Today, Code for America brigades around the nation are observing International Open Data Day. Traditionally Open Charlotte Brigade uses this day for a big event focused on educating residents about open data and how it can be used to solve challenges in their community. While that may not be the case this year, open data remains at the core of what we do.
We believe public resources including data should be open, accessible, and friendly to all residents. That means not only should residents have access to public records, but those records should also be available in a way that’s easy to request, receive, read, and utilize. Instead of inviting community members to be hyper-focused on this concept for a single event, we’ve created a new monthly “Community Night” series to further our mission by maintaining the momentum year-round.
Open data can empower any resident, whether it be informing them of upcoming changes to their neighborhood through a tool such as CityGram, or empowering community organizations by providing them with information vital to their research or presentations. Open Charlotte Brigade has even used map-based datasets published by the city to help CMPD automatically generate packing slips and delivery information for their annual holiday toy drive, in part cutting their costs and work hours significantly. Community nights spread the use and awareness of open data through growing our ambassadorship program which focuses on helping neighborhoods and other non-profits see how they can leverage data and technology for social good. First-timers are welcomed with an orientation session where our leadership team holds a deep-dive into what we do at Open Charlotte and what resources are available from us, the city, and other organizations. From there all of our attendees get together to identify focus areas and new groups we can partner with to help create a more connected, informed, and engaged Charlotte.
If you feel passionate about solving real problems in your community or learning more about open data we would love to see you at our next community night March 13th. You can also feel free to contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org), learn more about our different events here, or visit this site to learn more about the Code for America Brigade Program.