Thursday, January 16, 2014

Pittsburgh Considers Open Records

Pittsburgh City Councilwoman, Natalia Rudiak

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak announced a proposal to make a wealth of information -- from the location of potholes, to building permits, to paving schedules -- available to the public on a new city website and for consumption by the tech community who could transform the data into useful apps.

"We want to blow the doors of this building open to provide information," Mr. Peduto said.

The legislation puts the onus on the city to proactively provide public data on the city website -- rather than forcing citizens to endure a cumbersome right-to-know process. That process, outlined under the state's right-to-know law, allows government agencies to wait up to a month or more to release data, even if there's little dispute that it falls within the realm of public information.

By avoiding the administrative process, staff is freed up work on nonpublic access issues.  It will save time for the agency employees, and it will save money for the taxpayers.

If the law passes, Pittsburgh will join several big cities -- such as San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Philadelphia -- in opening its data to the public. Raw data could be perused by the public, but the tech community could also use it to create helpful apps or programs.  In Chicago, for example, programmers developed a website that allows residents to track snow plows during a storm, allowing them to better choose their routes to work.

Pittsburgh ..... moving decidedly forward into the 21st Century!

No comments:

Post a Comment