ODTV Video of the Week: Improving Relationships Through Open Data

In Montgomery County, Maryland, the benefits of open data stretch beyond transparency. In this week’s featured ODTV video, Dan Hoffman, the Chief Innovation Officer for Montgomery County, identifies some of the advantages of sharing data, from economic development to increased efficiency.

Each of the many departments within the county, from a correctional facility to the health and human services group, has data available, whether or not it’s shared. For those departments, making data available carries clear benefits. “Creating open data opportunities, both externally and internally, allow those departments to operate more efficiency,” comments Hoffman.

Since data is opened up to the public, as well as internally, thoughtful decisions are required as to which datasets are shared: once released, it’s difficult to un-release datasets, or to stop updating the dataset. “It’s not without effort that we open data,” comments Hoffman, pointing to the need to “…make sure that we’re opening the right data. Not all data is created equal, and we want to make sure we’re prepping and cleaning and maintaining data that people are actually going to be using.”

Hoffman predicts that the future of open data goes far beyond liberating data from PDFs. He anticipates that “In the next five to ten years, you’re going to start seeing a lot more very fluid machine-to-machine government open data, where we’re pulling off of sensors, where we’re pulling off of meters, where we’re pulling off of many sources in near-to-real-time and actually using it for service delivery…”

Watch the full video for Hoffman’s perspective on the advantages open data provides Montgomery County, as well as his take on what the future holds.

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