San Francisco Boosts Open Data Efforts

Joshua Sabatini of The San Francisco Examiner reports, "San Francisco has fallen behind in the open-data movement, but city officials say a new proposal will once again put it on the forefront. Three years ago, The City adopted its first open-data ordinance to encourage departments to release their data sets — i.e., restaurant health scores or details on special events in The City. But the effort appears to have wilted, and cities such as New York, Philadelphia and Chicago have since created more aggressive initiatives than San Francisco. 'Unfortunately we have fallen a little bit behind,' said Board of Supervisors President David Chiu. 'We have about 500 city-maintained data sets. But there are literally thousands of data sets that we could put out to the public'.”

He continues, "Chiu said departments are releasing data sets that show them 'in their best light' when the open-data movement is supposed to be about 'where can we improve, take risks and be innovative.' For government watchdogs, the open data can assist in holding city officials accountable. For the technology industry, it can translate into business. On Thursday, the Board of Supervisors Government Audit and Oversight Committee approved legislation introduced by Chiu and Mayor Ed Lee that would create a new city government job, chief data officer, to be appointed by Lee. If the legislation is approved by the full board next week, it also would require each city department to nominate an open-data department coordinator. And departments would be required to disclose the data sets they currently maintain and adopt a schedule for releasing them for public use on The City’s open-data site,"

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