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Oct. 18, 2013 10:15 am

Government efficiency is ‘the future’ for Baltimore’s open data: Heather Hudson [VIDEO]

OpenBaltimore became a catalyst for "interagency collaboration and government efficiency," which Hudson calls "the future" of the platform.

Baltimore Chief Data Officer Heather Hudson.

Heather Hudson, Baltimore’s first chief data officer and the first female to hold such an office in a city as big as Baltimore, spoke at the Code for America Summit this week about OpenBaltimore, this city’s open data portal that launched in early 2011.

In the video, Hudson says that when she was first hired by the Mayor’s Office of Information Technology (MOIT) in June 2011, her main focus was just on open data: adding more datasets to OpenBaltimore to increase government transparency, the “main focus” of the OpenBaltimore platform.

“We want enough data and enough ways to look at it to start doing predictive analytics and start fixing problems before they even occur,” Hudson told Technical.ly Baltimore in a June interview, shortly after the official announcement of her new position within MOIT.

But as Hudson’s role evolved from her earliest days at MOIT — and as more datasets were added to OpenBaltimore — she said the data portal became a catalyst for “interagency collaboration and government efficiency,” which she calls “the future” of the OpenBaltimore platform.

Watch Heather Hudson’s brief talk at the Code for America Summit:

Work, however, remains on beefing up the data on the OpenBaltimore platform.

A cause célèbre for some of the platform’s users is the vacant housing dataset, which housing advocate Carol Ott claims is not accurate. And City Councilman Brandon Scott said Baltimore still has “a long way to go” when it comes to sharing government data.

But the city is slowly releasing more datasets, including a handful of transportation datasets released in April to coincide with a transit-themed hackathon.

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Andrew Zaleski

Andrew Zaleski is a freelance journalist in Philadelphia and the former lead reporter for Technical.ly Baltimore. Before moving to Philadelphia in June 2014, he was a contributing writer to Baltimore City Paper and a Tech Check commentator for WYPR 88.1 FM, Baltimore city’s National Public Radio affiliate. He has written for The Atlantic, Outside, Richmond magazine, Washington City Paper, Baltimore magazine, Baltimore Style magazine, Next City, Grist.org, The Atlantic Cities, and elsewhere.

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