How GIS and Open Data Helps in Citizen Engagement

Applied Tech Review | Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Open data and GIS applications will help improve citizens' access to vital information to make informed decisions.

FREMONT, CA: Governments, civil society, and data specialists have formed a global set of rules on publishing data. One of these concepts is that data should be open to the public by default.

Currently, most government data is unavailable to the common citizen unless they make a request. To acquire access to government data, one might frequently have to jump through hoops.

There are valid reasons to restrict access to specific categories of data, such as security or data protection. But there is a rising global movement to make data accessible to the public to make better decisions and engage in civil discussion.

According to the Open Data Charter, the advantages of open data, which is widely available and utilized by society, include better government and citizen involvement. The charter says that open data will help foster innovation, which will help the economy grow.

Spatial Data Use

Spatial data is one of the most regularly downloaded types of data. All data pieces or parts that reside in geographical space are referred to as spatial data, also known as geospatial data.

Mapping is the primary application of spatial data. Geographic Information Systems, or GIS, are used to evaluate geospatial data. GIS software effectively compiles data and outputs it in a digital visual format for analysis and interpretation. 

Budget data, crime statistics, real estate data, education data, public transportation routes, and other types of geographical data can be made available to the public.

Integrating Open GIS Data

Citizens can use GIS Public View to identify landmarks and public institutions like schools, parks, and tennis courts. Bike routes, trash and street cleaning schedules, utility data, property statistics, and bus routes between specified landmarks are among the other Public View data that citizens can access.

Public View has been modified to offer public mapping of streetlights, daily weather forecasts, and Census tract data.

Utility companies use GIS open data to interact with residents about capital improvement projects and emergency service upgrades. They can also use GIS software to handle utility bills. Cities use GIS technology to notify people about news, events, and business resources.

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