Why Should I Read This Guide?

The volume of information available in 21st century democracies has made their citizens some of the most informed and empowered people in history. Now, the governments serving this tech-savvy, data-hungry public are under immense pressure to deliver public information as efficiently as Yelp publishes restaurant reviews.

“Open data means taking data that is sitting in the vaults of the government, that the tax payers have already payed for, and jujustu-ing into the public domain as machine-readable fuel for entrepreneurship and innovation.” - Todd Park, U.S. Chief Technology Officer

The good news it that, out of all this demand and pressure, a new technology has emerged to make delivering public information easy and inexpensive: open data.

The field of open data uses new tools like cloud-based technology and APIs to help government agencies get more information out to citizens than ever before. And, they can spend less time and money than ever before to do so.

Forward-thinking governments have already embraced and begun to experiment with this burgeoning field. They’ve created real-time dashboards with government performance metrics, APIs to help developers build apps using public information, and more.

The open data movement is gaining strength every day, and the lessons learned by its pioneers are now coming to light. Socrata has taken the time to talk to these leaders and collect their learnings into one resource, “The Open Data Field Guide.” We hope that it helps you think through your options, get advice from the best in the field, and use proven tools to reach success with your open data initiative as quickly as possible.

Need greater transparency, access, and speed on a budget? Start here.

Who Should Read this Guide?

Any person involved in serving the public good as a member of a government entity, nonprofit, or non-governmental organization (NGO) can benefit from reading the “Open Data Field Guide.”

For those in government, the push for greater transparency has not just come from citizens. Since the start of his presidency, President Obama has promoted transparency and accountability across all of government. Obama issued his first executive order, the Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government, on January 21, 2009. It called for more transparent, participatory, and collaborative government.

And, the message in the memorandum was intended not just for federal government agencies but city, county, and state, as well. Leaders in open data have emerged in cities like Chicago and counties like Montgomery County in Maryland. Within each of those entities are thousands of government employees, at all levels of leadership, who have a role to play in the open data movement. And, all of them could benefit from reading this guide.

Other audiences include:

  • Elected officials looking to make history and move their constituency’s experience with government into the 21st century.
  • Those involved in education administration who want to make decision based upon facts.
  • Leaders of governments outside of the U.S.