Mayor Chris Beutler today launched opendata.lincoln.ne.gov, a new website to give the public better access to City data and information on performance management. He said the Open Data and Performance Management website is a first step in implementing a resolution on open data unanimously passed by the City Council last summer. That resolution was proposed by Council members Leirion Gaylor Baird and Trent Fellers.
"This is a new resource for the public to help them more easily find the volumes of data that are on our City website," Mayor Beutler said. "They can use this data to more clearly understand how local government works, how City resources are used and how we arrive at important decisions. The website is loaded with information that researchers, students, developers, businesses and others can examine, download and use."
The website also adds another layer of transparency to the City's Taking Charge performance management process that began about eight years ago. The latest step in that process is a series of LNKstat meetings to review progress on reaching City goals, to make adjustments as needed and to share the information both internally and externally with the public.
"I am proud that Lincoln is one of the nation's innovative cities that are focusing on systematic data-driven management," Beutler said. "Our new Open Data and Performance Management website allows the public to easily check our Taking Charge data and to find out what is happening at the LNKstat meetings."
Beutler said most of the information on the site is not new, but previously could be difficult to find and use. "The new website provides one-stop access by bringing all of this information together in a convenient single location," he said. "It is free and published without restrictions."
Gaylor Baird said much of the data is available in open, machine-readable formats that can be downloaded and easily imported into other applications.
"Making the City's data available in this way opens the door for creative analysis and use by citizens," she said. "It can help businesses that may find value in the data, entrepreneurs who may find creative use for the data, and civic-minded citizens who may think of new and creative ways to analyze the data. We have already seen examples of this, and with the greater availability of data, more potential can be unleashed."
The City received technical support on the website from What Works Cities, an organization helping a few dozen innovative communities in the U.S. to further enhance their processes for practicing transparent and data-driven management. The Mayor thanked What Works Cities, Gaylor Baird and Fellers as well as the City's Performance Management Team and the Open Data Governance Committee for their work leading up the public launch.
"Today's launch is just the start," Beutler said. "We fully expect this website to continue to grow as more data is made available and as we hear from the public on what they would like to see on the site. The site does have a feedback link, and we encourage citizens to share their ideas with us."