DRAFT Open Data Program: City of Sioux Falls

Shared for feedback by City of Sioux Falls

The City of Sioux Falls is working to make more data available to the public with the help of What Works Cities partners. As part of the work, an Open Data Program guidance document has been drafted that provides guidelines for the City departments and employees when collecting and releasing City data.

Read the document

DRAFT Open Data Program: City of Sioux Falls

I. Objective and Scope

To provide guidelines to the City of Sioux Falls departments and City employees in the collection and distribution of city data. This program applies to all City departments, employees, and third parties that may work on behalf of the City.

The Central Services department shall oversee and enforce this program.

II. Definitions

Data or Data Sets – a value or set of values that provide statistical, geographical, or other information. Data becomes information when analyzed and possibly combined with other data in order to extract meaning and provide context.

Open Data – data made public and provided in a convenient form. It should be collected in an alphanumeric form reflected in a list, table, graph, chart, or similar form that can be digitally transmitted or processed. The data should be regularly maintained and include metadata if available. Data should be made available in machine readable and digitally accessible formats, but shall not include Protected Data (defined below).

Open Data Portal – data is published and available for public consumption through the Open Data Portal, which is accessed through the City’s website.

Publishable Data – Data or Data Sets that are not Protected Data or otherwise sensitive information and that have been prepared for release on the Open Data Portal.

Protected Data means any Data or Data Set:

  1. That contains a significant amount of Data or Data Sets and where the disclosure of such Data would impose an undue financial or administrative burden on the City; or
  2. That reflects the internal deliberative or administrative processes of the City, including, but not limited to, Data and Data Sets relating to negotiating positions, future procurements, or pending or reasonably anticipated legal or administrative proceedings; or
  3. That is subject to privacy laws, student records laws, copyright, patent, trademark, or trade secret protection, a confidentiality agreement, an attorney/client privileged communication, or otherwise protected by law or contract; or
  4. That includes or constitutes proprietary applications, computer code, software, operating systems, or similar materials; or
  5. That includes or constitutes employment records, protected health information, internal employee-related directories or lists, facilities data, information technology, or internal service desk data of the City; or
  6. That if disclosed by the City might raise privacy, confidentiality, or security concerns or jeopardize, or have the potential to jeopardize, public health, safety, or welfare; or
  7. That is otherwise exempt from disclosure pursuant to South Dakota laws, including, but not limited to, the South Dakota Open Records Act.

III. Policy Goals

Departments are encouraged to provide Open Data through the City’s Open Data Portal to achieve the following policy goals:

  1. Increase transparency, access, and accountability;
  2. Enhance data coordination and efficiencies internally and externally;
  3. Create public access through a single portal to promote the ability to obtain, aggregate, analyze, and optimize data;
  4. Promote a higher level of civic engagement through a more informed community; and
  5. Proactively publish frequently sought information. While engaging these program goals, the City will recognize and protect the privacy, confidentiality, public safety, and security of data in accordance with federal, state, and local laws.

IV. Public Data Access

The Central Services department provides and manages the Open Data Portal where Open Data and Data Sets are made accessible to the public. Compliance with information security and web office standards will be consistently followed.

Open Data and Data Sets may be accessible to external search capabilities.

Any user of Open Data or Data Sets distributed by the City may use such Open Data or Data Sets without charge.

Open Data or Data Sets will be accessible without the use of a user account or password.

In the event that data is published or presented, data users will be encouraged to use the clear, easy-to-use citation included in each dataset. Data will be presented in open formats according to best practices and in bulk when appropriate to maximize technical access to Open Data for varied uses.

V. Open Data Governance Committee

An Open Data Governance Committee will be administered and facilitated by the Central Services department, which 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 Program;
  2. Oversee a comprehensive inventory of Data Sets held by each City department that are published to the Open Data Portal;
  3. Determine what data may be relevant to the public and City staff. Assist in prioritizing the release of Data or Data Sets to the Open Data Portal. The committee will take into consideration new and existing signals of interest from the public and City staff (such as the frequency and type of open records requests), the City’s programmatic priorities, and cost;
  4. Oversee processes to ensure that Data and Data Sets reviewed for use-appropriate formats, quality, timeliness, and exclusion of protected and sensitive information;
  5. Determine how the data will be processed and prepared for publishing;
  6. Incorporate electronic data entry into daily operations for more efficient data gathering; and
  7. Manage a routinely updated, public timeline for new Data and Data Set publication.

In order to increase and improve use of the City’s Open Data and Data Sets, the Open Data Governance Committee will actively encourage department and public participation by providing regular opportunities for feedback and collaboration.

The City will provide an Open Data Report to the public a year after the Open Data Program begins. The report will reflect on the City’s progress in meeting the goals of the Open Data Program.

VI. Data Availability

For the purpose of identifying which Data or Data Sets should be made accessible as Open Data, the City may consider whether the information in the Data or Data Set:

  1. Releases Data or Data Sets frequently requested by the public or City departments; or
  2. Improves public knowledge of the City’s operations and furthers its priorities; or
  3. Increases City accountability, efficiency, responsiveness, or delivery of services.

Data or Data Sets shall be updated in a reasonable manner, using automated processes to update Data when possible, and to preserve the integrity and usefulness of the Data or Data Sets.

VII. Open Data Program

The Open Data Program defines processes, tracks measureable goals, and oversees data quality.

