Honolulu Passes Open Data Bill


The City of Honolulu may be one step closer to better open data. The state of Hawaii already has an open data policy and portal, but a new bill would expand on those rules for the city. The measure was passed unanimously and now heads to the Mayor for approval.

An earlier part of this measure passed in September and shortened the timeline for open data disclosures to be published from two years to one year. A second amendment sought to cut the timeline even further to 180 days. The second amendment also established a Chief Information Officer (CIO) in the legislative branch of the City Council.

The city already has an open data portal, although getting new data sets out there can be a sluggish process. According to the Honolulu Star Advertiser, the city’s old software programs makes unearthing data on the agency side difficult. There also seems to be some question as to which data should be made available, and how easy it is for the public to read it and get a handle on public accountability from it.

Hawaii Open Data notes that they’ve pushed for the CIO position to be changed to a Chief Data Officer position, which could help deal with some of these bridge issues. These discussions are notable, as budget data and more high value data is available on various state and city open data portals in Hawaii, however the extent to which non-technical, individual residents find these data usable is an open question. Compelling individual offices to participate on timely disclosures of information is also critical to offering up-to-date information to the public, but putting teeth into these policies is something lacking nationwide. The final version in Honolulu seems a bit tougher, provided the Mayor signs on. Watch this space.