The competition is intended to encourage the creation of data tools or analyses of open data. Open datasets may be local, state, national, or international so long as they are publicly accessible. The data tool or analysis may include, but is not limited to: integration or combination of two or more disparate datasets, including integration with private datasets; data conversions into more accessible formats; visualization of data graphically, temporally, and/or spatially; data validations or verifications with other open data sources; platforms that help citizens access and/or manipulate data without coding experience; etc.
The Obama administration brought attention to Open Data in the United States by creating the Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government, which states, Information maintained by the Federal Government is a national asset. My Administration will take appropriate action, consistent with law and policy, to disclose information rapidly in forms that the public can readily find and use. The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act, signed in 2014, aims to increase access to information on federal expenditures and has led to the creation of nationwide open data platforms such as data.gov. While this is a major step forward, the law does not mandate such transparency at the state and local level. Since open data is vital in evaluating the effectiveness of public officials and holding them accountable, we wanted to analyze how “open” data at the local level is.