Cape Town’s new open data portal aims to enhance transparency and accountability, as well as improve the competitiveness of the broader economy of Cape Town, Mayor Patricia de Lille said at the launch in the city on Tuesday.
The Open Data Portal, which makes public sector data available to the public at no charge and in usable formats, is “another bold stride that we are taking to create an enabling environment which will attract investment that generates economic growth and creates jobs”, De Lille said.
“This is a historic day as we join cities such as New York, London and Helsinki that have forged the way for cities to make their data sets available to the public,” De Lille said. “In today’s knowledge economy, access to data is instrumental in becoming competitive.”
The portal, which was approved by council at the end of September 2014, will “enable innovation, as entrepreneurs are empowered to use the data to create new applications”, the mayor said. “As a City that believes in transparency, making this data available will empower residents to hold us accountable.”
The public can access the portal via a variety of devices, including mobile phones with internet connectivity.
So far, 25 data sets have been uploaded. These include the City’s budget data; the location of all district parks, community parks, cemeteries; information on MyCiTi bus stations and routes; and details about tenders that have been awarded.
A steering committee made up of representatives from various City directorates would approve data sets for the portal. “We envision that hundreds of data sets will be available over time,” she said.
The public are invited to request data they would like to see on the portal, as well as to share their “thoughts and experiences” of the portal.
De Lille said the portal should be seen as a legacy product of the World Design Capital 2014: “During our tenure as the World Design Capital, we wanted to find a way to use design to make government more transparent. As such, our Open Data Portal is the City’s contribution to the World Design Capital 2014 legacy.”