Data drives policy — counties can use Maryland’s Free Open Data Portal and MD iMAP to inform decision making and educate public on important topics.
At the 2021 MACo Summer Conference session, “Connecting Your Community: Maryland’s Free Open Data Portal,” attendees were walked through the state’s public data resources, including those on COVID-19, and how they can best utilize them.
Attendees heard from Julia Fischer, Director, Data Services (BI/GIS), Department of Information Technology and Allison Cordell, Director, Governor’s Office of Performance Improvement, Department of Budget and Management.
Fischer and Cordell explained the range of free public data available via the portal, including opportunity zone data for business development, flood zoning information, public transportation data, and, of timely importance, emergency management data, like COVID-19 infection rates and vaccination data.
They also highlighted that all state-level data can be filtered at the county-level, making it easily accessible for counties. Fischer noted that the Open Data Portal and MD iMAP are particularly helpful to implement a “common voice within all levels of government,” which is important during times of emergency management, like the COVID-19 pandemic.
Connecting Your Community: Maryland’s Free Open Data Portal and MD iMAP, Maryland’s Mapping Portal, are centralized locations where Maryland agency data and local government data can be stored for free and made available to the public. Maryland Open Data Portal allows all levels of government and the public to have access to the most up-to-date information; reduces or eliminates overlapping data requests and redundant data maintenance; ensures metadata is consistently created; and ensures that data services can be displayed by the consumer with the output of its choice.
The session was held on August 18, 2021, at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, Maryland.