Help GovEx Gather #WhatWorks on Open Data Day 2016

Open Data Day 2016 is just around the corner on March 5th. GovEx is getting into the international hack day spirit by offering a few challenges of our own. This Open Data Day, GovEx is calling on YOU to help determine #WhatWorks throughout the international open data community. You don’t need to be a coder to get involved and impact how cities deliver and use open data.

Challenge 1: Hack on Our Open Data Guides

Many high-level open data guides have paved the way for open data programs, explaining what open data is and what it is good for. GovEx is going deeper, creating practical guides that provide step-by-step implementation guidance. We are always looking for ways to improve the variety of resources and training materials we’ve developed to help any city build a sustainable open data program. We’d love your input and suggestions on our introductory Open Data Guides:


  1. Open Data – Getting Started Guide (Edit on GitHub, Submit an Issue) – This is our 101 guide for cities just getting introduced to open data initiatives. It describes the nuts and bolts of effective open data initiatives we’ve seen to date, namely the 3 P’s: People, Policy, and Portal.
  2. Open Data – Metadata Guide (Edit on GitHub, Submit an Issue) – Metadata is key to data management and discoverability. This guide covers the basics including: categories, dataset metadata, column metadata, and example schemas.  
  3. Dataset Inventory Guidelines (Edit on GitHub, Submit an Issue) – Creating a dataset inventory is fundamental to enterprise data management and foundational to prioritized open data release. This guide covers inventory basics, prioritization schemes, and example datasets to cross-check your inventory against.
  4. Open Data Portal Requirements (Edit on GitHub, Submit an Issue) – Centralized open data repositories, no matter the shape or size, all have core operating functions. This guide introduces the three main roles open data portals are designed to serve.

Most of GovEx’s Guides are created with GitBooks. So if you’re an open source aficionado, it should be easy for you to directly suggest changes to the text using GitHub. Many of our resources also support commenting. Or if you feel more comfortable contributing feedback via email ( or Twitter (@Gov_Ex), we’ll be listening there as well.

Challenge 2: Tell Us #WhatWorks in Your City

All of our guidance comes from real life examples and GovEx is continually researching best practices in open data implementation. We’d love to hear #WhatWorks in your experience in the following categories:

Tweet examples of the above with the #WhatWorks and #OpenDataDay hashtags, or feel free to contribute examples or suggestions directly via GitHub or by email (

Challenge 3: Show up for Open Data Day in What Works Cities

Open Data Day was initiated 6 years ago with 40 city participants, and has become a tradition that has grown to include events like Code for America’s CodeAcross, Open Knowledge’s Mini Grants Program, and hundreds of participating cities around the world. Many of our participating What Works Cities have something special planned around Open Data Day 2016. Highlights include:

  • Denton, TX is partnering with University of North Texas for a hackathon focused on topics that are priorities for Denton, including housing, food, and transportation.
  • Jackson, MS is launching their open data portal on Open Data Day 2016 Eve also known as March 4th.
  • Raleigh, NC is participating in their 4th regional Triangle Open Data Day featuring keynotes, lightning talks, student presentations, and training.

You should attend an Open Data Day event near where you live. If there isn’t one, you can organize it yourself. (First, check out this handy blog post on how to get a community involved in a hackathon.)

If you can’t make it to an Open Data Day event, all of our What Works Cites have open data to hack on, even from the comfort of your own home!  

Challenge 4:  Become a What Works City


If you live in or work for a mid-sized American city, tell your mayor or city manager about the What Works Cities initiative. 100 American cities will receive technical assistance to enhance their use of data and evidence to build community, make government more effective, and improve residents’ lives. Your city executive can apply at any time and another round of selections will take place later this year.