Colorado Statehouse Takes Up Open Data


Colorado legislators are considering a bill that would formalize open data policy in the state. The proposed bill would take lessons learned from a 2 and a half year open data pilot and codify them into a program. The new program would legitimize the Colorado Business Intelligence Center and the Go Code Colorado project.

Currently, the Business Intelligence Center is using data sets voluntarily provided by local state agencies and offices. The proposed bill would create a statewide open data program and make more data available.

Notably, the bill moves the state away from publishing data in PDF documents and toward publishing data in machine readable format. According to the Colorado Observer, some agencies have said it could cost millions of dollars to convert data to machine readable format. However, it should be noted that it also costs developers and the public time and money to access data that isn’t readable, make it readable, and then use it. Those challenges can mean the difference between developing new technologies and not.

The full text of the bill is available here. It has moved out of committee and will go to a vote by both houses soon. If passed, the bill could lead to new datasets being made available by the end of this year, as well as an increased budget allocation to cover the cost of expansion.

Last week, the state of Delaware also moved to develop a formal open data process through an executive order signed by the governor. That order establishes an on open data council which will provide policy guidelines and recommendations.