Open Data policies are coming to San Diego. What does that mean? Let’s make sure everyone knows what we’re talking about.
Open data describes not only the availability of some sets of information, but also the usefulness of that information. Let’s take a simple example.
Here’s San Diego’s city charter.
You’ll notice it is downloadable from the city’s website as a PDF document. While the charter is “open” in its public availability, the text itself has been placed inside a complicated format – in this case it’s Adobe’s PDF format. It’s difficult for some people to access PDF documents, and it’s difficult for anyone to build things that will do something useful with the data in PDF-formatted documents, because they aren’t designed for interaction and editing.