North Carolina opens up data, teams up with outside groups to build apps

North Carolina CIO Chris Estes discusses his department’s efforts to work with a Code for America brigade to create apps to run on the state’s website.

North Carolina Chief Information Officer Chris Estes believes that “data is the future currency,” and now he’s working to make as much of the state’s information available for innovation as possible.

Increasingly, Estes said his staff is opening up their data sets to outside groups to let them take advantage of it. He notes that his team works particularly closely with local “Code for America” brigade, “Code for Raleigh,” and even allows them to hold monthly meetings in the state’s new Innovation Center.

By helping the group get access to the state’s health data, Estes hopes they’ll soon be able to use it to develop tools that the state can use to help the public.

“They’ve actually been coding applications that run on our websites,” Estes told StateScoop at the National Association of State Chief Information Officers’ annual conference in October. “One, for example, is where flu shots are. They’re using the GIS mapping capability and building a nice little applet that will run on our website that shows a visual representation of where someone can get a free flu shot.”