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Technology and Politics Fri May 27 2011
The Emanuel administration is still settling in, but some changes are already showing up online. The City's data portal now offers an RSS feed of newly created and updated data sets, and the portal is moving beyond FOIA requests to include other data sets, such as the 20 most popular fiction books checked out of the Chicago Public Library and a huge cache of TIF-related documents.
Chief Technology Officer John Tolva said by instant message, "We're only dribbling now. Expect a steady stream." Starting today with the release of building permits data, Tolva said his department plans to being "what we believe will be every-other-day releases of nightly updated sets."
In addition, Tolva and Chief Data Officer Brett Goldstein now have Twitter accounts. Goldstein recently tweeted a link to the City's Open Data API console, where, if you're technically inclined, you may query the database directly.
"We're releasing all this for many reasons, transparency/trust, accountability/efficiency, but also -- and this is important to Brett and I -- to engage makers in building things and helping the city -- providing the public resource for a new kind of civic engagement," Tolva said.
As more substantial data is released, we can expect developers and urban technologists to create tools for exploring and working with the information, much like we saw once the CTA allowed developers access to their bus tracker API.