Council Member Glidden makes case for more open data

City Council Member Elizabeth Glidden (8th Ward) is pushing to make open data collected by the city more easily accessible online.

The Ways & Means/Budget Committee approved her staff directive during today’s 2014 budget markup session. The open data directive reads as follows: 

Direct all city departments to make data available online using open standards; further direct that the Information Technology Director convene a working group to include the City Coordinator and key department staff, with feedback from the Information Technology Executive Group, to develop a policy and implementation schedule for the “Open Data Directive,” and report on progress to the Ways & Means Committee and Information Technology Policy Committee starting in March 2014 and at regular intervals thereafter

Glidden noted that many cities around the country have made significant progress in open data initiatives. “This is jumping on a wagon that is going down the road in many other cities,” she said. 

When asked by Committee Chair and Mayor-elect Betsy Hodges about the cost implications of posting more data sets online, Glidden said the costs would be low. The city already has many of the resources needed to make data more accessible online.

Cities like Chicago and New York have extensive websites with detailed information about budgets, crime and much more. 

Many people have been pushing for Minneapolis leaders to make city government more transparent. It was an issue often raised by mayoral candidate Stephanie Woodruff, vice chair of the city’s Audit Committee, on the campaign trail. 

In January 2013, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group gave Minneapolis a D- for spending transparency. Minneapolis lacks checkbook-level spending databases, which allows the public to review individual expenditures. The databases are more common in larger cities.