The value of opening public data is a difficult thing to quantify. An increasing number of cities, states, and federal organizations are building data portals. But the usefulness and quality of the data released in past years has been notoriously inconsistent. In the past year, cities such as Chicago, countries like the United Kingdom, and organizations including Code for America have begun to set a gold standard for releases of open civic data. This has prompted a slew of projects to increase government transparency and citizen engagement, and an increasingly vibrant startup culture for civic apps.