A vote for open data in San Francisco

Last week’s election brought a new party to power in our nation’s capitol and shook up the political landscape in San Francisco. With Mayor Gavin Newsom’s ascension to Lt. Governor of California there is a job opening in City Hall. His election has officially kicked off a process to name an interim mayor and who it’s going to be has been the buzz of the City for well over a year.

Kundra, SF officials promote Open311 API

Here’s video from yesterday’s Open311 press conference in San Francisco, including Vivek Kundra, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, SF CIO Chris Vein and O’Reilly Media’s Tim O’Reilly.

Gov 2.0 guide to San Francisco

San Francisco is one of a few major U.S. cities leading the way in the open government, Gov 2.0 movement. SF has opened up data, issued an agency-wide open government directive and continues to pursue innovative opportunities around this effort. (See all SF news at sf.govfresh.com)

Here’s an overview.

San Francisco’s DataSF launch

Here’s video from the August 2009 news conference announcing the launch of DataSF.org, San Francisco’s open data site, which provides “structured, raw and machine-readable government data to the public in an easily downloadable format.”

The press conference is attended by SF officials and technology entrepreneurs, including SF Mayor Gavin Newsom, SF CIO Chris Vein, SF Dept of Public Works head Ed Riskin, SF Director of Innovation Jay Nath, Tim O’Reilly and WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg. There’s a general Q&A that includes examples of how citizens and entrepreneurs are leveraging the newly-opened data.

What’s Gov 2.0’s return on investment?

I work in online marketing and social media for my “day job,” and we are endlessly consumed with how to measure returns on investment (ROI) in the Web 2.0 space.

There are similar issues with measuring Gov 2.0 ROI. You can involve yourself in all sorts of efforts — publicizing data, engaging in social media, utilizing email campaigns, encouraging questions, fostering transparancy. And all these things are great, but (just like with our marketing clients) someone’s got to answer for the bottom line. With governments tightening their belts and funding being cut, showing that investment in government transparency pays off is crucial.