Open Data Policy


§ 9-1. Definitions.

(a) In general.

In this subtitle, the following terms have the meanings indicated.

(b) Agency.

“Agency” means:
(1) any department, authority, office, board, commission, council, committee, or other unit of the City government; and
(2) any individual not embraced in a unit of City Government who exercises authority comparable to that of the head of a unit of City government.

(c) City data; Data.

“City data” or “data” means statistical, factual, quantitative, or qualitative information that is regularly maintained or created by or on behalf of:
(1) a City agency; or
(2) a third-party contractor that creates or acquires information, records, or other data for and on behalf of a City agency.

(d) Open data.

“Open data” means data made available online:
(1) in open format; and
(2) with no legal encumbrances on use or reuse.

(e) Open Data Portal; Web Portal.

“Open Data Portal” means the “Open Baltimore” Web Portal as maintained under this subtitle.

(f) Open format.

“Open format” means any widely accepted, nonproprietary, platform-independent, machinereadable method for formatting data that:
(1) permits automated processing of that data; and
(2) facilitates search capabilities.

(g) Dataset.

“Dataset” means a named collection of related records that contains data organized or formatted in a specific or prescribed way, often in tabular form.

(h) Protected information.

“Protected information” means any dataset or part of a dataset to which an agency is required or authorized to deny access pursuant to the Maryland Public Information Act (Title 4 of the State Code General Provisions Article) or any other applicable law.

(i) Sensitive information.

“Sensitive information” means any data that, if published in open format, could raise privacy, confidentiality, or security concerns, or could have the potential to jeopardize public health, safety, or welfare, to an extent that is exceeds the potential public benefit of publishing that data.

(j) Publishable data.

“Publishable data” means data that is neither protected information nor sensitive information.
(Ord. 16-463.)

§ 9-2. Rules and regulations.

The City’s Chief Data Officer may adopt rules and regulations to carry out this subtitle.
(Ord. 16-463.)

§ 9-3. Short Title.

This subtitle may be cited as the “Baltimore City Open Data Program”.
(Ord. 16-463.)

§§ 9-4 to 9-5. {Reserved}

§ 9-6. Program initiative.

The Chief Data Officer shall oversee the development and adoption by the City of a program that allows the City to:

(1) proactively release all publishable data, making it freely available in open formats, with no restrictons on use or reuse, and fully accessible to the broadest range of users for varying purposes;
(2) publish high quality, updated data, with documentation and permanence to encourage maximal use;
(3) continue and maintain the “Open Baltimore” Web Portal as the central location for publishable open data;
(4) minimize limitations on the disclosure of public information, while appropriately safeguarding protected and sensitive information; and
(5) encourage innovative uses of the City's publishable data by agencies, the public, and other partners.
(Ord. 16-463.)

§ 9-7. Program implementation and governance.

(a) In general.

The Chief Data Officer shall work with the City's agencies and officials to:
(1) identify for each agency a lead open data coordinator who will be responsible for managing that agency's participation in the Open Data Program;
(2) establish a comprehensive inventory of datasets held by each agency and to be published on the Open Data Portal and regularly updated;
(3) develop and implement a process for determining the relative level of risk and public benefit associated with potentially sensitive, non-protected information, so as to make a determination about whether and how to publish that information;
(4) develop and implement a process for prioritizing the publication of datasets on the Open Data Portal, taking into account:
(i) new and existing signals of interest from the public (such as the frequency of Public Information Act requests);
(ii) the City's programmatic priorities;
(iii) existing opportunities for data use in the public interest; and
(iv) cost;
(5) establish processes for publishing datasets on the Open Data Portal, including processes for ensuring that datasets are reviewed for use-appropriate formats, quality, timeliness, and exclusion of protected and sensitive information;
(6) develop and routinely update a public timeline for new dataset publication; and
(7) ensure that published datasets are available for bulk download.

(b) Feedback and collaboration.

In order to increase and improve use of the City's open data, the Chief Data Officer shall actively encourage agency and public participation by providing regular opportunities for feedback and collaboration.
(Ord. 16-463.)

§ 9-8. Open Data Portal.

(a) City to maintain.

The City shall maintain the “Open Baltimore” Web Portal as the Open Data Portal where the City's publishable data will be publicly available.

(b) Dataset to be on open license.

Datasets published on the Open Data Portal shall be available to the public on an open license basis, with no restrictions on copying, publishing, further distributing, modifying, or using the data for any non-commercial or commercial purpose.
(Ord. 16-463.)

§ 9-9. Annual report.

(a) In general.

On or before June 30 of each year, the Chief Data Officer shall prepare and submit to the Mayor and the City Council an annual Open Data Report.

(b) Contents.

The report shall include:
(1) an assessment of progress towards achievement of the goals of the Open Data Program;
(2) an assessment of the current scope of agency compliance;
(3) a list of datasets currently available on the Open Data Portal; and
(4) a description of and publication timeline for datasets envisioned to be published on the Open Data Portal in the enduing year.
(Ord. 16-463.)

§§ 9-10 to 9-14. {Reserved}

§ 9-15. Program disclaimers.

(a) Data provided for informational purposes.

Data is made available on the Open Data Portal for informational purposes only.

(b) No warranties.

(1) The City makes no express or implied warranty as to the completeness, accuracy, content, merchantability, or fitness for any particular use or purpose of any dataset made available on the Open Data Portal
(2) The City is not liable for any deficiency in the completeness, accuracy, content, merchantability, or fitness for any particular use or purpose of any dataset or of any third-party application using a dataset.

(c) No private cause of action.

(1) Neither this subtitle nor any Open Data Program plan or practice create a private right of action to enforce their provisions.
(2) Failure to comply with this subtitle or any Open Data Program plan or practice does not result in any liability by the City.

(d) Display of disclaimers.

The City shall conspicuously publish on the Open Data Portal the disclaimers contained in subsections (a) through (c) of this section.
(Ord. 16-463.)