But experts agree there are steps cities can take to ensure they’re getting the service they want from the tools they invest in. One of the first steps is knowing the available choices.
Luke Fretwell, the CEO of Proud City, a digital-government platform provider, said there are a handful of options in the open data space that governments can turn to for building a platform. Socrata, Junar, OpenGov and OpenDataSoft all offer open data solutions. But there are also free, open source solutions: CKAN (Python based) and DKAN (Drupal based). Fretwell works with CivicActions, which helps maintain and implement DKAN.
Before a city decides which solution it is going to implement, though, it needs a plan in place, Fretwell said.
“The ideal process is you come up with a data policy,” he said. That policy should be informed by what the city wants to accomplish with its open data and outline how it plans to make that a reality.