Open data refers to data (such as documents, databases, records, or transcripts, including those managed by outside vendors) released by a government or organization that is:
Information about our county and cities are among our governments' greatest public assets. While Broward County and many municipalities have significant data available, we lag behind many other counties and cities of our size in overall availabilty of data and frequency at which those data are updated. We also lack a centralized data repository for easy access to our data. Adopting a formal open data policy is the first step toward making local government information accessible and easy-to-use and the only way we might consistently leverage the benefits of a true open data ecosystem.
Having formal policies and processes in place to release open data can help residents better understand important civic issues in their communities, including spending, economic development, services, energy, transit, infrastructure and crime. Formal guidelines can also better safeguard sensitive information about individuals over the long-term.
Open data allows different departments in a government as well as residents to monitor trends and needs more quickly and effectively, decreasing costs and improving core services.
Open data provides valuable information to our thriving industries that can propel Fort Lauderdale forward as a leader in both civic innovation and business.
"There has been a range of budgeted numbers attached to legislation for funding open data efforts. Generally, anywhere from $0 (if no one is hired and no additional money is needed for technology) to $500,000 (for hiring new staff and adopting new technology) may be budgeted for city, state, or federal open data initiatives. Funding should be considered for—but not limited to—the potential of new staff (administrative, technical and legal), new software (to house, extract and input data), training, and server maintenance. It will be important for each jurisdiction to consider what it needs to support a strong open data ecosystem."