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City now provides open data services online

The City of Redmond has launched into the field of open data with a new portal at www.data.redmond.gov.

The site will host public information, such as the city's check register, a listing of all checks written to pay for products and services and issued construction permits. Partnering with cloud-based, open data software provider Socrata, Inc., the city improves transparency into its services by providing data that will drive innovation in citizen access to information, community engagement and government efficiency.

The project began with the city's interest in increasing transparency into services, as well a wish to reduce the resources required to respond to public information requests. The new open data platform addresses both issues by allowing Redmond staffers to upload datasets easily, making the information immediately available for the public.

"A significant number of the records requests we receive can be satisfied by open data sets that are freely available, at any time and in a standard electronic format," said application services manager Corey Smith. "Citizens will spend less time requesting and reformatting the data they seek and city staff will spend less time assembling and distributing the data."

The new data portal offers more than just downloadable spreadsheets.

"One of the nice things about this portal is that guests can filter and create their own charts and graphs. They can visualize the data in a format they want," said Smith.

This service expands access to information, while simultaneously enhancing cost efficiencies and speed of execution. The open data service offers a variety of features, including:

  • Simple, easy-to-use, citizen interfaces that allow non-technical users to interactively explore data, visualize it and share contextually relevant information with others, on the site, across the web and on social networks.
  • Automatic full-text indexing of every data set's content to facilitate online search, in addition to the ability to download the data in multiple, open, machine-readable formats.
  • A powerful publishing platform for individuals to rapidly transform data into interactive online resources that can be reused elsewhere on the site and deployed as open cloud services.

The City of Redmond encourages citizens to submit requests for datasets they would like to see on the website. City leadership wants citizens to be involved and believes this open data portal will inspire a "vibrant conversation between staff and the citizens" and continue to build on a greater trust between city government and the citizens it serves as a way to understand how their city works, hold staff and officials accountable by providing useful information everyone can easily access, visualize, share and reuse.

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