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Council newcomers supportive of open data

Posted by: Eric Roper Updated: November 14, 2013 - 3:37 PM

Open data advocates have much to look forward to in the next City Council.

Several of the council's incoming members have said the city should make more data about the city available online in easily readable formats. Newcomers Blong Yang, Andrew Johnson and Linnea Palmisano agreed that the city is not currently doing enough in this area, according to a survey from Open Twin Cities.

Johnson, a systems engineer by trade, pointed to Chicago's data.cityofchicago.org, which contains reams of data on everything from crime and city spending to the locations of all grocery stores (pictured) and bike racks. Johnson and others have called for the city's checkbook-level spending details -- a ledger of sorts -- to be posted online.

"Account-level spending details, summarized council member voting information, landlord violations, permits, public safety, industry data, energy usage, restaurant inspections, GIS, traffic, public health, transit usage, and real-time data when available," Johnson wrote of the datasets he'd like to see made available.

Palmisano said that holding back public data "protects no one" and having more data available is "a better alternative."

"I also believe that both the media and citizens shouldn’t have to submit a 'data practices' request and wait months in order to get data from the city," Palmisano wrote. "The irony is that the city has spent millions of dollars in the IT department but accessibility hasn’t improved for citizens."

Yang wrote that the city's response time to providing data "must be improved dramatically."

Designer and software engineer Tony Webster has a roundup of the responses from the winners. See the full responses to the survey -- including candidates who did not win -- here.

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