Celebrating Open Data Day on 3/4

Black Lives Matter, Women’s March, Human Rights Campaign, Natural Defense Council… all advocacy groups with powerful messages and dedicated members. Advocacy groups, have the power to inspire citizens. In Charlotte, we’ve seen this first-hand and have watched new organizations grow into strong movements that command respect. Code for Charlotte’s question was… how do we help take an emotionally driven message and help enact long-lasting change? Data.

To go from an individual advocating with a Sharpie written sign into a movement, one has to use data to demonstrate potency of message and viability of solutions.. Furthermore, data keeps government accountable and holds those elected officials to campaign promises. Open data is essential for an active citizenry and transparent government.

What exactly is open data? It is generally defined as being technically and legally open. Meaning that data must be made available in a standard format that is easy to read and retrieve, while licensing it in a way that permits commercial and noncommercial use and reuse without restrictions.

Unfortunately, many advocacy and community-focused groups, including many in Charlotte, do not utilize existing open data. Code for Charlotte, along with the Code for America Brigades can change this narrative! We can partner with our community groups to help educate them about open data and how it can strengthen their advocacy messages.

While open data advocates still face many challenges. Code for Charlotte will continue to stand alongside our neighbors and contribute to that fight with our knowledge, skills, and commitment. We encourage all Code for America Brigades and community organizations to do the same.

Open Data Day is an annual celebration of open data all over the world. For the fifth time in history, groups from around the world will create local events on the day where they will use open data in their communities. It is an opportunity to show the benefits of open data and encourage the adoption of open data policies in government, business and civil society.

There are events planned all over the country to celebrate Open Data Day! Regardless of skill level or interests, there are opportunities for you to participate this Saturday! You can find more information about Open Data Day and where events are being hosted near you by visiting opendataday.org.