Maryland Council on Open Data holds first meeting

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The state of Maryland’s Council on Open Data held its first official meeting on Aug. 25 in Baltimore to discuss how the state can provide citizens with data in ways that are beneficial to them and the state as a whole.

Gov. Martin O’Malley attended the meeting, which was made up of a 37-person council of cabinet secretaries, entrepreneurs, open data experts and business owners from across the state.

Greg Urban, deputy secretary of the Maryland Department of Information Technology, led the meeting along with Matt Power, the director of StateStat.

“Access to government data not only increases government efficiency and accountability, but it allows for the open sharing of ideas and solutions that can revolutionize the way in which we govern,” O’Malley said in a statement. “Today’s meeting builds on our Administration’s efforts to increase transparency and make Maryland more open and more accountable to residents, businesses and advocates.”

During the meeting, O’Malley led a presentation on the state’s Open Data Portal and a demonstration of Maryland’s iMap data mapping capabilities. The meeting also focused on the group’s mission going forward and strategies it can take to achieve its goals.

Maryland’s Open Data Law went into effect earlier this year, requireing state agencies to make much of its public information machine-readable and searchable. The council was created as part of the law with a set list of targets that include designing and conducting a statewide data inventory, agreeing on minimum metadata standards and geo-aggregate standards, reviewing data mapping practices and establishing a statewide standard disclaimer and acknowledgement requirement.

Created for the purposes of increasing the public access to data, the council will encourage all branches of state and local government to use state open data portals and create their own, and adopt policies consistent with Maryland’s Open Data policy. Under the new law, the council must report to the Maryland Legislature on its activities and make legislative recommendations on open data by Jan. 10 of each year.

Earlier this month, the Center for Data Innovation placed Maryland in a six-way tie for first place for the state’s commitment to open data and government transparency. Maryland tied with Hawaii, Illinois, New York, Oklahoma and Utah.

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