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To Increase Government Transparency, San Diego Joins the Open Data Movement

August 6, 2014
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To Increase Government Transparency, San Diego Joins the Open Data Movement
Downtown San Diego. Rennett Stowe/Flickr Creative Commons
The city hopes that by sharing more information, additional citizens will get involved in the process of governing.

Help Wanted: A chief data officer.

Employer: The California city of San Diego.

Earlier this month, the City Council’s Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations Committee (ED&IR) approved an open data policy, which means the city will release its data sets, making them free and accessible and begin coordinating open data efforts between departments. To help facilitate this, they’re needing a chief data officer to help hit the ground running.

“It’s time for San Diego to join the open data movement — to get data out of silos at City Hall and realize its potential to spur economic development, improve municipal operations, and enhance public participation in government,” said Councilman Mark Kersey, Vice Chair of the ED&IR Committee.

The policy needs full City Council approval before officials expect it to go into effect no later than October 1 of this calendar year. The San Diego City Council first approved a resolution to create an open data policy in December 2013, when the ED&IR committee began seeking more public input to finalize a draft.

The new policy was presented by San Diego’s Open Data Advisory Group, which includes members of San Deigo’s tech industry. It’s also endorsed by San Francisco-based open data group Code for America, as well as the local advocacy group Open San Diego.

First on the list is to hire a chief data officer and modernize the municipal website, according to San Diego 6.

San Diego is one of dozens of cities across the country marching toward government transparency and connecting with the local tech sector to update the often-antiquated processes of municipality. Earlier this year, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence issued an executive order to create the Management and Performance Hub (MPH) to coordinate data across the state while Chicago’s Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT) has focused on open data through its massive online data portal. Meanwhile Boston and New York have implemented data dashboards, providing real-time reports on everything from crime to education statistics to help local leaders in governing. 

Though creating a policy is just the first step, San Diego’s role is an integral part of a national movement that will reshape how think about government and policy.

MORE: Why Local Governments Are Becoming More Data-Driven

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