(Photo by Chris Kendig)
A new partnership with the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance-Jacob France Institute is designed to help the city improve its open data portal.
The University of Baltimore-based BNIA will be organizing an advisory group from the community to provide input on how the civic data platform — filled with everything from parking tickets to 911 calls — can be enhanced.
“Our aim is greater transparency in government operations, data-informed public-sector decision-making and private-sector economic innovation,” Mayor Catherine Pugh said in a statement.
As an organization that uses the city’s open data and provides its own through projects like its annual Vital Signs report, Jacob France Institute Associate Director Seema Iyer said BNIA has advised the city on how to improve the portal. (Check out the homepage’s new organization by topic.) At the same time, there are more and more groups requesting data and weighing in.
BNIA is looking to engage with the tech community, universities, institutions and nonprofits, as well as groups at the neighborhood level to provide input.
Iyer said the platform currently contains a feature that allows citizens to nominate a dataset to be added. Once they identify a particularly popular area that was nominated, Iyer said the advisory group can validate its usefulness, and work with the Mayor’s Office of Information Technology (MOIT) to dig into the details of adding it to the platform.
“We can build a coalition around a dataset in some ways,” she said.