Open data is a thing, an idea, and an ideal. Open data is one of those “superhero words” alongside its cousins the Cloud and Big Data. I like to call them superhero words because they are supernatural forces that seemingly defy definition and can’t be seen. Yet they provide very tangible value to their communities.
Open data boasts powers like omnipresence, super-flexibility, and hyper-prescience. All this, and it’s all free!
Perhaps you have heard it said, “There is no free lunch.” Open data does challenge that idea when you look across the nation and see the power in providing civic data to people with the talent to make it come alive. According to an article in govtech, guidance exists that open data should be both “technically open” and “legally open”. Translation: open data is machine- readable and licensed to allow use without restriction .
We embrace Open Data this in Norfolk, Virginia with our own superhero groups like Code for Hampton Roads and the Open Data Initiative, to name just two. Both of these help form the bedrock of people who have decided to engage with civic leadership to make our home a better place.
Consider this fantastic story of people answering the call. The time is 2014 and a local Brigade of Code for America holds its annual hackathon to support the community. When you live in a place close to the water, travel routes quickly become choke points – that creates a problem for transit service schedules .