Asheville earns Municipal Innovator award for Open Data portal

The City of Asheville was named Municipal Innovator during this month’s North Carolina Digital Government Summit in Raleigh. The award recognizes the City’s updated open-data portal,

The N.C. League of Municipalities nomination reads:

“It (open-data portal) provides the public an array of useful, downloadable information, from crime locations to flood maps to demographics to a list of all properties on the National Register of Historic Places. Myriad. It’s dense, but easy to sort through. Individual datasets are downloadable in miscellaneous formats. It also offers a portal where anyone can nominate new topics to include.”

“Making such data so easily available pays off,” the nomination adds. “Developers, for instance, will have an easier time finding the information they need. Same goes for demographers and marketplace people.”

Unveiled earlier this year, the City’s open-data portal is updated nightly. Anyone interested in big data, from a developer to a citizen, can go to the City Government tab to find information on business licenses and permits for example. They can also find entry points to City invoices and purchase orders.

Ultimately, the City’s open-data portal “gives a great nod to the public’s desire for transparency in government,” the nomination reads.

“The City of Asheville is a great example of local government using technology for the public good.”

The City’s open-data portal initiative follows related efforts, like the nationally recognized SimpliCity search engine, which helps citizens track crime and development near their home, and get answers to simple questions like “when is my recycling day?”