Mayor Emanuel Ushers in New Era in City Data Access

Reported by Walter Baumann:

Mayor Emanuel has moved quickly to have city agencies assemble and distribute data from their operations. This data will also be used internally for data  analysis to improve city decision-making and management. To carry out these missions, he has appointed a Chief Data Officer who will be working with an Open Data Advisory Group made up of data coordinators from each City agency.

The agencies will be expected to publish public data sets on a regular basis. In addition to providing information regarding the functioning of the city executive, it is expected that the released data will serve as a platform for the creation of innovative tools that will improve the lives of all residents.

To improve City operations, the Mayor has launched a citywide data collection project that is being funded by a grant from the Chicago-based , MacArthur Foundation. It will consolidate the data into a singular data platform for analysis that can inform decision-making and improve operations.

In a December 14, press release the Mayor announced the release of an unprecedented amount of data on the City’s procurement process. This will include  “…posting all winning and losing bids and proposals submitted by vendors online anytime a contract is awarded, including all line items of competitive bids.  DPS will start posting these documents online during the first quarter of 2013…”

Two other initiatives will go beyond just the City of Chicago. “” will combine public data from Chicago and  multiple local governments and the State into a single portal. Moving beyond the local geography, the City is partnering with New York, San Francisco , Seattle and the federal government on an initiative called “Cities.Data.Gov”. This portal is designed to help city officials and developers, working together, to improve the information available to their residents.

The efforts on all these extensive data collection and distribution initiatives, does lend much credibility to the Emanuel administration’s commitment to fostering real transparency and accountability.

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