How to get involved in Open Data Day 2016

A map of Open Data Day events happening around the world.

March 5, 2016 is Open Data Day, and it’s right around the corner! Here’s what you need to know about this worldwide effort to support and encourage the use of open data.

What is Open Data Day?

On Open Data Day, people and communities around the world come together to celebrate open data. There are events, hackathons, meetups and other activities to encourage local, regional and national governments across the globe to adopt open data policies. As a What Works City, we encourage you to participate and champion your commitment to open data.

How can my city participate?

There are many ways you can participate in Open Data Day, even if you’re new to open data. The Open Data Day wiki is a valuable resource for ideas and planning. First, check to see if your city is on the list of events. If it is, reach out to the local organizers about how you can help. Maybe you can join an event and meet with civic hackers from your community, or hold a press conference reaffirming your commitment to open data and implementing a strong open data policy. If you don’t see your city, consider hosting your own event — be sure to add it to the wiki, the map and the events spreadsheet.

Need some ideas? Here are a few suggestions for things to do to celebrate Open Data Day in your city.

  • Organize an event or meetup. Bring together members of your community for a presentation, a talk, a round-table event or even a mini hackathon. You can work on anything from updating your local community’s wiki pages, creating a wiki to document the history of your city or mapping something valuable around your city like wheelchair accessible locations. Make sure you take a photo and share it on your city’s social media channels.
  • Sponsor a local hackathon and meet with the developers and technologists in your community. If there’s not one already happening, get in touch with your local Code for America Brigade and ask how you can participate in their CodeAcross event.  
  • Collect public feedback on your draft open data policy. A collaborative process with the public is important to creating a sustainable open data policy.

Looking for something a little smaller?

  • Write an op-ed about your city’s work on open data. Share more about the value of open data specifically for your city, and why the city is pursuing an open data policy or implementing an open data program.
  • Announce a new dataset. Hold a press conference or small event to showcase a newly opened dataset that people can now more easily access.
  • Issue a proclamation demonstrating the city’s commitment to open data.
  • Host a Twitter discussion so that participants can interact with city officials or host an Ask Me Anything Session on reddit. Talk about why your city believes in the power of open data, and about what you hope to accomplish by implementing a policy. Invite the community’s feedback and ideas for what can be done with the data. Designate a hashtag so people can follow the conversation easily.

Where can I learn more?

Go to for more ideas and information about participating in Open Data Day, and make sure you share the results of your event!