In Louisiana’s city of Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge Parish, open data isn’t just a technical solution. Rather, it’s viewed as a catalyst for transparency and economic growth, and as a connection point between the city and its citizens.
It was on this note that Mayor-President Melvin L. “Kip” Holden launched the city-parish’s open data portal, Open Data BR on Jan. 30, to offer residents and businesses access to the jurisdiction’s raw data. As a first entry into the emerging ecosystem of open data, the mayor has championed the portal as a key component of his digital initiatives for 2015 — which also include expanding free public Wi-Fi and leveraging social media applications for public safety.
The first phase of the portal, which cost $6,000 to launch and six months to coordinate, includes 13 data sets and 10 different apps for data analysis. Topics touch upon such areas as finance, crime, fire, recreation and traffic. Next phases include cultivating support from the local civic tech community to develop additional data-based applications, and more data sets are slated to be added in the coming months.