San Jose California Approves Open Data Policy


The city of San Jose, California has approved a new open data policy. The policy was first recommended to the City Council in February of this year. The policy builds on existing efforts by the city government to make more information available to local residents.

San Jose is part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies What Works Cities Initiative, which supports the development of open data policies and portals throughout the US. As part of that program, San Jose has been working to codify its data policy and get information online.

During the 2014-15 budget year, two new positions were created. The data analytics team which includes an individual in the City Manager’s Budget Office and an Open Data Architect in the Information Technology Department have spent the past year taking an inventory of all of the city’s data sets. That inventory has now been completed and the team will set about publishing data to the city’s open data portal. San Jose has also redesigned its open data portal to better handle machine readable information and communicate new updates to residents.

The policy has been constructed with advice from open data stalwarts like the Sunlight Foundation, which is working with the city through the Bloomberg Philanthropies program. Each department within city government will also be tasked with creating a Data Director position who will handle publishing and updating data. Legacy systems within city government may also be updated as part of this work as budgets and mandates allow.

The policy also includes a brief discussion of data standards including making data machine readable and publishing it with open licensing so that the data can be used by developers and residents. Unfortunately, clear guidelines haven’t been set for how frequently data must be updated. As CivSource has noted in previous reporting, there is limited usefulness to data that hasn’t been updated in years or is only updated after complaints are made.

The full policy is available here.