Sunlight Foundation: Analyzing the state of cities’ bulk data

We at the Sunlight Foundation are very interested in whether or not cities have open data — but what do we even mean when we say that data is open or not? Often, Sunlight policy experts review what governments make available and then assign rankings along a series of indicators. Sunlight’s Open States Report Card, for instance, checks whether legislative data are permanent, thorough and updated once or multiple times a day; the U.S. States Open Data Census considers whether state datasets are copyrighted, verifiable and in a state repository; and the Open Data Map simply determines whether or not an open data policy is in place.

The US City Open Data Census collects information about an array of datasets important for local-level governance. However, beneath the scores the census gives each city and the evaluations of transit or zoning data is a treasure trove of information about specific factors that help make data more “open” or accessible, such as whether datasets are provided in bulk, available in machine-readable formats and freely licensed. Continue…