The state of California has created a new Web site with links to a myriad of databases that include everything from health and employment data to transportation to lakeside marinas.
The data repository website will be paid for by using existing resources within the budget. “No staff has been added, and there is no additional cost,” said Bill Maile, communications director for the State Chief Information Officer.
State Chief Information Officer Terri Takai recently announced the creation of a new online data repository, available at http://www.ca.gov/data.html, which is promised to be a comprehensive center of information regarding California. The governor’s office hopes the comprehensive database will spur innovation and government transparency.
“Gov. Schwarzenegger has made open government and accountability a top priority,” said Teri Takai. “This new centralized data repository allows the public to find, use and repackage the volumes of data generated by the state, which were previously hard to find in various places throughout government. By publishing in different formats, we are empowering the public to use government data in creative ways to help improve our great state.”
The information includes sections on public health, the economy, transportation, education records and the environment, as well as census information, water data, geospatial data through Cal-Atlas. The information is available in CSV, XLS, KML, TXT and XML formats.
The new online data repository is a part of the launch of a new state web site last week, available at CA.gov. This new website includes features such as widgets, social networking and news and information from throughout state government.
The website appears to be part of a broader effort by Schwarzenegger to make more government information available online. The launching of the site comes just one month after the governor signed an executive order that will force the state to post all state contracts valued at $5,000 or more online. The following week, on June 10, the governor launched a new feature called “Waste Watchers” that will allow citizens, anonymously, or by name, to report any government waste they may know of.
The expanded access to information does not extend to the governor himself, however. For example, Schwarzenegger refuses to disclose where he is going when he leaves the state, and his staff does not make the governor’s daily meeting schedule available to reporters.
The purpose of the web site, Maile noted, is to increase government transparency, making state government data available to public citizens, businesses, the media as well as anyone else who wants to access such information.
So far, people seem to be taking notice. To date, the web site has had nearly 9,500 visitors. And according to Maile, the web site will “continue to add more data sources as they become available.”