Raleigh Wants Input for Accessing Public Records

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The City of Raleigh is looking for public input about what information its denizens want available on a new website that would make such data easily accessible and downloadable.

Today, if a resident wants access to public records, that person has to make a formal request to the city. When the city provides that information on the new website, residents can access it without putting in formal requests and waiting for a response.

The site is part of a resolution to make Raleigh more transparent, which was approved by the city council in February. Last month, the city council approved $50,000 be allocated in next year’s budget to fund the new website.

The project is spearheaded by Councilor Bonner Gaylord, who chairs the Technology and Communications Committee. He said opening up the city’s data will provide opportunities for software developers to create applications for computers and smart phones and could lead to other business projects.

He said in Boston, developers were able to access the locations of all of the fire hydrants in the city, which lead to an adopt-a-hydrant program. Gaylord added that many Raleigh bicyclists have said they would like more access to bike rack locations or information about bike-friendly streets.

See an example of how the Raleigh Public Record uses public records.

“We need to figure out what data people what first,” he said. “The long-term goal is to open up everything that is possible to open up.”

Provide your feedback on what information should be posted.

The resolution and subsequent program came from discussions that took place at last year’s CityCamp Raleigh, an “unconference“ for people who are interested in opening up the city’s government through open-source technology.

Gaylord said this year’s CityCamp Raleigh will look into furthering the efforts of TrangleWiki but otherwise, specific ideas and goals will be created at the meeting.

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