Open Data Policy Collection

San Francisco, CA

Legislation (Oct 29, 2010)

View original policy (PDF)




(a) An open data policy will provide benefits to the City, which include:

  1. enhanced government transparency and accountability;
  2. development of new analyses or applications based on the unique data the City provides;
  3. mobilization of San Francisco’s high-tech workforce to use City data to create useful civic tools at no cost to the City; and
  4. creation of social and economic benefits based on innovation in how residents interact with government stemming from increased accessibility to City data sets.

(b) On October 21, 2009, Mayor Newsom issued Executive Directive 09-06, entitled Open Data (“the Directive”). The Directive stated the City’s commitment to transparency in government by declaring that all appropriate data sets would be published through a designated website.

(c) City departments should take further steps to make their data sets available to the public in a more timely and efficient manner.


(a) Each City department, board, commission, and agency (“Department”) shall make reasonable efforts to make available data sets under the Department’s control, provided however, that such disclosure shall be consistent with the rules and standards promulgated by the Committee on Information Technology (“COIT”) and with applicable law, including laws related to privacy.

(b) Data sets shall be made available on the Internet through a web portal linked to or successor website maintained by or on behalf of the City.

(c) Departments shall conduct quarterly reviews of their progress on providing access to data sets requested by the public through the designated web portal.


(a) COIT shall establish rules and standards to implement the open data policy, including developing standards to determine which data sets are appropriate for public disclosure. In making this determination, COIT shall balance the benefits of open data set forth in Section 22D.1, above, with the need to protect from disclosure information that is proprietary, confidential, or protected by law or contract.

(b) Within 60 days of the effective date of this ordinance, COIT shall promulgate rules and standards to implement the open data policy which shall apply to all Departments. The rules and standards shall include the following:

  1. technical requirements for the publishing of public data sets by Departments for the purpose of making public data available to the greatest number of users and for the greatest number of applications. These rules shall, whenever practicable, use non-proprietary technical standards for web publishing and egovernment;
  2. guidelines for Departments to follow in developing their plans for implementing the open data policy consistent with the standards established by COIT. Each plan shall include an accounting of public data sets under the control of the Department; and
  3. rules for including open data requirements in applicable City contracts.

(c) COIT shall also evaluate the merits and feasibility of making City data sets available pursuant to a generic license, such as those offered by “Creative Commons.” Such a license could grant any user the right to copy, distribute, display and create derivative works at no cost and with a minimum level of conditions placed on the use. If appropriate, COIT shall specify the terms and conditions of such a generic license in the standards it develops to implement the open data policy.

(d) Prior to issuing rules and standards, COIT shall solicit comments from the public, including from individuals and firms who have successfully developed applications using open data sets.

(Added by Ord. 293-10, File No. 101155, App. 11/18/2010)

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