Open Data Policy Collection

Fort Collins, CO

Council Resolution (Feb 7, 2017)

View original policy (PDF)

Highlight text matching an Open Data Policy Guideline:




WHEREAS, the City is committed to engaging the community by working with citizens and soliciting their ideas, input, and creative energy; and

WHEREAS, the City is committed to using technology to foster open, transparent, and accessible government; and

WHEREAS, the City is committed to maintaining the public trust through openness and transparency; and

WHEREAS, access to public information promotes a higher level of civic engagement and allows citizens to provide valuable feedback to government officials regarding local issues; and

WHEREAS, to help further these purposes, City staff has prepared the Open Data Policy, a copy of which is attached hereto as Exhibit “A” and incorporated herein by reference; and

WHEREAS, one goal of the Open Data policy is to proactively provide information currently sought through public records requests, thereby saving the community time, money, and resources; and

WHEREAS, in commitment to the spirit of open government, the City will consider public information to be open by default and will proactively publish public data and public datacontaining information, unless relevant laws permit or require the records to be withheld; and

WHEREAS, by freely sharing public data, the City seeks to develop opportunities for increased engagement and participation for citizens of the City in achieving desired community results; and

WHEREAS, the protection of privacy, confidentiality and security will be maintained as a paramount priority while also advancing the government’s transparency and accountability through open data; and

WHEREAS, publishing structured, standardized data in machine-readable formats creates new opportunities for information to be combined and visualized in new and unexpected ways, creating a platform for niche markets to be identified and developed, and for citizens to browse, interpret and draw attention to trends or issues with greater ease and efficiency; and

WHEREAS, the City seeks to encourage the local creative community to develop applications, tools, and analyses to view, explore, organize, communicate, and share public data in new and innovative ways; and

WHEREAS, an open data platform and tools which enable citizens to access, visualize, and analyze public information will promote greater civic engagement and encourage citizens to provide feedback on local issues; and

WHEREAS, the City Council has determined it is in the best interest of the City to approve and adopt the Open Data Policy.


Section 1. That the City Council hereby makes and adopts the determinations and findings contained in the recitals set forth above.

Section 2. That the Open Data Policy attached hereto as Exhibit “A” is hereby approved and adopted.

Passed and adopted on at a regular meeting of the Council of the City of Fort Collins this 7th day of February, A.D. 2017.

EXHIBIT A: Open Data Policy

February 7, 2017

It is the policy of the City that public data will be made open and freely available to all online in a machine-readable, open format that can be easily retrieved, downloaded in bulk format and reused utilizing readily-available and free web search applications and software, subject only to valid policy, privacy, confidentiality, security, and other legal restrictions.


As used in this open data policy, these terms shall have the following meanings unless it is apparent from the context that a different meaning is intended:

(1) Agency means any City office, department, commission, board, advisory committee or other division of City government;

(2) Data means statistical, factual, quantitative, or qualitative information that is regularly maintained or created by or on behalf of the City;

(3) Dataset means a named collection of related records, with the collectioncontaining data organized or formatted in a specific or prescribed way, often in tabular form;

(4) Open data means public data or information made readily available online, utilizing best practice structures and formats when possible, with no legal restrictions on use or reuse, unless otherwise required by law;

(5) Open data officer means the staff person designated by the City Manager to coordinate and implement the City’s open data program and policy;

(6) Open data portal means the internet site established and maintained by or on behalf of the City, available from the City’s website or its successor website;

(7) Open format means any widely-accepted, nonproprietary, searchable, platformindependent, machine-readable method for formatting data which permits automated processes;

(8) Protected information means any dataset or portion thereof to which the City department or agency may deny access pursuant to any law, rule or regulation;

(9) Public data or information means any data or information generated or received by the City that can be made public, to the extent such action is lawful and prudent;

(10) Publishable data means data that is not protected or sensitive and has been prepared for release on the open data web portal; and

(11) 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 greater than the potential public benefit of publishing that data.

Procurement, processes and publishing of open data.

(a) To the extent prudent and practical, the City shall:

(2) Make publishable data freely available to all in machine-readable open formats, in both its raw and processed form, including a description of the source and quality of the data;

(3) Ensure publishable data is in the public domain and can be easily retrieved, downloaded, indexed, sorted, searched, analyzed and reused utilizing readilyavailable and free web search applications and software;

(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; and

(6) Maintain the City’s open data portal, which shall provide a central location for publishing City data.

(7) Procure and use efficient processes in a way that advances the policy of making public data and information open and available through the use of open data standards and formats, whenever possible.

(b) The development and implementation of these practices shall be overseen by the open data officer.

(c) The requirements of this policy shall apply to all City departments and shall include data prepared on behalf of the City by outside parties, to the extent permitted by law and agreements with such outside party.


The City Manager shall designate an open data officer, who shall oversee the open data process, including:

(1) Managing the open data portal;

(2) Working with each agency to identify a designee responsible for managing the collection and release of data, who, in coordination with the open data officer, shall prioritize public data for publication based on the frequency of public records requests and additional interest from the public;

(3) Working with the City Attorney’s Office to develop and implement a process for identifying the relative level of risk and public benefit associated with potentially sensitive and protected information, and recommending which public data should not be published online;

(4) Overseeing the creation of a comprehensive inventory of datasets held by each department and agency published to the open data portal and regularly updated;

(5) Establishing processes for optimizing methods of data collection, as well as publishing datasets and creation processes to the open data portal, including processes for ensuring that datasets contain unique identifiers and are reviewed for use-appropriate formats, quality, timeliness, and exclusion of sensitive and protected information; and that data published is complete, reliable, highly detailed, and presented in a way that maximizes public connectivity;

(6) Maintaining written justification for why certain information is not published online; and

(7) Establishing timelines, in coordination with agency and departmental designees, for publishing public data on the open data portal.

Open data portal.

The City will establish an open data portal in March, 2017. The open data portal shall be maintained by or on behalf of the City and shall be administered by the open data officer. The open data portal shall be available at the City’s website or a successor website. In the event a successor website is used, the open data officer shall notify the City Council and shall provide notice to the public on the main City website. The open data portal shall be the central location where the City’s open data can be found, and datasets published on the open data portal shall be explicitly placed into the public domain, thereby ensuring that there are no restrictions or requirements placed on use of these datasets.

Open data report and review.

(a) Within one year of the effective date of the adoption of this policy, and thereafter no later than November 1 of each year, the open data officer shall publicly report on the progress toward achieving the goals of the City’s open data program, an assessment of the current scope of compliance, 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 open data officer 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.

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