When the Philadelphia Public Interest Information Network assumed responsibility for OpenDataPhilly last summer, we did so because we wanted to help it evolve and grow as the best and most useful place to find public information about Philadelphia. Our intention was not to take “ownership” of this important project; rather it was to operate it as a public resource and to continue the collaborative work done by all the public and private groups that built it.
Our brief stewardship of OpenDataPhilly got a huge endorsement this week when the City of Philadelphia announced that it intends to designate ODP as the official city open data portal (subject to completion of a memorandum of understanding). We believe the city’s decision to integrate its data sets with OpenDataPhilly will strengthen the movement toward more open access to public information, and support all the other government agencies, non-profit organizations, businesses, and individuals that are participating by providing open access to useful data.
This step was set in motion by Mayor Michael Nutter, who issued an executive order in April that established new policies for making more city data openly available. Among its requirements were the hiring of a Chief Data Officer and the launch of an Open Data Portal.
Mark Headd was named CDO in August, and we have been meeting since to discuss how ODP could fulfill the role of the city data portal. We agreed that it makes sense to have all the city data sets and APIs cataloged in ODP, along with many other data sets.
In addition to completing the city agreement, one important step remains to be taken. We will be forming an advisory board to help guide us as we refine ODP policies and set priorities for new features for OpenDataPhilly.org. This board will include representatives of the city, the business community and the user communities. We welcome any recommendations you might have.