Last week, the City of Philadelphia’s Open Data Advisory Group met to discuss three data inventories which were recently made available by the Streets Department, Licenses and Inspections, and the Programs Division of Parks and Recreation. The Streets Department’s inventory includes 101 data sets. Licenses and Inspections’ inventory includes 69 data sets. Parks and Recreation Programs inventory includes 16.
As the City does not have the resources to publish every existing data set at once, data releases are prioritized based on their value to data-users and the needs of the department releasing the data. To begin this process, the open data team works with a department to conduct an inventory of existing data sets. This inventory includes a description of each data set and classification of whether or not it contains sensitive material. Once the inventory is complete, it is released to the public for feedback and comments on which data sets would be most valuable, if released. The Open Data Advisory Group then meets to sift through the inventory and public comments to give its own feedback on the value of certain data. The open data team brings this feedback back to the department to prioritize data sets for release.
The Open Data Advisory Group was formed as part of the City’s new open data process. Comprised of representatives from internal and external organizations, the group was created to ensure that data-using communities had a representative voice in the City’s open data process. The advisory group meets quarterly to advise the City’s open data team on when and how data should be released, based on their communities’ needs.
The Open Data Advisory Group does not only discuss data inventories in its quarterly meetings. During last week’s meeting, the group received an update on recent data releases and events, learned about the City’s use of Socrata software in its open data process, and heard from the City’s Chief Geospatial Information Officer, Mark Wheeler, on the City’s G.I.S. initiatives.
The Open Data Advisory Group is comprised of representatives from City departments and external data-using communities. Last Friday’s meeting included the following internal members:
- Jim Garrow, Department of Public Health
- Adam Johnson, Licenses and Inspections
- John Curtis, Managing Director’s Office
- Andy Viren, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation
The meeting included the following external members:
- Garrett O’Dwyer, Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations
- Atul Shah, Philadelphia Health IT Circle
- Kate Hagedorn, Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce
- Yannick Baudru, SEPTA
- Paul Carrion, Committee of Seventy
- Gabrielle Connor, Econsult
In addition to providing their own feedback on data inventories, advisory group members were also able to ask clarifying questions about data sets and departmental processes from representatives from the Licenses and Inspections and Streets Department, who were present at the meeting. The Open Data Advisory Group meets on a quarterly basis and will meet again in September.
The next step in the City’s process is for the open data team to meet with Streets, Licenses and Inspections, and Parks & Recreation department heads to prioritize a batch of releases with the public and advisory group feedback at-hand. You can provide feedback on the Citywide data inventory here. All released data sets are housed on OpenDataPhilly, the catalog of open data in the Philadelphia region.