Detroit’s Open Data Efforts Get Big Boost From Socrata Foundation

traxlergirl / Shutterstock.com

 

Connecting state and local government leaders

The Motor City is the first recipient of a technical grant that will help unlock its data, which is now available through a newly unveiled portal.

Last year, cyberattackers targeting Detroit’s city government took control of a municipal database and wouldn't unlock it until the city paid a 2,000 Bitcoin ransom, worth approximately $800,000 at the time.

While Mayor Mike Duggan disclosed that the city was being held for ransom, he noted that the database wasn’t important and that the city had refused to pay the ransom. Although the cyberattack had limited impact, it highlighted some of the ongoing troubles the financially beleaguered city was facing when it came to its digital infrastructure.

How could a cash-strapped city emerging from bankruptcy with so many other needs and priorities move forward on digital projects?

On Thursday, Detroit received some good news on that front.

Seattle-based Socrata, a privately held software company that helps public-sector organizations improve transparency, public services and data-driven decisionmaking, announced the formation of the Socrata Foundation and that Detroit would receive its first technical grant to help unlock the city’s information and make it more accessible to the public.

It’s all part of the effort to “expand on the company’s mission to unleash the power of open data to improve the world,” according to Socrata’s announcement.

“Detroit knew that the transparency, accountability and fact-based decision-making that stem from open data was the absolute right thing for its citizens, but buying technology just didn’t seem fiscally responsible, given where the city has been financially,” Socrata founder and CEO Kevin Merritt said in a statement.

In the case of Detroit, Socrata has made its open data platforms available to the city, which has launched an open data portal at data.detroitmi.gov.

“Providing access to information is one of the most important things we can do to keep the public’s trust and establish a sense of accountability within city government,” Duggan said in a statement. “Today is an important first step in that direction and one we will continue to build on as more information is added to this new website.”

More than 75 datasets are now publicly available through the portal, involving nine city agencies. Information involving police reports, blight remediation, building and trade permitting, land bank sales and building demolitions is available.

For the Socrata Foundation, there are three types of open data projects it will get involved with, according to its announcement:

  • Those that create new opportunities for underserved communities and regions around the world
  • Those that represent compelling social ROI but are constrained by economic forces beyond the control of stakeholders
  • And those that offer the potential to advance open data science and research

“There are so many worthwhile organizations that are truly data-driven at heart,” Merritt said in Socrata’s announcement, “and they want to use open data to positively impact and improve the quality of life for millions of people on just about every continent. . . . We believe that the innovative use of open data can remove a number of barriers standing in the way of social justice and economic progress.”

FEATURED CASE STUDIES
Powered By The Atlas
Expanding broadband access with small cell deployment in City of Ontario
Ontario, CA, USA
Laguna Beach open 24/7/365 for business license renewals!
Laguna Beach, CA, USA
Scottsdale tracks strategic plan to better share progress with City Council, staff and residents
Scottsdale, AZ, USA

NEXT STORY: Phoenix Has a Secret Weapon In Its War Against Graffiti

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.