City of Memphis Open Data Policy

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City of Memphis Open Data Policy


I. Purpose

The City of Memphis is committed to expanding the data it makes available to the public and providing the tools for understanding and interpretation of the data. To realize this commitment, this Open Data Policy sets forth the principles for the Memphis Open Data Program and establishes the Data Governance Committee. The Data Governance Committee will develop policies, procedures and standards for implementation of the Open Data Policy, including a means by which to determine the Data or Data Sets that are appropriate for public disclosure and a timeline for program implementation.

II. Goals of Open Data Program

The Open Data Program Policy is being adopted to use technology to promote more transparency and accessibility to:

A. Increase the ability of residents to monitor and measure the City’s goals and results as well as to hold the City of Memphis government accountable.

B. Expand the ability of the City of Memphis to use data to improve core city functions.

C. Broaden the number of opportunities for the City of Memphis to collaborate with individuals as well as public, non-profit, academic and private sector groups to address the needs of the community.

III. Open Data Principles

A. The City of Memphis and parties acting on its behalf shall proactively make City data available and shall make the information available through the City’s web site, subject to Tennessee Public Records Act and other local, state and federal rules, regulations and laws.

B. Whenever technically possible, data and accompanying metadata shall be made available and be published in machine-readable form.

C. Datasets on the open data portal shall be made available without any registration or license requirement.

D. The City of Memphis shall license any Open Data it publishes for free re-use to ensure clarity of copyright without legal responsibility or liability for publishing such data in accordance with any local, state or federal rule, regulation and law.

E. While not required, the City of Memphis requests that subsequent publication of the data or datasets include a proper citation. The suggested format is: City of Memphis, Open Data Program, Name of Dataset, [date accessed][website address]. If the data is published with any material changes then the publisher is required to note such changes.

F. The City of Memphis will document and publish the manner in which the data is collected and datasets created for publication on the Open Data Program.

IV. Data Governance Committee

A. A Data Governance Committee will be established by the Mayor to develop internal procedures, policies, rules and standards for implementation of the Open Data Policy, including a means by which to determine the Data or Data Sets that are appropriate for public disclosure and a timeline for policy implementation. No data which is considered Protected Information shall be disclosed.

B. The Data Governance Committee will review public inquiries and review Data and Data Set specifications. At minimum, the Data Governance Committee will consist of representatives from Information Services, Office of Performance Management, City Attorney’s Office, Office of Communications, and Office of the COO. The final determination as to which Data and Data Sets shall remain with the City Attorney’s Office.

C. The Data Governance Committee, with assistance from the OPM, shall:

(a) Create and maintain the Open Data Playbook and related documents that govern the City's Open Data Program. The Playbook shall be reviewed and updated as necessary at least annually.

(b) Ensure that datasets published to the open data portal are available in machine-readable formats that permit processing of the data for download through an automated programming interface (API) or bulk download.

(c) Maintain and make public a master City of Memphis data catalog that lists all available data and datasets.

(d) If it is determined that certain information is protected from disclosure, the Committee shall work with the Division Open Data Champion and the City Attorney's office to determine what if any data or datasets may be released.

(e) Ensure that data published through the Open Data Program adheres to the open data, security, retention and public disclosure policies and standards.

(f) Communicate City of Memphis open data policies and standards to the public, department management and Open Data Champions.

(g) Review and approve for accuracy all data and datasets prior to its initial publication to the open data portal.

(h) Provide training and support for department Open Data Champions.

(i) Provide a public process to allow individuals to review and correct data that concerns their own individual personal information.

(j) Annually update and publish the Open Data Plan based on recommendations and requirements solicited from elected officials, department management, department open data champions, business partners and members of the public.

V. Stakeholder Engagement

The OPM and the Data Governance Committee, working with other City divisions and partners, shall:

(1) Create regular opportunities for members of the public, City employees and other individuals acting on the City’s behalf, and other stakeholders to work collaboratively on recommendations for how the City should provide and use data, as well as how the City can use the directives in this Policy to develop, deliver, monitor and measure the success of its Open Data Program.

(2) Implement a mechanism or mechanisms to solicit public feedback and encourage discussion on policies and public data datasets available on the open data portal.

(3) Consider requests received through such mechanisms when prioritizing data or datasets for release, and incorporate these recommendations into the annual Open Data plan.


