Thursday, June 24, 2010

Free our data

More from the inimitable Data blog from the UK's Guardian is this post with an awful lot of embedded wisdom:  Local government data: lessons from London.  Those who care about data transparency in government, or just transparency period, should read every line.

It's hard to describe just how far we are away from where they are right now.  Even when we do appear to make some progress, we really don't.  Sometimes we come up with some flashy gizmos to present data, but when it comes to a core infrastructure of data transparency it just isn't part of the culture around here at any level of government nor for any local agency or authority.  Sometimes it's a capacity issue; a reflection of our fragmented local government leaving many a small municipality unable to think beyond the most immediate and pressing projects. But that really only explains so much.  Plenty of essential data already is being collected and could easily be made available in the most 'ugly' format (see the article from the UK on that) online..  Once data is available, I bet there are plenty of brilliant minds who can find ways to parse it and present it with the best applications we can dream of.  We typically do this all the other way around:  make the fancy application and never make any progress at getting the underlying data into a public space.  I'd go so far to argue that we have collectively gone backwards and that there was more public data available locally a decade or two ago than there is today. 


Anonymous MH said...

Once data is available, I bet there are plenty of brilliant minds who can find ways to parse it...

Which is so rarely to the benefit of those who have the data right now.

Thursday, June 24, 2010 10:12:00 PM  
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