If youâ€™re a government agency evaluating ways to get started with your Gov 2.0 / Open Gov / Open Data initiatives, keep in mind these 3 simple strategies for a quick win:
2. Publish the original files
Another quick win is publishing the â€śrawâ€ť structured file that were originally used to create the public information on your agencyâ€™s site. More often than not, the print-ready documents in formats like PDF originate from machine-readable, structured documents or spreadsheets. While some argue that PDF does a good job of â€śpreserving document integrityâ€ť, it often handicaps efforts to automatically extract the data.
If your web pages or PDF downloads originate from a spreadsheet, document, or any other type of a structured file format (including geospatial formats) — offering up the raw files saves developers the headache of reverse-engineering the documents you can just as easily publish online, along with the PDFs if you so choose.
3. Make open whatâ€™s already public
The last tactic is identifying the â€ślow hanging fruitâ€ť for open data — typically information thatâ€™s already public. My favorite are various geospatial datasets that you may already be sharing today via maps, guides, etc. If your agency is using GIS (Geographic Information System) software, you can simply export the data that was originally used to create those nice citizen-friendly guides & community maps into a popular format like KML. Think maps of your agencyâ€™s facilities, points of interest, parks, city and ward boundaries, etc. This GIS data can then augment the static maps and power some very useful citizen-ready Gov 2.0 applications.
These are some simple but effective strategies to get the ball rolling with your Gov 2.0 initiatives.