Philly’s new chief data officer sees open data as national trend


    Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter’s efforts to make the city government more transparent included the creation of the position of chief data officer two years back.  NewsWorks Tonight host Dave Heller checks in on how the effort is going with the newest person to serve in that capacity, Tim Wisniewski.



    “Since the mayor signed the executive order in April of 2012, the city has released over 80 data sets from 20 different departments,” said Wisniewski.  “and we’ve begun to change how we do applications in our website to try to connect the public to open data.”

    For instance, Wisniewski said, the city’s property search application has been redesigned to showcase the property data now available.

    Addressing the “digital divide,” Wisniewski said many of the city’s data sets are now available on mobile devices.

    “Among the population of Philadelphians who don’t have Internet access at home, a lot of people have smartphones,” said Wisniewski.  “And we can do our technology in a way that meets those needs.”

    Wisniewski said the trend toward more open data will continue after Nutter leaves office.

    “I would say that open data marks an international shift in the understanding of open government, away from this vague concept of transparency and more toward a measurable and, indeed, comparable medium of data releases,” he said.

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