Open Data Policy Collection

Modesto, CA

Administrative policy (Aug 2, 2017)

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Policy on Open Data for the City of Modesto

Section 1: Definitions

a. “Data” means statistical, factual, quantitative, or qualitative information that is maintained or created by or on behalf of a City agency. This definition is inclusive of software source code developed or maintained by or on behalf of the City.

b. “Open data” means data that is available online, in an open format, with no legal encumbrances on use or reuse, and is available for all to access and download in full without fees or a requirement of registration. “Legal encumbrance” includes federal copyright protections, federal and state trademark protections, and other, non-statutory legal limitations on how or under what conditions a dataset ma be used. This definition is also inclusive of any software source code made available online (“open source software”).

c. “Open format” means any widely accepted, nonproprietary, platform-independent, machinereadable data format, which permits automated processing of such data and facilitates analysis and search capabilities.

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

e. “Protected information” means any data, dataset or portion thereof, to which a department or division may deny access pursuant to the California Public Records Act or any other applicable rule regulation, public records law or any other provision of a federal or state law; Protected information includes any data, data set or portion thereof which contains any personally identifiable information or financial identifying information that can be associated with a particular individual through one or more identifiers or other information or circumstances and specifically includes, but is not limited to, a private individual’s home address, personal electronic mail address, personal telephone number, social security number and/or driver’s license number.

f. “Sensitive information” means any data which, if published by the City online, could raise privacy, confidentiality or security concerns, result in the publication of privileged information, result in the publication of information not subject to public disclosure requirements, 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 to the public.

h. A “Data Dictionary” is a collection of names, definitions, and attributes about data elements that are being used or captured in a database, information system, or part of a research project. It describes the meanings and purposes of data elements within the context of a project, and provides guidance on interpretation, accepted meanings and representation. A Data Dictionary also provides metadata about data elements. The metadata included in a Data Dictionary can assist in defining the scope and characteristics of data elements, as well the rules for their usage and application.

j. The “Data Governance Board” (DGB) is the team that oversees the City’s Data Governance Policy and processes including Open Data and Performance Data initiatives.

k. “Data Governance Committee(s)” (DGC) are formed by the teams focusing on each of the City’s Strategic Initiatives. Each Committee identifies Goals/Objectives, Strategic Outcomes, and relevant KPIs associated with Performance Data. They also identify and approve relevant Datasets associated with Open Data.

l. “Data Coordinator(s)” are main points of contact and coordination in all data matters for each Data Governance Committee.

m. “Data Steward(s)” are the ‘owners’ of specific Datasets.

Section 2: Open Data Program

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

  1. Proactively release all publishable City data, making it freely available in appropriately varied and useful open formats, using an open license with no restrictions on use or reuse, and fully accessible to the broadest range of users to use for varying purposes;

  2. Provide or support access to free, historical archives of all released City data;

  3. Measure the effectiveness of datasets made available through the Open Data Program by connecting open data efforts to the City’s programmatic priorities;

  4. Minimize limitations on the disclosure of public information while appropriately safeguarding protected and sensitive information; and

  5. Support 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 Chief Information Officer, reporting to the Council.

a. The requirements of this Order shall apply to any City department, office, administrative unit, commission, board, advisory committee or other division of City government (“agency”), including the records of third party agency contractors that create or acquire information, records, or data on behalf of a City agency.

a. Appropriate funding shall be made available to achieve the goals of this program.

Section 3: Governance

a. Implementation of the Open Data Program will be overseen by the Chief Information Officer, who will work with the City’s departments and agencies to:

  1. For each City agency and each strategic initiative, identify and publish appropriate contact information for a lead open data coordinator who will be responsible for managing that agency’s or that initiative’s participation in the Open Data Program;

  2. Oversee the creation of a comprehensive inventory of datasets held by each City agency which is published to the central open data location and is 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 which takes into account new and existing signals of interest from the public (such as the frequency of public records requests), the City’s programmatic priorities, existing opportunities for data use in the public interest, and cost;

  5. Proactively consult with members of the public, agency staff, journalists, researchers, and other stakeholders to identify the datasets which will have the greatest benefit to City residents ifpublished in a high quality manner;

  6. Establish processes for publishing datasets to the central open data location, including processes for ensuring that datasets are high quality, up-to-date, are in use-appropriate formats, and exclude protected and sensitive information;

  7. Develop and oversee a routinely updated, public timeline for new dataset publication; and

  8. Make recommendations for historical document inclusion and define a schedule for approved historical document publication

  9. Ensure that published datasets are available for bulk download and/or available via public application programming interfaces (APIs) without legal encumbrance.

b. In order to increase and improve use of the City’s open data, the Chief Information Officer will actively encourage agency and public participation through providing regular opportunities for feedback and collaboration.

c. Each Strategic Initiative team will establish its own Data Governance Committee and establish a charter appropriate to the initiative and in harmony with the other initiatives. The Effective, Transparent Government initiative team will also establish Data Guidelines applicable to all initiatives.

Section 4: Central Online Location for Published Data

a. The City will 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. Published datasets 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.


d. City departments will specify a recommended data citation form available for viewing on the central online location for published City data to encourage responsible reuse of City data.

Section 5: Open Data Report and Review

a. Within one year of the effective date of this Executive Order, and thereafter no later than May 1st of each year, the Chief Information Officer shall publish 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, an assessment of how the City’s open data work has furthered or will further the City’s programmatic priorities, and a description and publication timeline for datasets envisioned to be published by the City in the following year.

b. During the review and reporting period, the Chief Information 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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