August 29, 2013 | by

A Call for Local, Open Data

Open DataThis past May, President Obama issued an executive order requiring that going forward, any data generated by the federal government must be made available to the public in open, machine-readable formats. And last week, White House officials announced expanded technical guidance to help agencies make even more data accessible to the public.

The steps that the federal government has taken in opening up its data are a good start—but it’s only a start. As former Speaker Tip O’Neill famously said, “all politics is local.” In order for all citizens to truly benefit from open data, every city, county, and state needs to make their data more accessible. We’ve seen what happens when they do.

There have been a ton of incredible civic tools that have been made possible because of local open data efforts. Earlier this year, Contra Costa County in California launched the PulsePoint mobile application. The app notifies smartphone users who are trained in CPR when someone nearby may be in need of the lifesaving procedure.

Another great app out of Boston is the Adopt-a-Hydrant mobile application. The app maps out where fire hydrants are all throughout the city, so volunteers can help dig them out of the snow during the winter. This saves firefighters wasting valuable time hunting for these hydrants during fires. And what’s great about the app is it could work anywhere in the country, provided cities make their data accessible.

This past June, my company, Appallicious launched the Neighborhood Score app with San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee at the US Conference of Mayors (USCM) in Las Vegas. This one-of-a-kind app provides an overall health and sustainability score, block-by-block for every neighborhood in the city of San Francisco. Neighborhood Score uses local, state, and federal data sets to allow residents to see how their neighborhoods rank in everything from public safety, to quality of schools, crime rates, air quality, and much more.

We must go local with open data.

Read the full story by Yo Yoshida at Techwire.net