The public will get a firsthand look at how the county uses data — not to mention the opportunity to see if they are among the recipients of $1.8 million in unclaimed checks — at San Mateo County’s first Data Innovation Day.
The event Thursday at the county government center in Redwood City will include available computers and tech-savvy employees helping navigate data, including the aforementioned unclaimed checks. The open data provided by the county can be used by entrepreneurs or individuals building businesses or watching to see how tax dollars are spent.
“Local government collects vast amounts of data on everything from building permits to crime data,” Dave Pine, president of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, said in a prepared statement. “We want to put the power of information into the hands of the public to hold their governments accountable, provide feedback and help local government respond to emerging needs and dynamics.”
The event is the latest effort by San Mateo County to help the public better understand government and track its spending and performance. Last year, the county launched the open data portal, a database of publicly available information, and Controller Bob Adler created Open Checkbook which lets the public track any payment of $5,000 or greater.
Another initiative is SMC Performance, a tool letting the public track the progress of initiatives like those funded by the Measure A half-cent sales tax approved by voters in 2012.
Data Innovation Day will also be marked by more than 100 governments worldwide.
Data Innovation Day is 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23 at 455 County Center, First Floor, Redwood City. Metered parking is available on the street and in the county garage on Middlefield Road off Veterans Boulevard.