The requirements of the Open Data Program apply to all City departments, commissions, boards, and advisory committees. The City of Sioux Falls will develop and implement practices that allow it to:

  1. Proactively release data, making it readily available in open formats, with no restrictions on lawful, noncommercial use or reuse, and fully accessible, at no cost, to the broadest range of users.
  2. Add and maintain data in the Open Data Portal that provides a central location for published City Data and Data Sets with metadata as available.
  3. Educate and encourage use of the City’s Publishable Data by agencies, the public, and other partners.

VIII. Open Data Legalities

Data or Data Sets made available on the Open Data Portal are provided for informational purposes only. The City does not warrant the completeness, accuracy, content, or fitness for any particular purpose or use of any Data or Data Set made accessible, nor are any warranties to be implied or inferred with respect to any such Data or Data Sets.

The City shall not be liable for any deficiencies in the completeness, accuracy, content, or fitness for any particular purpose or use of any Data or Data Set, or application utilizing any such Data or Data Set, provided by the City or anyone fulfilling Open Data activities for the City.

This Program shall not create any private rights or any private right of action to enforce its provisions. Failure to comply with this Open Data Program shall not result in any liability on the part of the City or its employees.

No user shall have intellectual property rights or proprietary interests in Open Data or Data Sets, including without limitation, any written materials, logos, trademarks, trade names, copyrights, patent applications, patents, know-how, trade secrets, or moral rights. No use of Open Data or Data Sets shall be deemed to constitute a partnership or joint venture between the user and the City, or between the City and anyone fulfilling open data activities for the City.

The City will make every effort to provide the data using leading industry standards. However, the City is unable to provide individual technical support after the data is downloaded.

Nothing in this Open Data Program shall be deemed to prohibit the City from voluntarily disclosing information not otherwise defined in Section II as “Data” or “Data Sets,” including, when appropriate, narrative in machine readable text, as long as it is not Protected Data.

  • User profile image

    DKAN Project

    Open Data Portal

    Thank you for providing the opportunity to publicly comment on your open data policy. Congratulations on embracing an open approach to open data from the start.

    When considering technology options for managing and hosting open data, it is critical to prioritize free and open source solutions.

    To better understand the importance of this, I urge you to take advantage of the guidance provided by the U.S. Government's Project Open Data (https://project-open-data.cio.gov/). Although directed at federal agencies it offers open data tools and best practices for all levels of government. All of the tools are available for free since they are under free and open source software licenses and can be used by anyone, including governments.

    For example Project Open Data recommends using the free and open source data platforms CKAN (https://ckan.org) and DKAN (https://getdkan.org/). Both of these platforms are widely used by many governmental organizations globally. Because of the large community of governments using and contributing to the tools, you can trust that the tools are supported and improved over time without the risk of being locked into a single vendor or escalating support costs.

    Since CKAN and DKAN use open data formats, open protocols and open APIs, there is a rich selection of tools that are interoperable with both. Also, since there is a competitive market for development, hosting and support services, governments can select from any CKAN or DKAN vendor without fear of financial or technical lock-in. Open source platforms such as CKAN and DKAN provide that transparency by ensuring that government entities can select their publication platform independently of financial costs and vendor agreements.

    There are also licensing freedoms associated with free and open source platforms such as CKAN and DKAN.

    Advantages of open source licensing include:

    • No licensing fees (Including no licensing fees based on the number of datasets or the amount of data published).
    • Governments are free to select any vendor for support agreements including the ability to switch support vendors while continuing to use the same software and instance.
    • Governments can use the software without a support contract. If the agency determines that a support contract is not cost-effective or needs to reduce costs temporarily, it has the ability to self-support with existing staff.
    • Governments can make modifications to the software that meet its needs by either using internal staff or partnering with a third-party vendor.
    • Governments can use the publicly-available improvements created by other government agencies that it determines are useful for free and without the need for interagency agreements.
    • Allows the software to work with any other partner agency’s platform including the industry standard platforms CKAN and DKAN.

    Since the use of open source software to host open data allows the agency a unrestricted right to use the software indefinitely, the general public can rely on the location of the open data. A stable location allows the general public, journalists and businesses to rely on the availability of the data incorporate accessing the data into their own procedures, and automated processes. In contrast, using proprietary platforms forces the general public to spend money on licensing fees and development fees to build new tools to interface with the proprietary vendor and even lose track of the data if the agency ever decides to switch vendors. The inconvenience of switching proprietary vendors too often forces agencies to stay with a vendor offering subpar services even as proprietary licensing fees increase, because vendors know the agency is “locked-in.”

    Open data is essential for increasing transparency and democratizing access to government information and participation. However, data can never truly be open if governments or the general public have to pay exorbitant costs or struggle to locate the data through a maze of closed technical protocols that can change based on the financial interests of proprietary vendors.

    To truly open data, the data should be gathered and published using free and open source tools that provide transparency to not just the data, but the integrity and availability of the data as well.

  • User profile image

    Amber Gibson

    VII. Open Data Program

    Again, examples or visuals could be used here.

  • User profile image

    Amber Gibson

    VI. Data Availability

    Examples or visuals could be used here.

  • User profile image

    Amber Gibson

    I. Objective and Scope

    Overall, I find that this document is slightly difficult to understand due to the technicality of it and not already being familiar with the topic. Because this is a program, the technical aspect of it is necessary to a certain point, but perhaps a more reader friendly introduction could be added, or portions of the program itself could be made more reader friendly.

  • User profile image

    Amber Gibson

    Publishable Data

    It may be helpful to include examples of publishable data.

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