January 10 2017 – Mayor Byron W. Brown today announced the opening of the 14-day public comment period on the City of Buffalo’s draft Open Data policy. The proposed policy will govern the City’s new Open Data program and guide release of public data in the future.
“This is an opportunity for our residents to give us feedback on the policy which will greatly enhance the City of Buffalo’s open data practices. Our goal is to engage the public as we make more city data easily accessible to residents and city staff to improve service, boost efficiency and increase transparency and accountability,” Mayor Brown said.
The Brown administration’s effort to launch an Open Data program is being aided by the Bloomberg Philanthropies National “What Works Cities” initiative, which is working with 55 cities in 33 states to use data to make government more effective, while improving lives of residents. Buffalo is one of 12 cities selected by the What Works Cities team for assistance in advancing its goals of Open Data and Performance Management.
“Our in-house team, with the expertise of our What Works Cities partners, is pushing ahead toward the July launch of the free, Buffalo Open Data internet portal which will enhance the on-going effort to grow Buffalo into a City of opportunity for all. We look forward to receiving comments on what we believe will be a best-of-class public data portal,” Mayor Brown said.
The City has established an Open Data Governance Committee, which includes data liaisons representing all facets of city government. The committee has been working with the Sunlight Foundation to develop an Open Data policy that reflects best practices, creates robust open data sets and advances City performance through stronger targets.
Emily Shaw, a senior analyst with the Sunlight Foundation, who has been in frequent contact with the City’s governance committee said it’s critical for residents to become engaged in the Open Data development process by participating in the policy comment period.
"Buffalo is making great strides in publishing the city's data for its residents to use. Buffalonians should be sure to take a look at the draft open data policy and leave a comment about the data they'd like to see their city publish," Shaw said.
The City is utilizing a temporary internet platform provided by the OpenGov Foundation’s Madison Project to host the public comment period. Madison is a government policy co-creation platform that opens up laws and legislation previously off-limits to individuals and the Internet community.
As the Buffalo Open Data process continues, the City will be issuing an RFP for a third-party firm to develop and host the live data portal.
The policy can be viewed at https://documents.mymadison.io/docs/city-of-buffalo-open-data-policy or via the City of Buffalo website at http://www.city-buffalo.com/ There is an Open Data Buffalo button on the City’s website which takes participants directly to the draft policy. After a brief and simple sign up, they be able to do five things: read the document; let the City know whether they support or oppose the document; leave a comment on the policy or open data, in general; highlight a bit of text and leave a note on that specific text; and respond to other people’s notes, starting a dialogue about a specific passage.