After a one month delay, Somerville, MA gets open data

The Mayor of Somerville, Massachusets, Joseph A. Curtatone launched New England’s first Socrata-powered open data cloud. Socrata already powers open data portals in some of the nation’s largest cities including San Francisco, Chicago and New York City. The Somerville portal follows roughly the same format as other open data portals but has been plagued with launch delays.

Users can visit to take a look at the portal and the datasets that the city has made available. The portal also includes a self-service access point that will allow users to visualize the city’s outstanding 311 requests and see the status of any tickets they have submitted to the 311 system.

Initial datasets offered by the city are largely low-hanging fruit including the results of last year’s Wellbeing Survey and the results of the most recent city services scorecard. The city has offered one, slightly more worthwhile offering – the operating budget from 2010-2013. Somerville officials will also have a webinar on September 20 to highlight future plans for open data efforts, which will hopefully include more substantive data releases.

According to Kevin Merritt, CEO of Socrata, Somerville is using the company’s new population-based pricing model which is meant to provide more affordable open data options to smaller cities and towns. “We’re excited to be working with a recognized innovator like Somerville to tailor our market-leading product for the needs of small and mid-sized communities,” Merritt said in a statement.