Using open data for regional collaboration

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Organizations coming together like a puzzle

I have a regional, collaborative philosophy of open data initiatives and municipalities. In North Carolina, the cities of Cary, Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill all share the economic engine that is the Research Triangle Park. They also share the innovation engine of five, top universities.

The Triangle just got its next open data participant: the Town of Cary.

I lived in Cary, North Carolina for over a decade and now live next door in the town of Morrisville. I work for the City of Raleigh on their open data initiative.

Will Cary seek to be an interoperable player in a federated regional model? How can the region work together to break down political boundaries for a better economy and improved civic engagement?

At this time, it is hard to tell. The local Code for America brigade in Cary sees local transparency as the primary goal of the Cary open data initiative. The Town of Cary has been quiet in discussing any long range strategy or vision for open data from a government perspective.

Here is the resolution as passed:


ON FEBRUARY 23, 2013

WHEREAS, the Town of Cary is committed to open government and using technology to foster open, transparent and accessible government by making public data accessible and fostering and encouraging civic engagement.

WHEREAS, "Open Data" refers to data generated by public sector entities that is legally accessible and available electronically to the public for their use.

WHEREAS, the Technology Task Force, a group of nine citizen thought leaders in the technology area, recommended the adoption of an Open Data and Public API policy as critical to support the Cary community as a Technology Hub.

WHEREAS, municipalities across the United States have an opportunity to dramatically lower their costs by collectively sharing and supporting software they use and create.

WHEREAS, by sharing Open Data, the Town of Cary seeks to develop opportunities for economic development, commerce, increased investment and civic engagement.

WHEREAS, the adoption of open source standards, which provides an interface between the data and the user, improves transparency, access to public information, and coordination and efficiencies among organizations across the public, non-profit and private sectors. Additionally, open source standards harness the power of distributed peer review and transparency to create high quality, secure and easily integrated software at an accelerated pace and a lower cost.

WHEREAS, the Town of Cary encourages the local software community to develop software applications and tools to collect, organize and share public data in new and innovative ways that benefit citizens and government.


The Town of Cary joins other communities throughout the United States and declares Saturday, February 23rd, 2013, as Open Data Day. At this event, the Town proudly supports a community Hackathon by providing an open data website through a single web portal at, which will be available prior to Cary’s Open Data Day Hackathon. This web portal will serve as an open data catalog for the Town’s available data sets.

RESOLVED this 13th day of February, 2013.

Note: Code Across America is multi-day event happening alongside Open Data Day; any municipality or community can join.

Republished from, Open Data as a Regional Collaboration, (c) 2013 Jason M Hare. Now published under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0. Unported license with author permission.

Jason Hare
Two decades experience analyzing user behavior interacting with web applications. Experience includes developing user interfaces using rapid prototyping and an iterative project management style to create award winning, user-centered information portals. Primary interests include Big Data and Open Data applications and community engagement in a public sector environment.


Great post, thank you for sharing. I'm a civil servant myself at a local government. Your post triggered me to check the site at Very impressive to see what is happening in terms of open data and open government there. I keep learning from these posts.

The municipality I work at (Netherlands, Europe) has committed itself to what I think resembles what Raleigh is doing; citizen participation. Raleigh though, is doing this along with open data and a strategy matching open source. Interesting to see how this is combined. Food for thought to say the least.

Hi Robin. I appreciate the comments. Perhaps our intiatives resemble each other because Raleigh is using the OKFN Open Data Handbook as our guidline as well as the Open Government Data Definition. We are working to develop policies and an infrastructure that will be sustainable.

Data usability is also something that is very important to our initiative. While we will provide machine readable data sets and APIs, we also want to provide citizens a visually rich and interactive experience. Perhaps we can discuss our strategies some time?

In preparation for their <a href="">open data day</a>, the Town of Cary is publishing 6 data sets:
<li>Town of Cary Crime - List of all crime incidents reported in the Town of Cary since 2001. (CRIME_ALL.csv)</li>
<li>Single Family Residential Building Permits - List of all single family residential building permits issued by the Town of Cary Since 2001. (RES_BLDG_PERMITS_EXPORT.csv)</li>
<li>Residential Certificates of Occupancy - List of all Certificates of Occupancy issued by the Town of Cary since 2000. (RES_CERT_OF_OCCUPANCIES.csv)</li>
<li>Town of Cary Park Information - A list of Town of Cary parks and features. (PARK_INFO.csv)</li>
<li>Town of Cary PRCR Facility Information - Information about Town of Cary Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources facilities. (PRCR_FACILITY_INFO.csv)</li>
<li>Town of Cary Greenways - Information about Town of Cary Greenways. This file is organized by greenway segments. A greenway may consist of several segments that connect various features, such as roads, trailheads, etc. (GREENWAYTRAILS.csv)</li>

Just begining to learn R along with a Data Analysis course on Coursera.

The datasets from this project will be very useful from an exploratory perspective. The use of the .kml file as a data source up opened new world to me.

Open education is amazing

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