How Denton, TX Joined Worldwide “Open Data Day 2017”

On Saturday, March 4, hundreds of communities from across the globe participated in the seventh annual Open Data Day. Fueled by a mission of improving public access to information at the local level, community organizers and municipal officials from Malaysia to South Africa to San Francisco built unique events tailored to their populations’ needs and interests.

Ahead of events, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities initiative promoted achievable ways for American cities to engage in the day. Suggestions – still valuable for governments considering marking the day next year – included the following:

  • Organizing a meetup
  • Holding a town hall meeting
  • Releasing a new data set
  • Issuing a proclamation
  • Hosting a #datachat on Twitter or FaceBook Live
  • Writing an op-ed
  • Hosting a local hackathon


Denton Does Open Data Day

Denton, Texas, a What Works City and member of the OpenGov network, is actively leveraging its own open data portal. The city joined the Open Data Day celebration with the goal of enhancing community collaboration and empowering its citizens through its “day of discovery and civic hacking.”



A team collaborates on open data projects at the March 4, 2017 event.

Organizations Open Denton, TechMill, and Serve Denton worked with Denton’s city staff and the University of North Texas (UNT) Library and Information Science Department to bring together residents with knowledge of data, coding, visualization, and tech writing. The hands-on structure enabled residents and other stakeholders to collaborate and develop new tools for accessibility, economic development, and sustainability.

Organized by area of expertise, teams worked on data mining, real-time survey data entry, and data visualization projects. They also explored best practices for successfully implementing new technology and open data solutions.

Among the many accomplishments of the day, groups built an API server to host more than 100 datasets and created a mobile data app to show downtown parking availability. Technical writers created two videos on how to use the city’s data portal, and participants continued using technology to strengthen ties between the city and its nonprofits.

According to event organizer Abdulrahman Habib of UNT, “The most important outcome is building a community of local, engaged volunteers who can work on these projects, share codes, and continue the work in the future to improve our city and make it a better place.”



Appropriate attire on an Open Day Day attendee in Denton, TX.

“It’s amazing to see what appears to be a group of mostly strangers, self-organizing into teams and working on different open data initiatives toward a collective goal…it really was incredible,” said Kyle Taylor, TechMill’s leader and one of the Denton Open Data Day event organizers.


Government Performance Pillars of Open Data

The pillars of open data – promoting transparency, accountability, and value add by making government data available to the public – are actionable and forward-looking, by nature. In many ways, they drive technology to offer increasingly innovative, flexible, and customizable ways for stakeholders to access and analyze data. They enable informed decision-making and new opportunities for data-powered technology solutions.

OpenGov is proud to partner with cities like Denton that continue to foster engagement and deploy impactful government performance solutions. Visit Denton’s open data portal powered by OpenGov to see the city’s innovation in action.


Category: Customer Story

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