BLOG: Open Data Initiative Will Bring 21st Century Transparency to PA

By: Julie Snyder, Director of Data and Digital Technology

April 22, 2016

In recent years, governments at the federal, state and local levels have adopted open data initiatives to increase transparency to citizens, spur innovation and economic opportunity, and demonstrate the effectiveness of state policies and programs.

Open data refers to data that is in a format that can be retrieved and meaningfully processed by a computer application, making it available to the public to use in any way they would like. Users can take that data and combine it with other data sets, analyze it using software programs, or create new applications.

Currently, Pennsylvania is one of just 10 states that does not have an open data portal. This week, Governor Wolf took action to bring Pennsylvania into the 21st century by directing the Office of Administration to create a central repository for open data and work with state agencies to publish data sets.

This new open data website will serve as a one-stop shop for commonwealth open data, eliminating the need for users to scour dozens of individual state agency websites for information.

We also plan to gather input from cities, universities and other stakeholders on the types of data that interest them in order to ensure that the data being published is valuable and useful to others.

This is just one more step in Governor Wolf’s plan to make government more open and transparent. Earlier this year, the Wolf Administration launched Governor’s Goals, a new website that introduces measurable goals to align to Governor Tom Wolf’s three key priorities — Jobs that Pay, Schools that Teach, and Government that Works. The beta launch of this website is the first phase in the implementation of Governor’s Goals. Future iterations of the site will track the progress of these administrative goals and make the data used to measure the goals available to the public.

As one of 10 states without open data, we have a lot of catching up to do. The Governor’s executive order puts Pennsylvania in a position to be more open and transparent to the people we serve.

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