Boston mayor signs open data executive order


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Beantown is opening up.

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh on Monday signed an executive order to create a more open city government that will make its data available to software developers to create Web pages and mobile applications.

While the city currently has 342 open data sets published on its open data platform, the executive order will pave the way to open much more data for public use as the order calls for the city’s chief information officer to create an open data policy.

According to the executive order, the open data policy will:

“Include guidance for departments on the classification of their data sets as public or protected and a method to report such classification to the CIO.  All departments shall publish their public record data sets on the City of Boston open data portal to the extent such data sets are determined to be appropriate for public disclosure, and/or if appropriate, may publish their public record data set through other methods, in accordance with API, format, accessibility and other guidance of the Open Data Policy.”

Boston has been behind some of the country’s other large cities when it comes to open government. Cities such as San Francisco and New York have already made open data efforts.

The order, though, is a welcome site for open government advocates.

“By ordering city departments to open their data, lots more data collected by the city will be available either for commercial purposes or for study and analysis by academics or activists who might use data to ask questions about fairness and service deliver by the city,” said Ethan Zuckerman, director of MIT’s Center for Civic Media, in an interview with BetaBoston.

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Massachusetts, States