tl;dr Lets just open some data!

too long; didn't read, lets just open some data

Whether you've diligently read through the previous sections, or are just ready to open some data, lets get down to what we're here for, opening data!

This section will take you through some how to's, examples of the types of projects that you can undertake as a city in open data, and some great examples of open data locally and globally.

Its important to remember that above all open data is a tool or a mechanism rather than an outcome - it should be used to enable participatory building of cities that are inclusive and dynamic, with strong social cohesion.

So open data does not change anything - empowering government and citizens to be informed and act to create a future city for all is the change. Open data just makes it easier for this to happen. So, therefore,

expecting impact from the supply of open data is like pushing a string. It has to be pulled by need.

Open data has to pulled by demand, rather than pushed by supply. It needs to be pulled by a problem or challenge faced by a person (citizen, community, business, civil society organisation, civil servant) and initiatives need to start with that, and only end when that challenge or problem is resolved, not just when data is opened (although this is a critical step). For example, opening city tender award data is a great start, but establishing a project around open and transparent contracting that takes this open data and makes sure it is usable and used by citizens and government, and this then leads to fair and transparent contracting in practise is real impact.

This is encouraging! It means that the task before municipalities is not to start a massive municipality-wide project to review, categorise and clean every piece of municipal data, but rather to start small and, more importantly, start with talking to people. What data do citizens want? How about businesses, CSOs, community organisations? What about other departments in the city?

Start with asking people what they want, how they want it, and what they will use it for. Start small.

Doing this will ensure that whatever is opened is used. And if it is problem focussed, it means the municipality is actively engaging with citizens and working with them to solve problems through providing access to information and data. Isn't that a model of empowering citizens, being a responsive (smart, open) city, and enabling participatory process?

In summary:

1. Find a community of citizens / users that have a municipal data need, and then find out where that data is sitting within the city

2. Open license the data. Check out How do I legally open data for more on this.

3. Make the data available to that community / those users in the way they can access and use it. Make it discoverable to other users.

Cool! now lets chat about how we actually go about opening data.