Application Program Interface (API): A set of subroutine definitions, protocols, and tools for building application software.

City of Memphis Data: All data created, collected and/or maintained by the City of Memphis or by contractors or agencies on the City’s behalf.

Data Governance Committee: A cross-functional committee made up of representatives from the Chief Operating Officer, Office of Performance Management, Information Services, the City Attorney’s Office, divisional open data champions, and interested outside parties.

Machine-Readable: Any widely-accepted, nonproprietary, platform-independent, machine-readable method for formatting data (such as JSON, XML and API’s) which permits automated processing of such data and facilitates search capabilities.

Metadata: Any information that is used to provide descriptive detail about a Dataset, i.e., a data dictionary.

Open Data: Specific datasets that are made available to the public by the City.

Open Data Champion: Designated by each department, this person serves as the point of contact and coordinator for that department’s publishing of Open Data.

Open Data Playbook: Guide defining strategies City departments and offices can implement to making their data open, encourage public use consistent with the City’s privacy and security policies, and realize benefits for their departments.

Open Data Portal:, the City’s catalog and primary repository for Open Data.

Open Data Program: Program dedicated to making City of Memphis data available to the public and engaging civic technologists, the research community, and other partners to make use of Open Data in support of the Program’s goals.

Protected Information: Includes, but is not limited to 1) all confidential or restricted information, as defined by the Tennessee Public Records Act, the Privacy Act, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act or any other state or federal law shall be made available under this Policy; 2) any record that contains a significant amount of confidential information as to which access may be denied pursuant to the TPRA or any other law, if the removal of such confidential information from those records, that would otherwise meet the definition of Data or a Dataset, would impose an undue financial or administrative burden on the City; (3) any record that reflects the internal deliberative or administrative process(es) of any Department, including, but not limited to, records on negotiating positions, future procurements or pending or reasonably anticipated legal or administrative proceedings; (4) any record subject to privacy laws, or to copyright, patent, trademark or trade secret protection, or that are otherwise protected by law or contract; (5) proprietary applications, computer code, software, operating systems or similar materials; (6) employment records, internal employee-related directories or lists, facilities record, information technology, internal service-desk records or other records related to the internal administration of a Department; or (7) any information which, if disclosed on the City’s Open Data Portal, would raise privacy, confidentiality or security concerns, or jeopardize or have the potential to jeopardize, public health, safety or welfare.

  • User profile image

    Kerry Hayes

    At minimum, the Data Governance Committee will consist of representatives from Information Services, Office of Performance Management, City Attorney’s Office, Office of Communications, and Office of the COO.

    Do you not want any non-govt members to this community? Data specialists from the corporate sector and/or transparency advocates from the non-profit sector may be valuable additions.

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    Myrtis Washington

    Political Officials are approaching this city's problems in a very disconnected manner. This city should be in a state of emergency. The need for immediate actions, enforcement, and decentralization is vital to implementing drastic changes to this city. The citizens of Memphis can appreciate all efforts the political arena provide, but the political arena avoid addressing the issues that henders the city's growth. Who would move to Memphis with such a high crime rate, low-level comprehension, and low-level skilled jobs? Where is the incentive? How would moving to Memphis improve a persons quality of life? So data sharing with the citizens of the City of Memphis is good but this could be better used as a communication vehicle to educate citizens on new policies .i.e. a requirement of being a productive citizen, at least GED, and employable. Data is not needed to see the need for the political officials to promote a home improvement loan/lender program that assist in meeting city building codes and adress citizens' request of city services by measuring the wait time and correctness. This site of data should monitor the growth of Memphis. But the data site should start with data reflecting the areas where improvement is required. Also, the data site will depict where the city funding should be spent.

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    Thomas Jones

    It could be good to include a citizen on your oversight group to ensure some external opinions.

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    Lynn Strickland

    Please add progress on the commitments included in the Mayor's Climate Action letter and the Put Solar On It resolution to the data available on line.

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    A.T. Farrell

    Mayor Strickland, please consider including MORE in the Code Enforcement Chart such as HOW LONG it takes to RESOLVE a case. The chart is VERY misleading, only giving response time to begin a case. When residents have to file multiple reports over a 6 month period, because a case continually gets "closed", something is wrong with the system or the employees.

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    Manu Koenig

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