Open Data: Which Greater Boston Regions Have Open Data Sets?

Open Data is defined as: “data that can be freely-used, shared, and built-on by anyone, anywhere, for any purpose” (Open Knowledge Foundation Blog.) Open data provides many benefits.

In a similar manner that it is essential to record a nation’s history, recording open data has comparable advantages. Keeping a running log of statistics and information can be used to analyze changes in patterns and sequences. With a measurable starting point, as well as updates, each community can stay informed and up to date about their surroundings. It is useful for the affected society not only to be aware of the changes in their government’s policies and implementations, but also the consequences. With mandatory government submissions and access to open data, local businesses have the ability to develop custom business plans tailored to their company’s surroundings.

Open data often includes demographic statistics in addition to employment information, salary, income, and spending. With open access, local engagement is welcomed and encouraged. Also, there is room for the public sector to make digital and technical transformations, implementing social progression and efficiency. Through this evolution, statistics on unemployment high school dropout rates as well as crime and violence can be targeted and countered.

To insure political justice, reporting open data is mandatory. This is essential for two reasons, it prevents the government from concealing certain statistics and information, and it is not gathered for a specific purpose. What this means is that the options for interpretation, analysis, and creativity are unlimited. People can use this data to make assessments and conclusions that the government may not have wanted to publicize. Additionally, this data can be used to measure and reinforce financial and economic status. From a technical standpoint, open data is very useful and endless in its opportunity for building.

Some examples of projects that have been produced with open data include: a school selection device, a flood print, online voting at events, home health and safety report, traffic and accident browser, damage from disasters assessment, a mobile voting ballot, etc.. The chart below provides the Greater Boston regions that have open data readily available. With this data, endless projects and tools could be designed, so, what will you build?

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