City of Los Angeles launches open data pilot and survey

Upon election, I wondered whether Mayor-Elect Eric Garcetti would reboot Los Angeles city government for the 21st century. After 4 months, there are several promising green shoots to report.

First, Mayor Garcetti vowed to modernize city government in the City of Angels, posting agency performance statistics online and reviewing all departments. Now, the City of Los Angeles has launched its own open data pilot project using ESRI’s ArcGIS platform.

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For veterans of such efforts, a portal to mapping data may not be particularly exciting or useful, but it’s a start. Notably, the city has put up an online survey where people can request other kind of city data and suggest changes or improvements to the pilot website.

Here’s a few suggestions:

1) Study how the cities of Chicago and New York cleaned, published and used data, including market demand.

2) Talk to the data desk at the Los Angeles Times. If you want your city’s performance data to be used by media for accountability and transparency, address their concerns.

3) Make a list of every single request for data made by journalists in Los Angeles under the California Records ActRelease the data and proactively publish that type of data going forward.

4) If your goal is economic outcomes from open data, review all requests for city data from businesses and prioritize release of those data sets. Engage startups and venture capitalists who are consuming open data and ask about quality, formats and frequency of release.

5) Check out New York City’s gorgeous new open data site and the ongoing release of more data sets. Set those free, too.

6) Check out the new NYC.gov, Utah.gov and gov.uk in the United Kingdom for ideas, principles and models. Of note: the use of open standards, citizen-centricity, adaptive Web design, powerful search, focus on modern design aesthetic.

Good luck, LA!

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