By WRAL Tech Wire

RALEIGH, N.C. – The Raleigh City Council voted to include funding in the upcoming proposed budget for a hosted open data catalogue, according to an announcement on Wednesday.

The vote on Tuesday was 6-2.

Raleigh City Manager J. Russell Allen will present a proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2012-13 at the council’s May 15 meeting.

The council has directed Allen to set aside $50,000 for the hosted open data catalogue in the budget proposal.

On Feb. 7, the city council unanimously approved a resolution stating its intent to foster “open” government by encouraging the use of open-source systems in ensuring open access to data.

City staff has developed steps that need to be implemented for Raleigh to become an open-source government. One of those steps is a hosted open data catalog solution, as described on the city’s website:

Open data is:
• Produced in the delivery of city services;
• Published in computer readable and standard formats;
• Timely and current;
• Accessible to everyone without needing city staff assistance; and,
• Free to use and reuse as users see fit.

Residents and other users would benefit from the hosted open data catalog by being able to view open data online, download data in various formats, and have data embedded in websites or smartphone applications.

Raleigh isn’t the first city to pass an open government policy. But, it may be the first to provide a blueprint that can help other cities pass their own open initiatives more quickly.

Councilor Bonner Gaylord, chair of the city’s Technology and Communications Committee, talked with Red Hat’s Jason Hibbets on opensource.com in February after the initial resolution passed. Gaylord then explained the process and why Raleigh pursued an open government policy.

“Raleigh is pursuing open source as an extension of the core ideal governmental structure of complete transparency and openness,” he explained in the Feb. 7 interview. “Democratic republics, at their best, have always had open source paradigms at the core of their design….”

The city council must adopt a budget no later than July 1.