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This is an historic day for the open government movement and makes me proud to live in San Francisco! Yesterday, EB Boyd reported that the San Francisco Board of Overseers voted unanimously to approve the first municipal open data law in the United States*. This turns the executive order that San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom issued last year directing the city’s departments to make their data public into law.
**Commenter Phillip Ashlock corrected the reporting by noting that “Portland passed the first open data law in the U.S. about a year ago and their law was largely influenced by the legislation passed in Vancouver about six months before that. The major difference (and a very important one) with San Francisco’s new legislation is that it is more explicit about using open licenses with the open data.”
In the year since Newsom opened the data treasure troves, 200 sets of data have been released, and at least 50 apps have been built using them. Among the apps: EcoFinder, which helps people find recycling locations for all sorts of odds and ends; SpotCrime, which plots crime incidents and sends alerts to residents; and, possibly the favorite of the city’s transportation-beleaguered residents, Routesy, which lets people plan tips on public transportation and provides real-time information about when the next bus or train is coming.