The city of San Francisco made a move yesterday to open their data widely for public use and to encourage creative solutions that make the data more widely used by citizens. The new data site launched with a press conference and a guest column from Mayor Gavin Newsome in Tech Crunch.
The stated aims for the DataSF.org open data clearinghouse are to:
(1) improve access to data
(2) help the community create innovative apps
(3) understand what datasets you’d like to see
(4) get feedback on the quality of the datasets
In the TechCrunch column, Newsome indicated that the impetus for the creation of the site is the data transparency efforts by the Obama administration and the nation’s CIO Vivek Kundra. The site includes more than 100 datasets, including Police, Public Works, and the Municipal Transportation Agency data. The many examples of potential solutions mostly have a location component, such as the ability to cross reference crime data with real estate information to deliver the safest neighborhood data to renters, and the ability to show restaurant inspection data to people wandering the city and looking for a place to eat.
This is an exciting development for more open government data, and it includes a wide number of GIS datasets with a tab at the top to find geography data. There are a wide variety of data sets such as the city shoreline, city Basemap with street centerlines, planning, zoning, schools, neighborhoods, survey points, elevation, seismic zones, etc. There are data collected geographically such as crime locations and Census data for the city.
Putting all this information into an easy to find portal should certainly spur a number of new applications to better serve the city’s citizens.