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City of Madison Launches Open Data Platform

From the journal, Government Technology:

On Jan. 8, city officials announced the launch of its open data ordinance and a more accessible open data platform. Thus far, only one other city in the country, New York City, has implemented an ordinance mandating widespread government release of data, according to officials.

The city, officials said, is making open data projects a high priority. The new ordinance will require agencies to eventually release most of their data in raw format and make it available for download through the city's new open data Web portal.

Though the city made open data available in the past, the effort was far less comprehensive and the data was not in a format that developers could easily use, said CIO Paul Kronberger. "We recognize that this data has been created with public funds," he said, "so it rightfully belongs to the public and should be made available to the public."

Almost all city data will be made available, he said, with the exception of personally identifying information and any data prohibited to be released by existing regulations. In some cases, the city will further support software developers by providing access to APIs through the new portal, Kronberger said, and will look for opportunities to work with local developers.

Another benefit to the Web portal, Kronberger said, is that the city will field fewer formal requests for data because it will already be openly available to those who need it on the portal. Not all city data will be made available at once, but the city plans to gradually make most data available, Kronberger said.