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Local Government Open Data Portals

Are local government open data portals worth the cost?

In February 2020, Opendatasoft released a blog post that focused on whether local government (i.e., municipal) open data portals are worth the cost. In the piece, it was argued that Open Data Portals are worth the costs as data insights are essential for future collaboration between the public and private sector and accelerate innovation efforts. Thereby, open data portals reduce labour costs and improve governmental accountability.

In the blog, the writer often quoted three influential actors in the data world:

  • Chelsea Collier, the founder of DigiCity – a platform designed to inform, inspire and connect leaders as cities advance towards a digital age. Collier refers to data as the new currency and she and DigiCity support the development of user-friendly local open data portals. She states that private sector actors prefer to move to cities with innovative open data policies.
  • Daniel Castro, the vice president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) – an independent, nonpartisan research and educational institute focusing on the intersection of technological innovation and public policy. Castro and ITIF focuse on the user-friendliness of the local data portal and highlights the advantage of cataloguing data in one place. For example, one data storage location provides a clear overview for the users and has low operational costs.
  • Jeff Reichman, January Advisors – Principal at Houston based data science consultancy firm. Reichman emphasises how local open data portals can improve the accountability of the government. Moreover, he mentions that businesses can also use the open data from their local governments to develop innovative solutions.

Overall, the authors imply that cities can only reach their full potential by developing local open data portals and encourage policymakers to start investing in the future of their city.


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