Philadelphia to establish open data policy

Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter will sign an executive order establishing a formal open data policy for the city.

Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter is expected today to sign an executive order establishing a formal open data policy for the city, according to a report.

Sources told local tech startups blog Technically Philly that Nutter will sign the order this afternoon. Philadelphia is currently in the midst of its second "Philly Tech Week," which aims to bring engineers, investors and thought leaders together for one week each year.

A handful of grassroots groups have been pushing the city to release data for more than a year, with the aim of using government data to help it run more efficiently and transparently. Nutter's administration -- now in its second term -- has increasingly been receptive to collaboration.

Further details of the order have yet to be released; we'll see what it entails later today. The challenge, however, is making the order stick. As Technically Philly points out, Philadelphia's urban neighbor to the south, Baltimore, has taken a similar path but its efforts have been somewhat hampered by bureaucracy. In contrast, Philadelphia's neighbor to the north, New York City, managed to enact a bold plan last month -- but its mayor, Michael Bloomberg, has taken on the initiative as a pet project of sorts.

The northeastern U.S. is hardly alone in the endeavor; Chicago, San Francisco, Portland, Vancouver and Washington, D.C. have all explored or pursued open data initiatives.

Photo: Afshin Darian/Flickr

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com