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The City of Austin open data initiative

is committed to an open and transparent government

About the open data initiative

“We operate best, when we are operating in the open. We make better decisions and we build trust that way. And trust is certainly the foundation that allows us to work on behalf of the public. Without that trust we lose legitimacy.”
Spencer Cronk, Austin City Manager
April 2018

The open data team

  • Charles Purma, IT Manager
  • Anne Whitlocke, IT Business Systems Analyst Senior
  • Brad McCarty, IT Business Systems Analyst Senior
  • Happiness Kisoso, IT Business Systems Analyst Senior
  • Marbenn Cayetano, IT Business Systems Analyst Senior
  • Sara Smith, IT Business Systems Analyst Senior
  • Ted Lehr, Data Architect
  • Wei San Hui, Project Manager

What the open data team does

  • Administer the City of Austin’s Open Data portal
  • Create guidance/ suggestions on the City’s open data
  • Conduct training for open data Liaisons and Publishers
  • Provide consulting to City departments/ publishers and liaisons interested in participating in the Open Data Initiative
  • Advocate for the transparency of City data (public and internally)
  • Represent and participate in events highlighting the usefulness and benefits of open data
  • Work with our community of researchers, businesses and civic organizations to use the data

The open data initiative on the news

Press and interviews about the initiative and projects

Dell Medical School, City of Austin collaborate to improve community health
The Daily Texan
September 6, 2018

Open Data Day with Open Austin 2018
Open Austin
March 21, 2018

Austin Signals Commitment to Open Data
Smart Cities World
June 6, 2018

How Austin Engages and Educates Its Data Liaisons
Socrata, Inc
December 19, 2017

The open data portal

The City of Austin’s open data portal provides access to data and information about your city government. We encourage the use of public data to spark innovation, promote public collaboration, increase government transparency, and inform decision making. Socrata is the software company that powers the open data portal.

Open data portal terms of use

To learn more about City of Austin Open Data Licensing refer to the link below. learn more

The open data initiative history

On December 11th, 2011, the Austin City Council passed Resolution No. 20111208-074 , commonly known as the Open Data Ordinance. It mandated that the following issues be addressed by the City of Austin:

  • Open Data rules and standards
  • Open Source Platforms guidelines
  • Mobile applications strategies to promote citizen engagement and innovation
  • Social media standards.

It put forth four recommends on:

  1. Develop an Open Government Directive with administrative guidelines on steps to achieve transparency, efficiency, and collaboration
  2. Identify funding requirements and an implementation timeline for the various elements of the recommends ons
  3. Participate in a national dialogue on standards for Open Data Initiatives at the municipal level
  4. Report bi-monthly to the Council Emerging Technology and Telecommunications Committee

Two years later, on August 26, 2013, an Open Government Direct was published, reiterating a commitment to Open Government, which outlined specific steps for the City Departments:

  • It called for an Open Data Catalog within 60 days
  • Identification and publication of high value datasets within 75 days
  • A mechanism for public feedback and licensing among other objectives
  • It also required the City to create an Open Government Plan with 120 days to outline how each department would develop transparency, public Participation, and collaboration

The plan laid out guidelines for the process of utilizing accessible and emerging technology and tools; along with guidelines and a timeline for creating an enabling policy framework for Open Government.

On April 8, 2015, Marc Ott, the City Manager at the time published another Directive, the City of Austin Open Data Initiative 2.0. The directive set a timeline for 30 days, 60 days, and 90 days, and ongoing, in “order to change how government works, provide more effective services, drive data-informed decision-making, and promote economic development opportunities, all departments and offices within the City of Austin are required to take the following steps to Participate in the City’s Open Data Initiative 2.0 that will begin with the issuance of this memorandum.”

Within 30 days the Initiative called for an Identification on of Open Liaisons for each department and an inventory of known data managed and maintained by each department. Within 60 days the directive called for liaisons and department directors to participate in workshops, public outreach to deter- mine interest areas and departmental plans and schedules for publishing to the Open Data Portal. With- in 90 days the directive set a goal to publish at least three datasets per department, create plans for each Department over the next 12 months, and create a scorecard system to determine participation.

Policy documents

  • Open Government Resolution by City Council - December 8, 2011
  • City of Austin Open Government Directive - August 26, 2013
  • Austin Government Online Audit - August 2013