Nashville launches open data portal


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Music City is opening up.

Nashville Mayor Karl Dean signed an executive order Monday increasing public access to government data via the city’s new open data portal.

“This site is the destination for the public to access metro government data in a new way,” Dean said. “We have seen how mobile apps have become integrated into our lives on a day-to-day basis. Our new open data portal will enable software developers to create new mobile apps that the entire Nashville community can benefit from.”

The portal launched Monday with 20 different datasets from 15 city departments, with some of them including locations of bus stops, public Wi-Fi, public art, beer permits and historic markers, as well as building permits and city employee salaries. Additional datasets will be added over time, Dean said.

The publicly available data portal hosts government data in open, machine-readable formats with the goal that civic technologists and entrepreneurs will use it to generate new products and services, build businesses and develop community resources in partnership with government.

Nashville joins the many local, state and federal agencies across the country that have created open data portals in recent years to partner with the community in taking advantage of new technology platforms, to be responsive to community members interested in civic data and to increase transparency and accountability in local government.

“This open data initiative also will benefit metro internally by allowing departments to share data across agencies to facilitate interdepartmental collaboration,” said Keith Durbin, Nashville’s chief information officer. “The executive order directs each metro department to assign someone as a data coordinator and together they will work as an open data team.”

Socrata Inc., responsible for portals in some of the country’s largest cities, will host Nashville’s open data portal.

The signing of the executive order comes just weeks before the White House’s second annual National Day of Civic Hacking, a nationwide event in which Nashville will be one of approximately 100 cities taking part. The city is expected to have about 150 people attend its local event.

“We are excited to coordinate the Nashville event for the National Day of Civic Hacking and are looking forward to exploring metro government’s new open data portal and datasets over the weekend,” said Amber Adams of the Code for America-affiliated Nashville Civic Brigade. “We anticipate several prototypes of new mobile apps to be developed, such as a walking tour of Nashville’s historic markers and the city’s public art collection.”

Jacques Woodcock, co-coordinator of the National Day of Civic Hacking event, added: “Access to data from metro government allows community members who like to code to act on their civic pride of living in Nashville in a unique way. Nashville’s active software developer community is always looking for interesting datasets to work with to create new apps.”

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Open Data, Open Government, State & Local News, States, Tennessee