OpenDenton is a community driven open data intiative to help increase access and encourage the use of public data in the city of Denton. If you aren't familiar with the concept of open data, here's a quick rundown.
Availability and access: the data must be available as a whole and at no more than a reasonable reproduction cost, preferably by downloading over the internet. The data must also be available in a convenient and modifiable form.
Reuse and redistribution: the data must be provided under terms that permit reuse and redistribution including the intermixing with other datasets. The data must be machine-readable.
Universal participation: everyone must be able to use, reuse and redistribute — there should be no discrimination against fields of endeavour or against persons or groups. For example, ‘non-commercial’ restrictions that would prevent ‘commercial’ use, or restrictions of use for certain purposes (e.g. only in education), are not allowed.
Open data comes in many different forms, some that you might not even expect. Types of data can come from culture, science, finance, statistics, weather, environment, transport - and more. Open Data is important to communities because it encourages 3 very important concepts:
In a well-functioning, democratic society citizens need to know what their government is doing. To do that, they must be able freely to access government data and information and to share that information with other citizens. Transparency isn’t just about access, it is also about sharing and reuse.
Social & Commercial Value
Everything from finding your local post office to building a search engine requires access to data, much of which is created or held by government. By opening up data, government can help drive the creation of innovative business and services that deliver social and commercial value.
Much of the time citizens are only able to engage with their own governance sporadically — maybe just at an election every 4 or 5 years. This is more than transparency: it’s about making a full “read/write” society, not just about knowing what is happening in the process of governance but being able to contribute to it.
The City of Denton has already started releasing data to the public, and we're incredibly excited to be living in a city that promotes open data. In 2016, the city created a new open data portal based on CKAN where you can search datasets, have direct access to data via APIs, and even check their new contextual dashboards.
If you're interested in contributing, join the group! We'd love to work together to help promote and utilize open data in Denton.