Which State Is The Most Open With Its Data?


A new ranking from the Center for Data Innovation shows how the states stack up when it comes to their open data efforts. The six top ranking states include Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Oklahoma and Utah. Much of the ranking is based on the quality of open data portals – a few states in the top list including Maryland and New York have been working through several initiatives to provide high value data sets. Each of the top six states also has a state-level open data policy that requires frequent data updates and machine readable data.

The next highest-ranked state, Connecticut, offers a similarly serviceable, machine-readable open data portal that provides wide varieties of information, but its policy does not require machine readability. Texas and Rhode Island follow behind however they do not require machine readable data, and most of the data offered is expenditures.

CivSource recently reported on a new open data portal in Fort Worth, Texas that only provides permitting data, with no real plan to move into higher value datasets, but does offer machine readability.

The states that scored the lowest – with a combined total of one point – were: Alabama, Alaska, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nevada, South Dakota and Wyoming.

Several years into open data as a concept, the report shows that open data portals are getting more consistent, and typically include roughly the same feature set. The policy piece is coming along as well – “to date, ten states have open data policies, established either via an executive order or by legislation. Many of these policies are relatively new. Within the past 2 years, five states have established open data policies, and four more have amended existing policies. In addition, twenty-four states offer open data portals, whether or not they have also established open data policies,” the report says.

Some states, generally the lowest scoring ones, offer “transparency portals” with little valuable information about the public’s business. Other states falling in the middle of the pack have a mixed bag of approaches, some of which are being updated over time based on efforts in other states. Ultimately, the report paints a generally positive picture for open data advocates although there is still work to be done.

“Given the significant opportunities that open data presents, all states should be developing open data policies and portals as an initial step towards greater use of open data. States creating new open data policies or portals, or refreshing old ones, have many opportunities to learn from the experiences of early adopters,” the report says.