Minneapolis debates value of open data policy


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Leaders in Minneapolis, Minnesota, are debating a new open data policy that would create an open data portal, which city departments and agencies would be responsible for populating with city information.

The policy will be presented on Wednesday to a Minneapolis City Council committee. If passed, the portal must be made available within 120 days of the bill’s enactment, although what data will be uploaded will be left to the discretion of city departments.

“This is really positioning us for being up there in the nation in terms of transparency,” said council member Andrew Johnson, a former systems engineer who has helped lead the open data initiative, in an interview with the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Johnson told the paper some departments have already shown interest, particularly the Department of Health and Regulatory Services, which controls data on a variety of topics, including health code inspections and landlord violations.

With that said, other departments have expressed concerns about committing staff resources, releasing inaccurate data or having data misinterpreted.

If the policy were enacted, starting in 2015, all new contracts for the city would include provisions to ensure that data can be published when appropriate. Each department would also have to assign an open data coordinator to facilitate uploading data and serve on an advisory group.

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Minnesota, States