PA Dips Toe In Open Data Pond


Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf officially launched the state’s new open data portal yesterday. The portal runs on Socrata technology and offers 12 initial data sets. The first data release is set up thematically according to Governor Wolf’s goals for his administration.

There is little high-value information in the initial release, data includes things like structurally deficient bridges, new well inspections and some job training/creation forecasts. The Governor said in his announcement of the open data project that the portal launch was in line with his Executive Order pushing government agencies to release more data. However, the Order offers little more than a call to start planning and reviewing data internally at the agency level. No timelines for data release were included, and there is no mention of releasing information relating to the budget, government contracts or procurement – the business of state government.

Other institutions in Pennsylvania have released data on their own – the City of Philadelphia and the Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center established by the City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County and the University of Pittsburgh have released 450 data sets on topics including public safety, housing, health and human services and transportation. Those data are available through separate portals.

The state site, however, does have a suggestion form if users would like to suggest the release of particular data. The full site can be accessed here.