The Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center has been hosting data user group meetings since 2015, when we first brought together data users around environmental justice. Since then, we’ve learned a lot about how to make these meetings and followup activities effective, efficient, and fun.
We’re excited to share many of those lessons in a new guide for cities anywhere. TDE Playbook: Data User Groups, published by the Sunlight Foundation, outlines how city residents anywhere can come together, meet, share ideas, and collaborate on new projects related to open data. Sunlight staff came to Pittsburgh in March 2017 to join one of our data user groups, and we are proud to have worked with them to release this playbook.
“It takes creative collaboration for city data to have an impact,” said Stephen Larrick, Open Cities Director at Sunlight. “WPRDC has spearheaded a way to make that work in Pittsburgh, and we think it’s an approach cities everywhere can learn from.”
Data user groups give data providers (city agencies, for example) a chance to hear feedback from data users about how to make data more applicable and usable. They also give community members a chance to learn about data, express their information needs, and collaborate around local issues in a non-intimidating, community-oriented environment.
This playbook is the first in a series of resources expanding the ideas introduced in Sunlight’s A Guide to Tactical Data Engagement. As part of their work with What Works Cities, these in-depth resources will be designed to share ideas about creative, flexible, and low-cost ways to help cities use open data for social impact.
The full playbook is available on GitBooks, and the Sunlight team is open to your comments and feedback. Send ideas and suggestions for future playbooks to firstname.lastname@example.org. And be sure to sign up for their Open Cities mailing list to get a copy of playbooks to come.
We’ll also be holding our next set of Data User Group meetings early in 2018. Let us know if there are particular topics you’d like to cover. We’re already planning to revisit our property data work, and want to hear more about topics and subjects you’d like to cover.