I am a firm believer in the public being able to access data that it is paying for through taxes (with the exception of sensitive data). That being said, having access to civic data is imperative to the ability to check and balance our government(s). Technically Philly has an article about a civic hacker who requested a data set from Philadelphia Traffic Court because he wanted to analyze the data to look for cases where violations were pleaded down to lesser charges/fines. He was told that it would cost $11,000 for the consulting firm in charge of the server where the data was hosted to make a specialized data dump. Pennsylvania has a “Right To Know” law on the books but Philadelphia’s court system has their own public access policy which allows it to pass the cost of the unique data pull onto the requester. So in essence, the court system is making data difficult to access by imposing a fee.
Any thoughts on this topic?
Here’s the story.
For those of you who are interested in free training for QGIS. I am currently enrolled in the course.
Finding sources of open data can be a little cumbersome because there are so many ways to find data. There are a lot of websites that house data. For instance, let’s say that you are looking for data on the bike routes in Philadelphia. One place you can look at is Open Data Philly which is a portal that provides access Philadelphia based data sets, APIs, and applications. You can search amongst the over 170 datasets or even submit or nominate a dataset to be included on the site. A quick search on the site shows that there are 6 datasets related to biking ranging from bike rack locations to commuting routes. Many large cities and counties are have websites where they store open data for their municipalities.
Here are some sites for local/federal government data:
Philadelphia: Open Data Philly
New York City: NYC Open Data
Boston: City of Boston
District of Columbia: Open Data Catalog
U.S. Government: Data.gov
This afternoon I came across this post from the blog “The Daily Positive”. The author is a speaker and entrepreneur who blogs about social media, positivity and business. I thought that this post on “Writing a Business Plan in a Week” was informative and concise. He shares a data visualization from the Washington State University that I plan on sharing when I am out teaching about data and business plans.