The purpose of this Open Government Plan is to detail the specific steps that can be taken to realize Mayor Nutter’s vision for open and transparent government in the City of Philadelphia, and to continue the efforts that began following the signing of Executive Order 1-12 in April of 2012.
This plan provides details to the public and external data consumers that want to make use of data from the City of Philadelphia on steps the city is taking to publish more of its data in open, easy to use formats. It will also detail opportunities for the public to provide input on the City’s open data, and broader open government efforts.
This version of the City of Philadelphia's Open Government Plan will do two things:
Review the specific deliverables laid out in the initial version of this plan and provide a status update on each item.
Highlight areas of focus where work needs to be done to improve transparency and data sharing to realize Mayor Nutter’s vision for open government.
The details provided in this version of the Philadelphia Open Government Plan are intended to be refined and added to in subsequent releases. The recommendations and action items listed in this version of the report are expected to produce outcomes that can be evaluated at or near the end of Mayor Nutter’s current term in December 2015.
In early 2011, the City of Philadelphia began the implementation of an informal, but far reaching, open government effort through its initial engagement with Code for America.
This San Francisco-based non-profit devoted to transparency in government started its first year of work with the City by organizing a series of civic hackathons, culminating in a “data camp” event in late February of 2011. This event focused attendees (including city employees, private software developers and others) on the development of useful software applications and maps built with data made available by the City of Philadelphia.
This event, and the continued presence of Code for America fellows in the City of Philadelphia over the succeeding year and half, helped raise awareness of the value of the City’s data, and the strong interest on the part of external consumers to use it.
These factors were part of the impetus for the creation of an open data portal for Philadelphia - OpenDataPhilly.org. This site has served as a centralized directory of data available from the City of Philadelphia and other data producers in the Philadelphia region.
OpenDataPhilly.org is an open source website that was governed by a consortium of stakeholders from government, the private & non-profit sectors, higher education, community groups and others under the auspices of the OpenAccessPhilly initiative. Since the beginning of Philadelphia’s open government efforts, this site has served as the central hub around which civic software development and open data activities have coalesced.
The software behind OpenDataPhilly.org has also been adopted in several other cities as the basis for their open data initiatives, successfully exporting the approach used in Philadelphia for open data and government transparency to other parts of the country.
Philadelphia is now home to one of the most mature and robust communities in the nation focused on using open government data for civic software applications, maps, statistical analysis and other uses. The city is widely regarded as a leader in the open government movement and a number of important accomplishments have been realized over the past year.
In marking the one-year anniversary of Executive Order 1-12 in April of 2013, Mayor Michael Nutter highlighted the specific achievements and objectives realized as part of the city’s open data efforts in it’s first year.
Since the signing of his Executive Order, the City has released over 50 new high value data sets - some never before available to the public in an open format, like part 1 crime data and assessed value information for all city properties. In addition, the release schedule for specific city data sets has been shared publicly and is updated by city staff as work on new data releases take place.
The City has designated the community built and maintained OpenDataPhilly.org site as it’s official open data directory. City departments and offices are directed to list all new open data releases on this site. Philadelphia is currently the only large city in the country with an official open data repository managed in collaboration with outside stakeholders.
The Chief Data Officer has established an Open Data Working Group comprised of representatives from city departments and other large public sector data producers in Philadelphia, including SEPTA, the School District of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Parking Authority. In addition, the City is engaging with outside users of public data through participation in the city’s many technology events - particularly during Philly Tech Week - and by encouraging public input through channels like the public Open Data Forum.
The subsequent sections of this report will review the specific deliverables laid out in the initial version of this plan and provide a status update on each item. It will also highlight areas of focus where work needs to be done to improve transparency and data sharing to realize Mayor Nutter’s vision for open government.
This is version 2.0.0 of the Philadelphia Open Government Plan. Updates / revisions to this plan will be released as needed, or as deemed necessary by stakeholders. Subsequent releases will follow the SemVer specification when assigning release numbers.