Real-Time Data Program Wins Innovation Award

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I know this is a couple days old, but it hasn’t been mentioned here yet. The District of Columbia’s real-time online data disclosure project was one of six winners of the Innovations in American Government awards given out by the Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation. The project was spearheaded by then-D.C. Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and current federal Chief Information Officer (CIO) Vivek Kundra. You can see the two sites singled out for praise below:

According to the Ash Institute, “this is the first initiative in the country that makes virtually all current district government operational data available to the public in its raw form rather than in static, edited reports.” Real-time data disclosure is becoming far more common in cities across the nation with San Francisco introducing DataSF.org and the New York City legislature examining open data legislation. (Vancouver, Canada has also endorsed the release of city data in raw form.)

Real-time, raw data disclosure is the cutting edge in transparency and government innovation. While the federal government has released Data.gov, a raw data site similar to D.C.’s, there are countless sets of public data compiled by the federal government that are in one or more of the following three categories: 1) Not online; 2) Not in a structured format; 3) Not compiled and disclosed in real-time. As many public data sets as possible should meet these three criteria. For some data it is unreasonable to ask for real-time disclosure. These sets should then, at least, meet the first two.

Side note: It’s great to see my city defy our Rodney Dangerfield-like existence and finally get some respect.

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