As part of our continuing effort to make the state’s expenditure data as accessible and usable as possible, the Department of FISCal has opened a new avenue for the public to access our data. As of mid-September, in addition to making data available on our transparency portal Open FI$Cal, we have also created a copy of our data on the central California Open Data Portal. This gives the public more ways to find and use our data, and it should boost its use.
The statewide Open Data Portal is a centralized repository of many different types of data from various state departments, covering topics such as natural resources, water, health and human services, and transportation. It is the first place the public is likely to go when looking for California data, and adding FI$Cal’s expenditure data to the site will make it more likely to be found. If the public has questions about the data, multiple links on the portal lead back to the more detailed information contained in Open FI$Cal, including our extensive learning center.
The Open Data Portal also includes a key capability that should make it easier for more technical users to incorporate expenditure data into other projects. Specifically, the portal makes data available via an Application Programming Interface, which allows programmatic querying of the data, so that a website or app can connect directly to the live data on the site and request only the information it needs. Without this capability, incorporating the data into another product required downloading each month’s newly updated files, which total more than a gigabyte of data each month, and filtering down to the desired data. Now, if a user just wants information on, for example, the state’s real estate costs, they can set up a query to automatically incorporate the updated information on just that topic each month.
Expanding the availability of the state’s expenditure data advances FI$Cal’s strategic goal of accuracy, integrity, and transparency, as well as furthering our open data principles of proactive transparency and broad accessibility. FI$Cal will continue working to expand our transparency site to further our goals and better serve the public.