Politics & Government

New website gives access to government data

The city of Tacoma debuted a website Tuesday that provides easier access to government data.

The pilot project has enlisted 11 departments to provide several basic data sets, including general fund expenditures, maps of public art, fire department responses, crime, and repaired potholes. The information is available at data.cityoftacoma.org.

City staffers cited President Barack Obama’s administration and its data.gov website as a leader in the open data movement.

“In the long run, we too would like to set the default to open,” said city Information Technology Director Jack Kelanic.

Eventually the city hopes to make even more data public, he said during a Tuesday meeting with the City Council. Data will be updated each quarter, Kelanic said, and users will be able to provide feedback about the website.

Other governments in Washington state also have open data portals, including Seattle, King County and Spokane.

Data on the Tacoma portal is free, Kelanic said. Website and app developers can use the information for commercial endeavors.

Also Tuesday, the city announced the launch of a mobile app that allows citizens to report potholes, graffiti, abandoned cars, barking dogs or other complaints. For more information, go to www.cityoftacoma.org/tacomafirst311 or search your phone’s app store for “Tacoma First.”