Which States and Cities Have Chief Data Officers?

Ranks of government CDOs grow as agencies implement analytics.

by / June 13, 2014

For an updated, interactive version of this map, please go to: Chief Data Officers: Mapping Which State and Local Governments Have a CDO.

Blue signifies a state-level officer, green signifies a local-level officer, and yellow signifies an officer in education.

In 2010, Colorado became the first state to appoint a chief data officer (CDO). A year later, New York City pioneered the position in local government. 

Since then, the ranks of CDOs in state and local government have grown steadily, driven by expanding interest in predictive analytics, civic hacking and performance measurement. Research by Government Technology located more than a dozen CDOs in states and localities across the U.S. And that number seems poised to multiply as governments seek to harness the power of big data.

Although public agencies collect mountains of information, they’ve struggled to share and integrate data streams in ways that support comprehensive analysis. Issues around data ownership, as well as privacy laws and public perception, have been significant stumbling blocks.

CDOs – along with CIOs and chief innovation officers – are at the forefront of solving these concerns through new data standards and policies. Often, they’ve also been champions for open data initiatives, which support civic hacking activities and other forms of innovation.

One of the public sector’s newest chief data officers – San Francisco’s Joy Bonaguro – told Government Technology in March that her primary goals include unifying data standards across the city and propelling open data efforts wherever and whenever possible. “I think generically the challenges are that you have lots of complex back-end systems, and getting the data out of there in a convenient and easy fashion is a challenge shared across government,” she said.

As jurisdictions seek to get greater insight from the information they collect, expect to see more chief data officers tackling these challenges.

Research by Maggie Cabrey
Steve Towns

Steve Towns is the former editor of Government Technology, and former executive editor for e.Republic Inc., publisher of GOVERNING, Government TechnologyPublic CIO and Emergency Management magazines. He has more than 20 years of writing and editing experience at newspapers and magazines, including more than 15 years of covering technology in the state and local government market. Steve now serves as the Deputy Chief Content Officer for e.Republic. 

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