A wealth of public data exists, but accessing it can sometimes be time consuming. Now, thanks to a new local government partnership, “open data” in Durham is just months away from becoming a reality.
The City of Durham and Durham County Government are embarking on an open data partnership that will lay the groundwork for businesses, non-profits, journalists, universities, and residents to access and use the wealth of public data available between the two government organizations, while becoming even more transparent to the residents of Durham.
A relatively new concept according to technology industry analyst Gartner, Inc., “open data” refers to the idea that certain data should be freely available to everyone to use and republish as they wish, without restrictions from copyright, patents or other forms of control.
“This is a unique collaborative effort that demonstrates a regional commitment,” said Durham County Manager Wendell Davis. “There will be shared costs, a common platform and portal, and a combined effort by both organizations to reach into the community to bring about business development and new community benefits and services.”
Plans are underway now for a joint work plan and project framework, with a projected site launch date of summer 2015. “Durham is uniquely positioned to be a very successful site that demonstrates the business and social potential for open data,” said Durham City Manager Thomas J. Bonfield. “Our community’s entrepreneurial energy and creativity gives us an advantage to innovate new ways of doing business by making information readily accessible.”
Bonfield noted that, over the past two years, open data “hackathons” have been conducted at American Tobacco leading to the development of applications that provide important information for consumers. Code for America, advocates for Open Data, has already worked with the City and County to deliver an application tied to the health inspection reports for local restaurants.
“Between the City and County, a lot of information and data exists in many areas, from transportation to public health,” said City of Durham Mayor William V. “Bill” Bell. “This information has always been publicly available, but open data makes it easier to use by developers, marketers, community enrichment agencies and the general public.”
The City-County partnership joins other local government open data efforts that include Wake County and the City of Raleigh. For information about Durham’s open data partnership, contact Chief Information Officer Kerry Goode with the City’s Technology Solutions Department at (919) 560-4122, ext. 33248 or by email at Kerry.Goode@Durhamnc.gov, or Chief Information Officer Greg Marrow with the County’s Information Services and Technology Department at (919) 560-7003 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the City of Durham
The more than 2,400 employees of the City of Durham are dedicated to the service of the City’s residents – to provide quality services to make Durham a great place to live, work and play. Guided by the City’s Strategic Plan, 25 departments work to ensure the health, safety and welfare of residents and visitors. Services range from building inspections and code enforcement, to providing emergency services, to trash and waste collection, to constructing and maintaining streets, to providing essential water and sewer services.
To learn more, visit http://durhamnc.gov, likehttp://Facebook.com/CityofDurhamNC, followhttp://Twitter.com/CityofDurhamNC, or watch Durham Television Network (Time Warner Cable channel 8, 97-5 and AT&T U-verse channel 99) andhttp://YouTube.com/CityofDurhamNC.
About Durham County
Durham County is one of the fastest growing counties in North Carolina and in the nation. The economic diversity of the county ranges from agricultural communities to the internationally known Research Triangle Park, which is home to more than 50 major research and development organizations. Durham County’s population grew from about 180,000 in 1990, to more than 280,000 in 2013. To learn more, visit http://dconc.gov.