City of Tyler Data Policy

Shared for feedback by Kristi


The purpose of this policy is to establish Tyler’s Open Data Program which is intended to increase community engagement, economic well-being, internal data sharing, data-informed decision-making, and government transparency. These outcomes are the result of efforts by the open data program and its stakeholders to supply city data and market it both internally and externally. Note that these outcomes are also affected by numerous intervening factors such as other city activities, city finances, and the state of the economy. More immediate outcomes of the open data program include an awareness of open data among both city staff and the public, as well as consistent growth of the supply of data.

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City of Tyler Data Policy


I: Definitions

A. Data: means statistical, factual, quantitative, or qualitative information that is regularly maintained or created by or on behalf of a city department.

B. Open data: means data that is available online, in an open format, with no legal encumbrances on use or reuse.

C. Open format: means any widely accepted, nonproprietary, platform-independent, machine-readable method for formatting data, which permits automated processing of such data and facilitates search capabilities.

D. Dataset: means a named collection of related records, with the collection containing data organized or formatted in a specific or prescribed way, often in tabular form.

E. Protected Information: means any dataset or portion thereof to which a department may deny access pursuant to Texas statutes or any other law or rule or regulation.

F. Sensitive Information: means any data which, if published on the Open Data Portal, could raise privacy, confidentiality or security concerns or have the potential to jeopardize public health, safety, or welfare to an extent that is greater than the potential public benefit of publishing that data.

G. Publishable Data: means data which is not protected or sensitive and which has been prepared for release on the open data web portal.

II: Open Data Initiative

A. The City will develop and implement practices that allow it to:

  1. Proactively release publishable city data, making it freely available in open formats, with no restrictions on use or reuse, and fully accessible to the broadest range of users to use for varying purposes;
  2. Publish high quality, updated data with documentation (metadata) and permanence to encourage maximum use;
  3. Establish and maintain an open data web portal that provides a central location for published City data;
  4. Minimize limitations on the disclosure of public information while appropriately safeguarding protected and sensitive information;
  5. Encourage innovative uses of the city’s publishable data by agencies, the public, and other partners

B. The development and implementation of these practices shall be overseen by the City Manager’s Office;

C. The requirements of this resolution shall apply to any city department, office, administrative unit, commission, board, advisory committee or other division of city government (“department”).

III: Governance

A. Implementation of the Open Data Initiative will be overseen by the City Manager’s Office, who will work with the city’s departments and agencies to:

  1. Identify a lead open data coordinator for each city department who will be responsible for managing that department's participation in the Open Data Initiative;
  2. Oversee the creation of a comprehensive inventory of datasets held by each city department which is published to the Open Data Portal and regularly updated;
  3. Develop and implement a process for determining the relative level of risk and public benefit associated with potentially sensitive, non-protected information so as to make a determination about whether and how to publish it;
  4. Develop and implement a process for prioritizing the release of datasets to the Open Data Portal which takes into account new and existing signals of interest from the public (such as the frequency of Public Information Act requests), the city's programmatic priorities, existing opportunities for data use in the public interest, and cost;
  5. Establish processes for publishing datasets to the Open Data Portal, including processes for ensuring that datasets are reviewed for use-appropriate formats, quality, timeliness, and exclusion of protected and sensitive information;
  6. Develop and oversee a routinely updated, public timeline for new dataset publication; and
  7. Ensure that published datasets are available for bulk download.

B. In order to increase and improve use of the city’s open data, the City Manager’s Office will actively encourage department and public participation through providing regular opportunities for feedback and collaboration.

IV: Central Online Location for Published Data

A. The City will work to create and maintain a publicly available location on the city’s website or in another suitable online location where the city’s published data will be available for download.

B. Datasets published on the Open Data Portal shall be placed into the public domain. Dedicating datasets to the public domain means that there are no restrictions or requirements placed on use of these datasets.

V: Open Data Report and Review

A. Within one year of the effective date of this resolution, and thereafter no later than October 15th of each year, the City Manager’s Office shall submit to the City Council an annual Open Data Report. The report shall include an assessment of progress towards achievement of the goals of the city’s open data program, a list of datasets currently available on the Open Data Portal, and a description and publication timeline for datasets envisioned to be published on the portal in the following year.

B. During the review and reporting period, the City Manager’s Office should also make suggestions for improving the city’s open data management processes in order to ensure that the city continues to move towards the achievement of the policy’s goals.

  • User profile image

    Cory McCoy

    I don't see any explanation of how this will affect FOIA requests. What is the timeline of dispute and who makes that decision when a request is not going to be granted under this policy? With many of our requests, we need the information as soon as possible. If the data coordinator deems an item sensitive, what is the timeline for their response? 24 hours, 48 hours, a week? I applaud the desire for more openness, but without a defined FOIA escalation policy, it could end up being another hurdle.

  • User profile image

    Douglas Clark

    Are the goals of the data project those listed in Section 11? You might want to consider identifying them as such so it is clear that the "initiatives" are the "goals". If the goals are different, you may want to consider including them in this document.

  • User profile image

    Douglas Clark

    Will a specific professional person be identified to lead this project within the City Managers office or will this be managed by a clerical person?

  • User profile image

    Mary Jo Burgess

    Will the data be "view only" and if not, will there be a way to ensure that the data is not editable if downloaded/printed?

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