Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel released the city’s first Open Data Annual Report that provides citizens with an update on Chicago’s open data policies, outlines new initiatives and highlights data sets to be released later this calendar year.
The release is part of a continuing open data push from Emanuel’s administration, which has nearly tripled the number of data sets available to citizens (from 271 to 592) over the past two years.
“The city’s open data efforts are part of my commitment to an open, accountable administration that empowers residents to take part in government and enables developers to create innovative applications that improve the lives of Chicagoans,” Emanuel said. “The Open Data Annual Report reflects the strides the city has made in the interest of transparency and outlines our goals for making Chicago a national leader in civic and digital innovation in the next year.”
Some of the new initiatives for 2014 include opening more data in the procurement process, releasing new data sets around areas like 311 calls, city-owned assets, business violations and public-safety violations, along with more collaboration with Chicago’s home of Cook County.
Chicago has already seen gains from its open data efforts, which has seen the city’s open data portal receive 5.4 million visits in December 2013. Projects of note include:
- Chicago Works, which allows residents to make service requests to 311 and track issues as they are addressed
- Wasmycartowed.com, which lets users look up their car by license plate, make or model and find out if it has been towed or relocated
- Adopt a Sidewalk, which allows users to adopt certain paths of sidewalk they can maintain throughout the winter
- SweepAround.us, which allows users to input their address and find out when their street will be swept next. It also provides the option to register for text, email and calendar alerts.
- ChicagoLobbyists.org, which provides users with information about lobbying in Chicago.
“This document lays out Mayor Emanuel’s continued efforts to further the open data movement in Chicago and foster an open government,” said Commissioner Brenna Berman of the Department of Innovation and Technology. “Residents expect their governments to be responsive and agile, and through open data, Chicago has been able to serve residents in the 21st century, whether it’s exploring energy usage in your community, when to move your car for street sweeping or where to get a flu shot.”
The first annual Open Data Report is a result of Emanuel’s 2012 open data executive order, which required city agencies make reasonable efforts to publish public data sets under their control as well as update them on a regular basis. An integral component of the executive order is that the city releases an annual report detailing progress on ongoing data initiatives as well as establishes goals and targets for the upcoming year. Over the past year, an Open Data Advisory Group consisting of open data coordinators from each city agency worked to develop this report.
As a result of these and other efforts by Emanuel to improve accessibility of city data, Chicago received a national transparency award from the Sunshine Review, a national nonprofit dedicated to government transparency, and the City of Chicago website received an A+ grade.