San Francisco’s great hope for open data

DataSF was launched in 2009 and provides easy access to data published by the City & County of San Francisco. It was anticipated that doing so would encourage the creation of innovative apps. And it has. For San Francisco, home to Silicon Valley and a vibrant technology community, mobile apps are an everyday part of life. Since the launch of DataSF many applications that use government data have been introduced and many of these are featured on the site. This includes RailBandit, which allows you to view train schedules and map trips via mobile phone and SpotCrime, which map incidents of crime.

With more apps being developed and more datasets being released, San Francisco is also pushing government 2.0 projects as a way of promoting economic development. This is similar to many initiatives we are witnessing in cities like New York, Philadelphia and Chicago, but also beyond the US in countries like the UK and regions like the EU.

According to an article in techPresident, San Francisco is partnering with Code for America to create an “accelerator,” which will give young programmers the opportunity to create commercially viable solutions using government data. It is hoped that this could help improve the city’s efficiency. The accelerator will be modelled on YCombinator, a new model of startup funding.

A lot is expected from open government data. The great hope is not only that it will promote transparency, but also innovation and by extension local and national economic prosperity.

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