Ushering in a new era of transparency and accountability, Los Angeles County launched an Open Data website Thursday that will serve as a user-friendly one-stop shop for the public to access vast troves of data – from neighborhood crime statistics to restaurant inspection grades, and many more.
“We are now offering more information in an accessible and unprecedented way to our county residents,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who authored the motion creating the county’s Open Data Initiative. “We will continue to ask for transparency and to encourage innovation with the information that our county collects.”
Previously, the public had to sift through hundreds of pages of files on different county websites to obtain information.
With the new website, they simply click an icon on the their computer screen to look at the county budget, expenditures, employee salaries, election results, and the largest online collection of property assessment records in the U.S.
The data is also in a form that entrepreneurs can use to develop mobile apps, potentially leading to further innovations. The county has created a task force to identify even more datasets that can be added to the website after the initial launch.
Los Angeles County is the largest municipal government in the nation to make data easily accessible. It follows a 2013 executive order by President Barack Obama declaring that information is a valuable national asset whose worth can be multiplied when made accessible to the public.