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The open government movement is gaining critical momentum, and that shouldn’t be a surprise. Making the data the government collects publicly available has the power to transform everyday life by better informing our decisions, from what restaurant to eat at, to where to start your business, to what apartment to rent.

Just last week we had great presence at events from Sacramento to Berkeley. There was an exciting group of experts lined up to speak at California FWD’s open data event—including Kris Trujillo, the lead architect of Accela’s free open data portal, Kris talked about open data as the key to bridging the divide between government and citizens and the opportunity for developers and civic entrepreneurs to build businesses by creating useful apps for government.

Earlier in the day, Kris was a panelist on an open data webinar organized by the Center for Digital Government where he and representatives from Salt Lake City, Palo Alto and Buildingeye talked about the benefits of open data to agencies, developers and citizens as the ecosystem looks to build better, more engaged communities.

I stayed closer to home and attended UC Berkeley’s CITRIS (Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society) event. The CITRIS Data and Democracy Initiative was holding its one-year review of the California Report Card project—a joint project between California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom and UC Berkeley that allows Californians to grade the performance of their state government on their mobile devices.

One of the cool features of the California Report Card is that in addition to being asked to grade government performance on a set of issues, you can also make your own topic suggestions. I had submitted “open data” for discussion, and since it was such a popular topic I was invited to speak briefly to give my impressions of the California Report Card from the user perspective. I was honored to share the stage with Lt. Governor Newsom, who has been a long-time champion for open data, government technology and citizen engagement.

It’s inspiring to participate in the growing conversation surrounding open government, open data and citizen engagement—interrelated causes that Accela, as a company, strongly believes in. We’re looking forward to the innovation that this movement can spawn—the great apps that civic developers are already building from the datasets available on—and to delivering innovative technology solutions that will make the relationship between government and citizen seamless, and possibly even enjoyable.

Guest Blog from Appallicious’ Yo Yoshida: Open Gov on the Move in 2014
Open Data Is Here: How Will You Bring Your Agency’s Data to Life?
Democratize Your Data with
Looking Back at Accela Engage 2013: Civic Engagement Trends and the Value of Open Data


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