges today approved the City’s first open data policy that sets in motion the creation of an open data portal so new kinds of City data can be accessed online by the public.
Up until now, if residents or reporters wanted much of this information, they had to formally request it from the City.
“I know in other cities, entrepreneurial residents have been able to add value to City data by creating their own smartphone applications,” said Mayor Betsy Hodges. “This could be the first step in a new phase of community participation in running the city well. I thank Council Vice President Elizabeth Glidden and Council Member Andrew Johnson for their leadership on this issue, which will not only improve community engagement, but transparency and efficiency as well.”
“Open data is becoming the norm in cities and counties across the country and we have many engaged and tech-savvy residents here in Minneapolis who have been waiting for this day,” said Council Vice President Elizabeth Glidden. “Engaging our residents and giving them access to more City data could help us all find solutions to some of our issues and I look forward to seeing how the public uses this data to help make Minneapolis city government more efficient and effective.”
“This is a great step forward to help increase transparency and accessibility to City information,” said Council Member Andrew Johnson. “The possibilities are endless for how creative minds in our community can work with this data to make it useful for residents, businesses, and visitors. This will enable greater collaboration and empower community members to help the City achieve its goals. I’m excited to see how this opportunity is utilized and watch our culture and City change for the better.”
Minneapolis now joins 38 states and 46 cities and counties that have open data portals that have made several hundred to thousands of data sets available to the public. By making the City of Minneapolis’ data available online, the public can use it in a variety of ways, including to help identify efficient solutions for government, to promote innovative strategies for social progress and to create economic opportunities. Common uses of open data across the country include the development of web and smartphone applications such as applications that show when busses will arrive at a bus stop, where crime is happening, where public bikes are available and results of city inspections.
The approved policy states that a City open data portal will go live online within 120 days. All data sets published on the open data portal will use a format that permits processing of the data for download through an application programming interface (API). City departments will work to make an initial set of data available when the portal comes online, and additional data sets will be added over time.
Beginning in 2015, all new City contracts will need to include provisions to ensure data sets can be made public when appropriate. City departments will also assign an open data coordinator to manage publishing departmental data.
As part of the approval of the 2014 budget, the City Council directed staff to develop an open data policy for the city. The Information Technology department created the Open Data Group made up of department staff, Council Member Andrew Johnson, and subject matter experts from outside City government.