Civic News
Data / Digital access / Municipal government

Dive deep into these open datasets from the Pa. governor’s office

OpenDataPA was released yesterday and now comes the fun part of putting the data to use.

Gov. Tom Wolf. (Courtesy photo)

There are 583 bridges in Pennsylvania that should be repaired or replaced by 2020.
And here’s where every single one of them is located:

The dataset — wonkily dubbed State Structurally Deficient Bridges To Be Repaired or Replaced 2015-2020 — is only one of a dozen released Tuesday through the governor’s open data initiative.
Developed as a response to Gov. Tom Wolf’s executive order on open data, the OpenDataPA site allows users to explore datasets on things like the state’s incarcerated population, the performance of K-12 schools, and even results from well inspections.
The site pulls data from regional sources, but also from national agencies. Like the dataset on the uninsured population — taken from the U.S. Census.
Here’s a whole lot of info on that (as you can see, we like the platform’s Socrata-powered embed feature):

“One of our most valuable and underutilized resources in state government is data,” Wolf said in a press release. “Our goal is to make data available in order to engage citizens, create economic opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurs, and develop innovative policy solutions that improve program delivery and streamline operations.”

Within the site, there are several video tutorials and a FAQ, all meant to help more citizens browse through the data, find the information they need and create graphs. Here’s one such graph on the pledged jobs on the state’s Jobs That Pay program divvied up by county:

According to the Governor’s office, the site will soon include datasets from agencies and program areas across state government, and they are also partnering with orgs like the Office of Open Records, higher education institutions and cities to identify and prioritize future datasets for publication.
But perhaps the most productive feature on the new site isn’t the existing data, but the simple form that lets users suggest a dataset, creating an open forum for engaged citizens, researchers and devs to ask for specific information in a manageable format.


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