LA County’s Open Data Initiative: Creating Transparency and Innovation
Ushering in a new era of transparency and accessible government, Los Angeles County will release vast troves of data and public records to the public by creating a user friendly website, data.lacounty.gov.
The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an Open Data Initiative, authored by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, to create the first one-stop-shop website for anyone seeking information or data from county departments. Currently, the public must search through hundreds of pages of files on different county websites in order to find information. By contrast, the new website will allow users to go directly to dashboards to search, view and download indexed information.
The information on the new website will also be available in application programming interface (API) form which will encourage entrepreneurs to develop user friendly mobile apps.
The website will include information from 37 departments including the annual budget, crime statistics, elections data and geographic information systems.
“This initiative is simply a historic shift,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas. “Our vast trove of data and public records will be readily available in a user-friendly form for the first time. Today’s Open Data Initiative will encourage innovation and it will make the county more transparent and accountable to the people it serves.”
Los Angeles County is the largest municipal government in the nation to make data easily accessible and 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. Several jurisdictions, including the cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, and Chicago have created open data portals.