Last month, the City of Madison, Wisconsin, finalized plans to make all data owned by the City publicly available. In doing so, it became only the second city in the nation to have such a policy; the other being New York City. Driving these efforts is the thought that free and easy access to the City's data will encourage development of applications that promote a variety of benefits for the common good, and ultimately save money for Madison. A web site has recently been opened to support the effort. More below:
(The Badger Herald, January 22, 2013)
Comment: Wow! A quick review of the data on the website finds about 50% of the sets have already been mapped and big part of the remainder are begging for the same attention. Furthermore, many have real value to the Emergency Services Sector.
Beyond the realization that "everything is somewhere", Madison's efforts are a pardigm shift - City leaders are seeing the real monetary value of data as what comes from putting it to use in as many ways as possible, not from charging users to "recover costs". Huge kudos to Madison, New York City, and any other municipality that has grasped this concept and is doing something about it.