Resources for Seattle, WA

Best Practices for Seattle, WA

“In the course of our work, we gather a great deal of data on the state of the city and on our performance. We believe that information belongs to the people of Seattle,” according to Mayor Mike McGinn. Thus, the datasets are set to uploaded based on availability and demand.

  • Seattle is working diligently through all of its datasets and process them before releasing them into to developers and researchers.
  • Establish Ideas for Seattle as a public engagement portal to collect ideas for application development and data release.
  • Apps for Seattle - It will help encourage local developers to make apps using data from Seattle CIO Bill Schrier comments that Apps for Seattle is “Not a whole lot that’s unique compared to other contests” in the nation, as he thinks that these contests are a little passe. Nonetheless, will be made available for development through Socrata.
    • Socrata is developing something called SODA (Socrata Open Data API) and will an early 2011 initiative, that will be established as a set of connectors to relate multiple datasets to normalize the schemas. Schrier comments that these will give the apps contests a lot more interest since it allows them to be interoperable.
  • Nine Guiding Principles of the Open Data Project:
    • Complete
    • Primary
    • Timely
    • Accessible
    • Machine Processable
    • Non-Discriminatory
    • Non-Proprietary
    • License Free
    • Customer Service
  • Risk Assessment, Go/No Go Decision, Final Agreement with the Department of Information Services and Department of Finance and Administrative Services (FAS)
  • Data Publishing and Maintenance Plan: If the dataset is accepted, the agency must show a high level schedule for publishing the dataset, define the dataset contacts and the decided publishing timeline.
  • There has been resistance from the various city agencies in uploading data online to Some of the concerns are related to lack of resources, such as staff time. Right now, Socrata and the CTO’s Office has been working together to build One other issue is whether the public data contains private information. (Example: business licenses which include personal data, or registered dancers’ licenses would often have name, address, and phone number and other information).
  • In order to mitigate the some of the concerns, CTO Schrier plans to
    • Streamline dataset evaluations. It is an internal document to be used by all City agencies to make data data available on The “Open Data Candidate Requirements and Risk Evaluations” guide provides a detailed process of evaluations and approval to ensure the data will followed the eight principles of open data. The analysis stage is the emphasis for the portability, design and maintenance after a review by commission delegated to review the datasets. After publication, the agency, in conjunction with FAS and CTO, will evaluate the dataset usage and feedback from constituents. Adjustments can be made afterwards.
    • Encourage agency participation by using the “lower costs” argument. Many of the the FOIL requests are repeated multiple time and is an inefficiency of resources. So, why not post those datasets online to save of the valuable time and labor? This helps prioritize what people are looking for. Also, it will help people mobilize themselves rather than just rely on police dept or any other agency. Public engagement is important here.
    • The Steering Committee will have the following members: Project Manager, Business Owner, Data Owner, Data Expert, Business Expert, Business Analysis, Public Information Officer, DoIT Representative, and Customer Service representative.

City Council Member Bruce Harrell’s Transparency Goals

  • Migrate to a system where publishing and release of city data are in an open format that is more readable and favorable for programming. This allows the public to use city data in the most appropriate way and enhance its original purpose by allowing data collaboration and integration through mashups and semantic web technologies.
  • Declare an “Apps for Seattle” contest and call upon local web developers to program innovative mobile applications and Internet-based applications using open city data. [PENDING FOR 2010]
  • Provide service for mobile phone applications that allow residents to report a city complaint such as potholes, graffiti, streetlight outage, or abandoned vehicles.
  • Use web video conferencing tools for meetings conducted by employees, boards and commissions, resulting in reduced travel time, cost and fuel.
  • Provide residents with new personal conservation management tools that allow them to maximize their home energy efficiency.
  • Provide a suite of applications and products that allow residents and businesses to communicate remotely with their security, heating, cooling, and lighting systems. This will increase consumer utilization and awareness of a smart grid network.
  • Deploy a “” Public Engagement Portal that consolidates the city’s multiple sign on accounts and provides single sign-on access with features including a customizable interface, status report checks on problems reported, public polling, and enhanced collaboration with the public using tools such as IdeaScale or Google Moderator. [COMPLETE/CONTINUOUS UPDATE]
  • Maximize the use of technology in reporting, posting, and tracking photos of graffiti and tree inventory on Google Maps or the city’s Geographic Information System (GIS).
  • Develop a “Wiki” website format for city information that allows online public collaboration, editing and content moderation.
  • Implement new city-wide software to reduce the volumes of wasted printed pages at the end of print jobs from the Internet.