Council adopts plan to make more data available online for the public

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

King County took new steps today toward having more County information available for developers to use in smartphone applications. The Metropolitan King County Council unanimously adopted legislation requiring the county to publish high value data sets creating the possibility for people and businesses to disseminate data to the public through the use of technology applications on websites and cell phones.

High value data sets can provide a variety of information ranging from crime statistics to the hourly amount of wastewater treated to bus schedules to the location of the nearest county park could be published on a county website. The adopted legislation requires that by August 1, the Executive transmit an initial list of the high-value data sets that are being considered for on-line publication.

By November 1, the County should have a website on line to make data sets from that list available. The Executive will select existing data to make available on the website. The data must be in an “open format,” which means platform independent, machine readable, and made available to the public without restrictions. The ordinance also includes privacy protections to ensure that any released data is appropriate for unrestricted public disclosure.

Jurisdictions across the country are turning to new forms of technology to give citizens more access to government. San Francisco recently created a website highlighting applications created by the public with access to the cities’ information and providing data to the public. New York City has also created a similar website that provides data from sidewalk cafes to historic houses.


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