Open data is the lifeblood of civic innovation. With access to realtime data about things like the city’s budget, energy use, crime, traffic, building codes, and water, governments can work smarter and more efficiently to solve problems rather than just follow the same old methods. And the transparent nature of open data allows citizens to take part in the work of making sure the city is running the way it should.
With that preamble in mind, it’s exciting to learn that the Unified Government (UG) of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, has taken the first step at creating an open data platform, beginning with the release of an attractive and intuitive Open Budget Portal.
Built on the OpenGov platform, the tool collects 10 years of government spending and revenue trends that can be examined in various configurations by residents, elected officials and staff. Everything from how much the city made in a year to how much it spent on things like mowing, animal control, and fuel is accessible in the portal. Social media sharing lets users share reports with their fellow data geeks on Facebook and Twitter.
KCK Mayor Mark Holland rightly trumpets the portal as a step toward more innovative governance:
“Innovation is one of the top 3 priorities for my administration” said Holland in a press release earlier this week. “The new OpenGov portal is a game-changing tool for our residents and business community. It will open a new level of detail and transparency and serve as an example of the exciting innovative practices we are undertaking to improve efficiencies at the Unified Government.”
New data will be added to the portal each year. Read more about it in this release (PDF).
If you’re an open data nut who’s excited by this news and is already familiar with KCMO’s open data portal at data.kcmo.org, you should be hacking with the Code for KC Brigade – codeforkc.org. The Brigade uses open civic data to build apps and APIs for our local governments and citizens to use to make the city more efficient and livable. We meet Monday nights at the Sprint Accelerator and we’re looking for a few good KCK hackers. Find us on Meetup.com.