San Mateo County Opens Access to Key Data

South San Francisco, CA August 10, 2013

San Mateo County Opens Access to Key Data

How well do San Mateo County third-graders score on reading assessments? What is the assessed value of real estate in Brisbane? How long does it take to travel across San Mateo County in a car? In a bus? On the train?

San Mateo County is throwing open the doors to a treasure trove of public information with the launch of the San Mateo County Open Data Portal, accessible at HERE.

Residents wishing to review data collected by any of San Mateo County’s departments will be able to search and review the information online, 24/7, without having to file a request or stand in line.

San Mateo County is committed to transparency and open government, and the new Open Data Portal will allow the public to review the same data, studies and information that the government uses to design academic programs, development guidelines and transportation solutions.

“Every single County department, from criminal justice to social services to parks and road construction, is going to begin posting its data on the Portal,” said San Mateo County Supervisor Warren Slocum.

“This will allow citizens to review, compare and analyze fundamental community data for themselves,” he continued. “We believe that lowering the barriers to access this data will start a series of community conversations, as well as opening a trove of information for aspiring technology entrepreneurs.”

“Our constituents are technologically savvy and want to access government information as easily as they do when looking for a restaurant recommendation on Yelp or directions on Google Maps,” added Supervisor Dave Pine.  “This initiative is a big step in that direction.”

County departments have committed to adding data sets to the site as they are completed, and hope to add dozens of new data sets per year.

“This resource will grow deeper and richer as we add to it over time,” said Jon Walton, San Mateo County’s Chief Information Officer. “With this launch the County of San Mateo is taking an important step towards open government with citizen access to data that will result in better government transparency and accountability.”

The range of data now available includes such diverse areas as travel time on Highway 101 from the San Francisco to the Santa Clara county borders (29 minutes on average in the morning commute in 2011), number of annual visitors to the San Mateo County Library per year (2.2 million) and population and race in the county by 2010 Census tract. The list will grow over time.

San Mateo County launched its Open Data Portal in partnership with Socrata Inc., a Seattle-based cloud software company dedicated to democratizing access to government data. Socrata has launched similar services in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Oregon and Maryland, as well as for organizations including the World Bank and Medicare.

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