Sacramento Increases Transparency with Open Data Platform

The City of Sacramento has recently launched an open data platform where citizens have access to all of the city’s data on one webpage. With access to over 40 data sets, citizens can create reports and download information including building permit activity, crime reports, budget information, and land-use data. In addition to serving as part of the city’s larger efforts to promote transparency and openness, the site also allows the growing interest of local application developers to use the information to create applications and web-enabled tools to address civic issues. Developed by MindMixer, the site be accessed, will be populated with new information as it becomes available.

“This new website provides digital access to City Hall in a way that has never been done before,” said City Manager John Shirey. “It is our continued goal to be transparent and this is a great starting point for us. We will continue to use this site for one-stop access to citywide data.”

Municipalities across the nation are providing web access to important public data. Sacramento is the first in the region to provide this data in a one-stop-shop format. The website currently has information for 311 service requests, finance and budget, Police Department statistics, citywide contracts, and building permit numbers. Website-goers can also view the data as charts, in dashboards, or in sortable spreadsheets. The public is encouraged to visit to give their ideas on what other data the City should provide.

“We want to ensure that all useful public City data can be easily found and used by citizens,” said Maria MacGunigal, Chief Information Officer for the City of Sacramento. “It is important to support and encourage innovation by providing access to information and encouraging residents and businesses to find ways of using public data. We are willing to add other data the community requests.”

The data website is one of several initiatives the city has implemented to encourage the use of digital tools. Earlier this year the City launched to encourage community participation and share ideas to solve civic issues. In 2011, the Community Development Department implemented electronic plan check for projects and is in the midst of processing building permits electronically, eliminating the need for customers to visit the public counter. The City also implemented its 311 app that gives customers the chance to report issues or concerns via smartphone.