Mayor Announces City’s Open Data Strategic Plan

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SAN FRANCISCO—San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee announced plans for the City’s Open Data Strategic Plan on July 18.  This new framework will strengthen the City’s leadership in Open Data and transforms the policy for government to have a bigger impact on accountability, transparency and efficiency. 

According to a press release from the Mayor’s website, the new plan builds on the March 2013 revisions to the Open Data legislation that was presented by Mayor Lee and Board President David Chiu, asking for accountability in open date by developing the role of Chief Data Officer and Data Coordinators in each City department. The November 2013 revisions brought forward by Supervisor Mark Farrell implemented deadlines to the provisions and to tighten further the City’s Open Data legislation.

“From being one of the first cities with an open data policy to pioneering new uses of open data in partnership with private companies such as Yelp and nonprofits like Code for America, this new plan takes San Francisco to the next level in increasing government transparency and efficiency,” said Mayor Lee. “Open data continues to unleash the creativity of everyday residents so they can help us improve City services that impact our everyday lives.”

The Open Data strategic plan calls for six core strategic goals in a three-year time frame to expand the focus of open data from not just publishing to allowing it to be accessible for better use of the information. Open Data can serve as a platform to: 1) change how San Francisco uses, shares and consumes government data – both externally and internally, 2) transform data into services, and 3) foster continuous improvement in decision-making and the business of government.

“When we revised the Open Data legislation to include the role of Chief Data Officer, our goal was to spur the next phase of open data in San Francisco,” said Board President Chiu. “Our open data plan marks the arrival of that next phase and defines a path forward for increasing government transparency and efficiency by using data.”

“Opening our government data to the public will foster innovation throughout San Francisco, while also improving the quality of life for our residents and strengthening the City’s role in maintaining and growing a strong local economy,” said Supervisor Farrell. “As a leader at the Board of Supervisors in advancing open data and open government initiatives, I believe the release of our City’s new strategic open data plan cements San Francisco’s commitment as a national leader in supporting and promoting open data.”

Former SF Mayor Gavin Newsom in 2009, issued an Open Data Executive Directive that required City Departments to make all non-confidential datasets under their authority available on DataSF, which is the City’s website for government data.

Mayor Lee appointed Joy Bonaguro as the City’s first Chief Data Officer in February 2014 to standardize the City’s data policies amongst the City departments and to ensure the date was more user-friendly and accessible.

“Open data is about more simply posting data sets and building mobile apps,” said Chief Data Officer Joy Bonaguro. “It’s also about transforming how government itself accesses and uses its own data. If we can solve our internal challenges around data use, by definition, we increase the ability of developers, community groups, non-profits and analysts to use our data.”

For more information on the Open Data strategic plan, go to: http://sfmayor.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentID=425

By LaDale Anderson