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Capitol Code: An Open Data Jam Uses Data to Create Citizen Technology Solutions

According to a recent article by Nextgov, “cities hold the largest share of government data in the U.S., covering everything from liquor licenses to teacher performance reviews, but only a handful of cities have released that data to outside researchers and app developers.”

This Nextgov article is one of many addressing the use of open data in government. Since the White House released its open data policy in the spring of 2013, requiring that all federal government data be made available to the public, joining open data innovation and citizen collaboration to create solutions for common local government challenges has become a hot topic. capitolcode

This month’s open data event in St. Paul, Minnesota (home to the GovDelivery Central office) intersects with these themes of open data innovation. Capitol Code: An Open Data Jam on February 22 invites any citizens, analysts, business and community leaders, designers, government officials, media, software programmers, and others to join them in creating citizen technology solutions using accessible public data. Unlike other hackathons that have been held around the country, this one is being sponsored and hosted through the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office.

Open data initiatives like this event can help local governments learn more about citizen priorities and empower citizens to participate directly in their local government. Many similar events have led to apps that give the public easy access to information about construction, city services, parking and towing, green issues, and much more.

There are many citizen benefits of capitalizing on open data to create technology solutions. According to the Secretary of State, Mark Ritchie, “Public data is a tremendous resource for Minnesotans, and I’m excited to see the innovation, new business and employment opportunities that can be generated by using this information.”

If you’re in the Twin Cities area and are interested in participating in the Capitol Code, the event will be held at Coco in Uptown Minneapolis. For more information, visit their website at http://capitolcode.mn.gov/. The solutions resulting from the open data jam will be posted and presented online after the event.

What mobile app or other technology solution would you like to see come out of the Capitol Code or another open data initiative near you? Let us know in the comments below!