Legislators, technology companies, government leaders, and civic technologists got a taste of the benefits of open data at yesterday’s California Data Demo Day at the State Capitol, hosted by the Data Transparency Coalition and presented by Teradata. Coalition members showcased technologies to visualize, analyze, and automate government information, transforming disconnected documents into open, searchable data. The event featured appearances by state legislators who support policy changes to ensure those technologies have access to open data.
Sen. Richard Pan (D-6th, Sacramento) spoke out for SB 573, his proposal to establish a state Chief Data Officer and require state agencies to participate in a government-wide move toward standardization and publication. Asm. Phil Ting (D-19th, San Francisco) told attendees that better data standards and availability would improve government management.
Yesterday’s Data Demo Day marked the first full-scale Coalition event outside Washington, DC. Throughout the United States, state and local government agencies have begun to standardize and publish data. To reinforce these grassroots efforts, the Coalition hopes to support reforms like SB 573, providing a legal framework and an extra push.
“The potential for better transparency, better state management, increased economic activity, and lowered compliance costs cannot be realized unless our state chooses to standardize and publish our public data,” said Dr. Pan. “SB 573 takes that crucial first step by appointing a Chief Data Officer who will establish an open data portal in the state.”
The technology industry already has the technology to better connect citizens with their government, fight waste and fraud through analytics, and cut compliance costs through automation. But these solutions all depend on whether governments choose to adopt common formats and make data consistently available. By supporting open data policies, champions like Dr. Pan and Asm. Ting are enabling the use of these new technologies to transform government and society.
Attendees represented many California executive branch agencies, including the Department of Technology, the Department of Corrections, the Highway Patrol, and others. Participating Coalition members included the following:
- IRIS Business Services showed its standardized data reporting solution, in use around the world.
- Socrata displayed its publication platform, which enables cost-effective open data for a majority of state governments and nearly every large U.S. city.
- Teradata showed how data standardization could give program managers, watchdogs, and the public instant insights into the impact and performance of government grants.
- Tableau Software showed its ability to help non-IT professionals easily visualize data sets.
- Workiva demonstrated its reporting platform, used by most Fortune 500 companies for reporting to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and explained how the same platform could be deployed for other types of government reporting.
- Information Builders showed how public-sector spending transparency would dramatically improve with the adoption of more consistent data standards.