Pittsburgh plans to join 19 other American cities and counties in releasing city data for public use online. As the city works out the details of how this initiative will take shape, they’re looking for public input.
Debra Lam, Mayor Peduto's pick for Chief of Innovation & Performance and Laura Meixell, data and analytics manager for the City of Pittsburgh, say the initial ordinance brought to city council last month is meant to change the perceptions of how Pittsburghers think about data and city disclosure of information.
“It sets the default to open.” Laura Meixell explains, “There’s a whole variety of state laws around what information is public and what isn’t, in the PA Right to Know law. And here in the city we’ve been following those rules since that legislation was enacted, but much more on the basis of, if folks asked for information we would provide it. With this [open data] legislation we’re going to have the chance to go ahead and be proactive, to open things up and to make things more available and useful in the short term.”
City organizations have encouraged the software community to creatively use municipal data, even before the introduction of this legislation, through Steel City Codefest.