Birmingham, Alabama Codifies Open Data Policy


Birmingham, Alabama Mayor William A. Bell has signed an executive order giving the city its first ever open data policy. Birmingham is the first city in Alabama to adopt an open data policy and has partnered with OpenGov to build an open data portal and start making information available to the public.

Birmingham’s new platform will have public safety and some financial data initially and is expected to launch in beta later this summer.

“We challenged our staff to find new, more efficient ways to deliver information directly to the citizen, make information easily accessible and allow further transparency. This portal will allow us to meet those goals,” said Mayor William Bell in a statement on the policy.

Birmingham is part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies What Works Cities Initiative, which pushes city governments to adopt data-driven decision making. Through the initiative, Birmingham has received counseling on how to construct an open data policy and portal.

OpenGov is gaining traction as an open data platform provider that works for mid-sized cities. The company’s tools focus on data visualization as well as data collection so that both technical and non-technical users can get something out of the information offered up by their localities. The new platform will allow anyone to search Birmingham’s open datasets and interact with that data through preview, filter, and visualization tools.

OpenGov Open Data is a hosted CKAN solution. CKAN is the open source standard that the U.S. federal government, the European Union, and hundreds of other agencies around the world use for open data.