Open Data  Open Data Portal

1. Purpose

The Municipality of Anchorage (MOA) recognizes that citizens’ access to their local government’s information is fundamental to transparency and accountability.  Therefore, the Municipality of Anchorage will make publicly available for review, interpretation, analysis, and research.  The intent of this policy is to provide greater government transparency, honesty, accountability, efficiency and enable civic engagement and economic growth.

2. Policy

The Municipality of Anchorage is “Open By Default.”  All public datasets are considered open unless they contain information that is sensitive, protected, or confidential as defined by MOA policy, regulation, and state, federal or local law.

Municipality of Anchorage Departments will work cooperatively with the Information Technology Department (ITD) to make their respective datasets publicly available via the Open Data Portal.  The Open Data Portal infrastructure shall be installed, operated and maintained by the Information Technology Department.

Publishing Entities and the ITD shall ensure that Publishable Data is made available and that published data sets adhere to the following principles:

  1. Complete:  All facets of the data shall be available unless subject to privacy, security or privilege limitations.  Data Sets shall be accompanied by metadata and documentation of data creation processes, to reasonably describe the data and make it as meaningful as possible.
  2. Accessible:  Data shall be persistent, easily and freely accessed via a central web portal without registration requirement, and should be available for download in bulk and in a format that permits processing of data.  Download shall be available via manual user interface and through an application programming interface (API).
  3. Timely:  Data shall be available to the public in a timely manner, as close as reasonably possible to the time the data was collected.
  4. Machine-Readable:  Data shall be reasonably structured, based on industry data standards, to allow for automated processing.
  5. License-Free:  Public data generated and published by the Municipality of Anchorage shall not be subject to copyright, patent, trademark or trade secret restrictions.
  6. Non-Proprietary:  Data shall be available in a format over which no entity has exclusive control.

3. Policy Scope

This policy is applicable to all MOA departments, divisions, corporations, commissions, business units, utilities or other related entities which will be referred to as Department(s). This policy shall apply to MOA records including third party agency contractors that create or acquire information, records, or data on behalf of a City department.

4. Governance

Implementation of the Open Data Initiative will be overseen by ITD who will work with the Municipality’s departments to:

  1. Identify an appropriate lead Open Data Coordinator who will be responsible for managing that department’s participation in the Open Data Program;
  2. Develop and implement a process for determining the relative level of risk and public benefit associated with potentially sensitive, non-protected information;
  3. Develop and implement a process for prioritizing the release of datasets which takes into account new and existing signals of interest from the public, including records requests, Mayoral and programmatic priorities, the Municipality’s strategic goals, and data already published in non-machine-readable formats;
  4. Proactively consult with members of the public, departmental staff, journalists, researchers, the business community and other stakeholders to identify new datasets and to improve, and increase the use of existing datasets for the greatest benefit of all.

5. Report and Review

Within one year of the effective date of this policy, and annually thereafter, the ITD, in partnership with departments and Open Data Governance body shall publicly report to the Mayor or his or her designee on the progress toward achieving the goals of the City’s Open Data Program. This report shall include a list of datasets currently available on the Open Data Portal and a description and publication timeline for datasets envisioned to be published on the portal the following year. The report shall contain suggestions for improving the City’s Open Data management process, including a recommendation for adequate funding, in order to ensure that the City continues to move toward the achievement of the program’s goals. The report shall be available online through the City’s website and Open Data Portal, and shall include a mechanism for public comment and feedback.

6. Definitions

Protected Information – dataset or portion thereof to which a department may deny access pursuant to Municipal policy, State law, privacy laws, copyright, patent, trademark, or any other law, rule or regulation.

Sensitive Information – dataset or portion thereof which, if published, could raise privacy, confidentiality, or security concerns or have the potential to jeopardize public health, safety or welfare.

Open Data –data which is made open and freely available to everyone to be republished or used as they wish.

Data – final versions of statistical or factual information that (i) are in alphanumeric form reflected in a list table graph chart or other non-narrative form that can be digitally transmitted or processed; and (ii) are regularly created or maintained by or on behalf of a City department and are controlled by such City department; and (iii) record a measurement transaction or determination related to the mission of a department. The term “data” shall not include information provided to a department by other governmental entities.  Data shall not include information that is available exclusively in paper format.

Publishing Entity – departments, divisions, corporations, commissions, business units, utilities, or other related interested parties who create, publish and update data.

Dataset – a collection of electronically stored information represented by tables, records, and fields.

Open Data Portal – the internet site established and maintained by or on behalf of the City, located at or its successor website.

Publishable Data - data that is collected by a covered MOA entity where the entity is permitted, required, or able to make the data available to the public consistent with any and all applicable laws, rules, regulations, ordinances, resolutions, policies or other restrictions, requirements, or rights associated with the City data including but not limited to contractual or other legal orders restrictions or requirements. Data shall not be Publishable Data if making such data available on the Open Data Portal would violate statute or regulation (e.g. disclosure that would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy), endanger the public health safety or welfare, hinder the operation of government including criminal and civil investigations or impose an undue financial operational or administrative burden on the City;

Metadata – data that accurately describes the dataset including, but not limited to; data source, record descriptions, field descriptions, update frequency, owner, last update, etc.