Dozens of requests for data come through the City of Asheville every month – private businesses, media outlets and other members of our community all benefit from the availability of public records. So how do government organizations make those records easier to access and how can technology help? That’s the point behind Open Data Day, a conference designed to bring community visionaries and technology experts together in the same room to discuss the opportunities, challenges and implications of using technology to make government information easier to get your hands on.
“In response to feedback from last year’s Cloud Day, we reached out to the community to see what kind of interest there was in an open data day this year,” says Jonathan Feldman, the City of Asheville’s Information Technology Services Director. “It turned out that there was a great deal, from the entrepreneurship community to the technology community, and of course, from government and academia.”
In response to that demand, the City of Asheville is participating with ERC Broadband, BuildFax, VentureAsheville, Epsilon Technology Solutions, Meet The Geeks, and a growing list of partners to hold Open Data Day in Asheville.
Open Data Day will feature national keynote speakers from Code for America and Open Data Philly as well as break out workshops and cross-discipline collaboration to examine the opportunities technology and real-time data access provide.
Technology like email has already proven itself an asset to the convenience of conveying government information. Speeding up access to data has the potential to benefit news organizations requesting information, government staff who spend time retrieving it and entrepreneurs who could tap into a wealth of data they can use to build value in their community. Open Data Day aims to approach the possibilities from every angle available.
“When there is a problem that affects multiple groups of folks, getting together to plan and act is always a good idea,” Feldman says. “When you do, generally, people start to have good ideas and create relationships that they need to execute on those ideas. That’s where Open Data Day comes in. Civic engagement is especially high in Asheville, so we think this is a perfect venue for the discussion.”
Open Data Day coordinators are still looking for workshop proposals, panels or even “hackathons,” where multiple programmers combine their efforts to code new examples of useful applications onsite. Anyone interested in pitching an idea can sign up here.
Open Data Day will be held October 16, 2012 in the U.S. Cellular Center, Asheville, NC. For information about attending, click here. Tickets will be available through Oct. 12. Early bird tickets available Sept. 30.
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For more information about Open Data Day, contact Jonathan Feldman at firstname.lastname@example.org